Draken Watch Co. was started by Michael Blythe, who grew up and spent most of his life in South Africa. Having always had a love for watches, Michael decided to go from just obsessing about them to creating them. In 2015 he created the Draken Tugela and is now getting funding through his Kickstarter campaign. The Draken Tugela campaign is already fully funded, bringing in $40,025 –which is $2232 above the $37,793 goal. The campaign will be running until Feb 19th, so there’s still time to get one if you’re so inclined. Let’s see what he has to offer with the Draken Tugela Diver.


The Dial

At first glance the watches look like any other diver on the market but there are some details on this one that make them a bit unique. These are nomal 3 handers with date at the 6 o’clock position and are powered but the reliable Seiko NH35A movement. The bezels follow Tudor’s Black Bay example, and are available in Burgundy, Blue, or Black. Referencing his love for Africa, Michael did add a unique detail for the symbols used for the hour indices. The markers are inspired by beadwork patterns used by the Zulu tribes. Another nice touch is the lume. The markers, hour, minute, and seconds hands, and even the date wheel were lumed, and custom made with luminous numbers so the date glows. Covering everything is a nice single domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on the inside. The bezel insert reminds me somewhat of the Christopher Ward Trident that Victor reviewed last year.

The Case

The case is made from 316L stainless steel with a bead-blasted finish to help improve scratch resistance. Water resistance is very good on this one at 300m, or approx. 1000ft, making it a real diver. This is a good size watch at 42mm in width, 48.5mm lug to lug, and 14mm thick. It has a solid screw down case back with a cool scene of the Tugela river and the Northern Drakensberg mountains where this watch gets its name.

The Bezel

Drawing inspiration from the Protea, the national flower of South Africa, Michael chose to have the bezel taper into the case which would make the top of the bezel easier to handle by having it be larger diameter then the case itself.  This bezel design is nothing new, I have a couple just like it, but it is a nice look and I like it better like that. This is also you standard 120 click unidirectional bezel. The crown is a super-grippy knurled design protected by crown guards.

The Straps

This comes with two straps,  a nice tan leather strap for normal everyday use and also a NATO strap for when the adventures begin. They are both equipped with quick-release bars for easy changing.

Overall impression

Yes, it’s another 3 hand diver. There area many of them out there, but this is pretty darn nice.  I like the bead blasting, Zulu inspired markers, and the overall look of this watch.  Early bird price is $250 USD and that’s not a bad deal.  Shipping is scheduled sometime in July. You can check them out on Kickstarter.

Review Summary

  • Brand and model: Draken Tugela
  • Price: $250 on kickstarter
  • Who’s it for: Divers or anyone who like tool watches.
  • Would I wear it: Absolutely
  • What I’d change: nothing
  • The best thing about it: Bead blasting

Tech Specs from Draken

  • Materials: 316L Stainless steel
  • Crystal: Sapphire
  • Dial: Matte black
  • Measurements: 42mm wide, 48.5mm lug to lug, and 14mm thick.
  • Water Resistance: 300 meters or approx. 1000 feet

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