Manufacturer: Draken Watches | Price: $349 USD (€315 EUR, £275 GBP approx)
The Tugela is Draken’s take on one of the most popular watch genres; the dive watch. With a bead-blasted case giving the Tugela a rather tool-like aesthetic, we’re going to have an in-depth look at their latest take on the original. What’s different I hear you ask…? Well, the first thing I noticed was the matching bead-blasted bracelet. Let’s see if it’s any good.
- Dimensions: Case Diameter – 41.2mm, Thickness – 13.6mm, Lug to Lug – 47.2mm, Lug Width – 22mm
- Movement: Seiko NH35A Automatic, 21,600vph (3Hz), Hackable, Self Winding, 41hr Power Reserve
- Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel, Bead-Blasted
- Bracelet: 316L Stainless Steel, Bead-Blasted, Solid End Links, Screw-Pins, Milled & Signed Clasp
- Crystal: Domed Sapphire, Multiple Anti-Reflective Coatings (Inner)
- Bezel: 120 Click Unidirectional, Aluminium Insert, Fully Lumed
- Water Resistance: 30ATM / 300m / 990ft
- Lume: Swiss Super Luminova® X1 C3 (10 Layers)
- Crown: Signed, Screw Down Caseback: Screw Down, Deep Stamped Logo
- Warranty: 2 Years Where to Buy: DrakenWatches.com
- Options: Bezel/Dial Colour: Black, Blue/Black, Red/Black, Super Blue Limited Edition
Draken Watches - The Company
The word Draken comes from the name Drakensberg, meaning ‘mountain of dragons’. The Drakensberg extends almost the entire length of South Africa, creating a central plateau with the highest peaks in the east. It is one of oldest mountain ranges in the world, and a place that is serene and ancient, and beckons for adventure.
At Draken Watches they strive to create original, hard wearing, reliable timepieces that you can take into any outdoor situation, and be confident that it won’t skip a beat. Their watches have been tested to withstand some of the harshest conditions, but we know that their toughest test begins with you, the customer. Take your Draken to the limits.
By focusing on the design and usability of their watches, they believe they can bring high quality, functional watches at a fraction of the bigger retail brands. Draken look to the environment for inspiration, but first and foremost Draken watches are influenced by you!
The Tugela 2.0 has a water resistance rating of 300m / 30 ATM, thanks to the screw-down caseback & crown. The proportions of the watch, in my opinion, are fantastic for my 7″ wrist. The Tugela wears so well on wrist and is very comfortable even if on paper, it looks large, but with a lug to lug of just 47.2mm it wouldn’t look out of place on a wrist as small as 6¼ inches. The crown is also superb with absolutely zero wobble when the crown is at its extended position.
The bracelet that comes fitted to the new version of the Tugela is bead-blasted stainless steel that matches the watch perfectly. There are definitley no weird varied types of brushing or polishing on this bracelet & watch combo, this is designed to be used with the Tugela and with the Tugela only. The quality of the bracelet is fantastic, solid end links, screw-pins for adjusting/resizing and a milled, signed clasp. The bracelet itself is very comfortable with smoothed links throughout with everything rounded off everywhere. There is no taper to this bracelet, it is 22mm from the lugs to the clasp. I personally like that, as although I normally prefer a tapered bracelet, I feel it would look weird on this watch.
The Draken Tugela 2.0 is fitted with the microbrand go-to movement of choice, the super-reliable Seiko NH35A. A fantastic workhorse that is a 21,600vph, 3Hz, 24 jewel movement with a 41hr power reserve, self winding, hacking, as well as a date complication. Checking the accuracy after running the Tugela 2.0 for over a week, mainly in my Barrington Watch Winder and occasionally on my wrist, I thought the accuracy was fantastic, with it showing an average of just +2.8spd. Very happy with that result!
Dial, Bezel & Lume
As you can see in the images, the hour and minute hands are of a chunky sword style. I like them too, especially seeing that they are PUMPED full of lume! The seconds hand is great too, with its diamond marker that’s lumed and its orange tip matching the orange text on the dial as well as the orange minute hand. The lume used on the Tugela 2.0 is Super Luminova® X1 C3 and there is 10, yes 10 layers of it! And oh yes, how could I forget, we have a date complication at the 6 o’clock position and low & behold, it’s colour-matched! That’s not all! The date is actually lumed too. Great job Draken!!!
I’ve had my eye on the Draken Tugela for quite some time but never got round to pulling the trigger. I think I was more obsessed by releases from various other companies and got sidetracked. What a f**kin’ idiot I was. I should have hunted and tracked this to the ends of the earth to try and get a hold of one of these. It really is a great watch. Are there any negatives, would I change anything? Well, I’m struggling… a high beat movement perhaps? But then, that would increase the price. What about a cheaper price then? I’m Scottish so I’d be all over it, but to be fair, I actually think the price of $349 is pretty much spot on for what you’re getting, great fit & finish, great value and just a brilliant overall package.
A lot of watch enthusiasts, myself included, are always designing or changing watches in their mind… I’d change the hands, I’d change the case… oh it’s too big, it’s too small etc, etc… That though, is what Mike & Draken Watches should be commended for, the excecution. It’s just done RIGHT!
Mike @ Draken – A totally brilliant watch. I’m really struggling to find any negatives with it. I love it, great job! I’ll struggle for sure to send this watch back, it’s that good!