WhatsApp +447936043992 will@zaltekreviews.com
Draken Tugela 2.0 LE

Draken Tugela 2.0 LE

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.

Tugela 2.0 – Super Blue LE Review

Specifications

  • 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, Ceramic 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

Draken Watches Logo

Namesake

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.

Mission

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.

Philosophy

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!

"I have always had a passion for design, but it wasn't until 2015 when I was introduced to the microbrand watch industry, that I became completely obsessed with watches. I didn’t just want Draken to be another homage watch company, but rather to walk a fresh new path with distinct original designs".
Mike Blythe
Mike Blythe
Founder & Designer, Draken Watches

Case & Crown

The case of the Tugela is 41.2mm. The lug to lug is 47.2mm and the overall thickness, including the domed sapphire crystal I measured in at 13.6mm. The entire case, caseback, bezel, bracelet and crown are all bead-blasted 316L stainless steel. There are chamfered edges though on the outer edge of the lugs and the top & bottom edges of the crown guards. There is also rather discreet Draken branding on the opposite side of the case that I have to say, I rather like.

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.

Bracelet

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.

Movement

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

The Tugela 2.0 has a 120 click unidirectional bezel with a brushed and fully lumed ceramic insert. It is of superb quality and everything lines up 100% perfectly just as it should. The bezel action is great and has absolutely zero backplay. The matte blue dial has been done to match the bezel insert, and I can testify no matter how the lighting is, it does match perfectly. You’ll also notice in the images the rather unique hour markers, these are inspired by the shapes found in Zulu beadwork. Is this just marketing bumf? Maybe it is, but after a quick search on Google images I can see the resemblance.
The text on the dial is very nicely printed and very legible. The choice of font too is fantastic, and there isn’t 14 lines of text that you get on some watches. Why they do that? I’ve no bloody idea, all it does is make the dial look cluttered.

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!!!

Conclusion

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!

Design
9/10
Quality
10/10
Value
9.5/10
TOTAL
9.5/10
9.5/10 - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
A huge thanks to Mike at Draken Watches for sending out the Tugela so quickly for review.
 
To view the Draken website, or join their mailing list to be informed of new models etc, visit Draken Watches.
 
Follow us on Instagram and join our Facebook group WatchChat, a busy community for watch enthusiasts and collectors with tons of images and in-depth discussions.
 
At Zaltek Reviews, we encourage the companies whose watches we’ve reviewed to comment on our articles. We invite any company representatives to respond in the public comments section below. Thanks very much.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. What a superb, chunky-looking watch. Great review as always!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Close Menu