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Raven Solitude

Raven Solitude

Manufacturer: Raven Watches | Price: from $430 USD (€390 EUR, £335 GBP approx)

I’ve had Raven Watches on my radar for quite some time now as I’ve heard a lot of good things about the brand. I was initially eyeing up their Venture II so I reached out to Raven Watches to see if I they could send me over a review sample. At the time I was asked to hold off on the Venture II as they weren’t far off from releasing a new watch. I was then subsequently asked to review this new Solitude that I have here today and I have to say first impressions are good.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: Case  – 41.9mm (39.5mm at Bezel), Thickness – 13.3mm, Lug to Lug – 46.4mm, Lug Width – 20mm
  • Movement: Seiko NH35 Automatic, 21,600vph (3Hz), Hackable, Self Winding, 41hr Power Reserve
  • Case Material: Brushed 316L Stainless Steel with Polished Accents
  • Bracelet: 316L Stainless Steel, Solid End Links, Pin & Collar, Fully Milled Signed Clasp, Diver’s Extension
  • Crystal: Double Domed Sapphire, Multiple Anti-Reflective Coatings (Inner)
  • Bezel: 120 Click Unidirectional, Ceramic Pepsi Countdown Insert, Fully Lumed
  • Water Resistance: 30ATM / 300m / 990ft 
  • Lume: Swiss Super Luminova® BGW9
  • Crown: Signed, Screw Down   Caseback: Solid, Screw Down
  • Warranty: 1 Year    Where to Buy: Raven Watches
  • Colour Options: Bezel: Black 60Min, Pepsi Countdown | Dial: Black, Blue, Green, Grey, White
  • Strap Options: Leather (Black, Brown, Oiled), Nylon, Rubber, Stainless Steel Bracelet (+$50)

Raven Watches - The Company

Raven Watches LLC is owned and operated by Steve Laughlin. Their headquarters and design office is located in Overland Park, Kansas. Steve earned a BFA in Visual Arts from Kansas State University in 1999 and has been designing and producing watches since 2008. His role at Raven Watches includes product design, marketing, photography, website development and maintenance, sales, shipping, as well as email communications.

This passion for wearing and collecting watches started much earlier in his life… Steve began collecting watches when he was around 10 years old, beginning with a Swatch watch. At age 15 he purchased his first dive watch during a SCUBA trip to Hawaii. When he was 17 he received his first Seiko chronograph as a birthday gift. Travel, adventure, and photography inspire all Raven designs and this passion has produced watches that attract like-minded customers. Ravens are worn by many professionals that find themselves in board rooms to battlefields.

Case & Crown

The case of the Solitude has a diameter of 41.9mm with 39.5mm at the bezel. The lug to lug is 46.4mm and the overall thickness, including the double domed sapphire crystal, I measured in at 13.3mm. The entire case, caseback, coin-edge bezel, bracelet and crown are all 316L stainless steel. The finish of the watch is mostly brushed, with polished chamfered edges along the sides and down over the lugs. The transition between the brushed finish and polishing is flawless.

The Solitude 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 Solitude wears really well on wrist and is very comfortable. The signed crown is also superb and looks great and there is also absolutely zero wobble when the crown is pulled out at any position. The caseback is quite a simple affair with the Raven logo and various specs around the edge.

Bracelet & Strap

The bracelet that is an optional extra for the Solitude, comes in at an extra $50, which on the face of it, is a really great deal. However, the bracelet is the worst part of the watch in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, it is fantastically made but I don’t think it matches the watch aesthetically and trying to size the thing is a total ballache due to the pin & collar system that has been used. I’ve sized up many bracelets before with a pin & collar system, but what makes the Solitude much worse than others is the size of the collars, they are absolutely tiny! I gave up a couple of times when I was sizing it and there was a LOT of swearing involved… however, I suppose when it’s sized you won’t have to bother with it again. I’d recommend though that you buy the Solitude with a strap or opt for an aftermarket strap of your choice.

Movement

The movement selected for the Solitude is the microbrand go-to movement of choice, the super-reliable NH35 manufactured by Seiko. A fantastic workhorse that is a 21,600vph, 3Hz, 24 jewel automatic movement with a 41hr power reserve, self winding and of course hacking. Checking the accuracy after running the Solitude for well over a week, mainly on my wrist and occasionally in my Barrington Watch Winder, I thought the accuracy was great with it showing an average of +6.6 seconds per day.

Dial, Bezel & Lume

This version of the Raven Solitude has a 120 click unidirectional bezel with a ceramic pepsi countdown bezel insert that is also fully lumed. It is of outstanding quality and everything lines up 100% perfectly just as it should. The bezel action I can only describe as excellent. The coin edge bezel is very easy to grip and turn and it has absolutely zero backplay. The text on the dial is nicely printed as is very legible and the Raven logo is applied and looks great. Kudos to Raven for including a date window at the 6 o’clock position, however I think it’d have looked better colour matched to the dial and not framed but with chamfered edges, although I can see why they did that though, to obviously match the applied indicies around the rest of the dial.

As you can see in the images, the hour and minute hands are of a mercedes style but without the mercedes star on the hour hand. The seconds hand used is great, with a silver finish and lumed lollipop section two thirds of the way down the hand. The lume used on the Solitude is Super Luminova® BGW9 and it is applied extremely well and evenly.

Conclusion

All in all, I think the Solitude is a fantastic watch and it is one that I’m proud to wear on my wrist. It’s just that bracelet and the use of pin and tiny collars kind of ruined the whole “honeymoon stage” for me. I am actually in the process of waiting for delivery of a custom made strap that I think will suit the watch perfectly. I will take pictures of the strap fitted once it arrives and I’ll come back and edit this review to show you guys what it looks like. You’ll also find the finished look over on Zaltek Reviews Instagram page.

My only other small niggle with the Raven Solitude is the price. I think it’s just a smidge too expensive even without the bracelet option. Ideally, I think the price would be more spot on at $399. #JustMy2Cents

Raven WatchesAn excellent watch overall and I would have scored it higher if it weren’t for that bloody bracelet. Don’t take that the wrong way, I usually prefer the bracelet option on any watch, just not this one. Sorry Steve.

Design
9/10
Quality
9.5/10
Value
8.5/10
TOTAL
9/10
9/10 - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (ON A REGULAR STRAP)
A huge thanks to Spencer and of course Steve at Raven Watches for sending the Solitude over to me for review.
 
To view the Raven website, or join their mailing list to be informed of new models etc, visit Raven Watches.
 
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