The Draken Benguela is an all-new tool watch design from the boutique watch brand out of Auckland, New Zealand. Designed to go to extreme depths, the Benguela features a helium escape valve (HEV), and a case engineered for pressures of at least 50ATM.
The Benguela is the next evolution in case design which started with Draken’s first watch – the Tugela. The tapered shape of the bead-blasted stainless steel case maximises traction on the bezel while keeping the footprint on your wrist relatively small. This new case features hooded lugs, allowing for simple bracelet attachment via quick release pins.
The bezel is solid stainless steel to keep the movable parts to a minimum, with engraved numbers and a luminous triangle at the zero minute marker. The case back features a deeply engraved sea monster reaching for the DRAKEN logo.
There will be two movement options available – Swiss ETA 2824-2 automatic or Japanese SII NH25A. The 2824-2 is the ‘original’ high-beat 3-hand movement, now cloned by many other movement manufacturers. For reliability and affordability the NH35A can’t be beaten, often going 12 years without a service. Both are solid workhorse movements.
The dial is unique, displaying both sandwich and applied bead-blasted indices. The custom-shaped rehaut fits around these indices perfectly. This concentric circle design creates incredible depth, for a detailed dial without the clutter. Vintage coloured X1-C3 luminous paint ensures the dial will have maximum visibility in any situation. Three dial colours will be on offer at launch – satin black, deep blue, and olive green. The symmetrical date window as 6 o’clock features a custom luminous date wheel, performing the extra function as an orientation reference point in extremely dark environments.
The bracelet of the Benguela will feature a ratcheting clasp, for quick adjustment when wearing a wetsuit. ‘We want our customers to take the Benguela into the water, that’s why we’ll also be providing a high-quality natural rubber strap in addition to the bracelet’, founder and designer Michael Blythe says.
The Benguela will be available for pre-order on Kickstarter in late-July with the special launch offer of $349 for NH35A movement, and $469 for the 2824-2.
Founded in 2016 by South African ex-pat Michael Blythe, Draken has had a strong focus on designing tool watches with unique designs for explorers and adventurers. Inspired by some of the dramatic landscapes of his Africa, Michael and the brand still bear a strong connection to the continent. Africa is a harsh and unforgiving place, but also starkly beautiful. It’s this beauty that inspires the design of Draken timepieces.
For more information, please visit drakenwatches.com/benguela and sign up to the newsletter for regular updates on the project.
43mm diameter, 22mm lugs, 15mm thick
316L bead-blasted stainless steel
50-100ATM water resistance (TBD)
bead-blasted stainless steel
Single domed sapphire
Inner anti-reflective coating
Knurled with luminous Draken logo
Movement (2 options available)SII NH35A automatic movement
ETA 2824-2 automatic movement
316L bead-blasted stainless steel bracelet with ratcheting clasp and quick release pins
Natural rubber strap with quick release pins
Genuine tan leather with quick release pins (optional extra)