I have been following Draken’s projects for a while, but the Benguela is the first one I have had the opportunity to test. If you’re looking for a toolwatch, take a look at that piece!
Lug to lug: 52,3mm
Material: 316L stainless steel
WR rating: 500m (50ATM)
Material: 316L stainless steel
Operation: 120-click uni-directional
Coating: Inner antireflective
Japanese: Seiko NH35
Swiss: ETA 2824-2
Style: sandwich with applied indices
Paint: X1-Old Radium Super-LumiNova
The Benguela comes in a double-slots leather travel-case. It’s still not a standard for many brands, but I’m glad Draken left the idea of the old-style big watch boxes that usually end up with many other watch boxes that 1) take too much place and 2) aren’t of any use. The watch comes with a metal bracelet and a rubber band. Both have quick-release springbars, which I really appreciate, and both fit in the provided watch box. Draken also offers other strap options on its website, among which is a brown leather band that pairs fantastically with the Benguela!
The case of the Benguela is a one-of-a-kind, with its hooded lugs. It’s made of bead-blasted stainless steel, providing a matte finish that screams “This is a toolwatch!”. I like it a lot! Not only is it more resistant to scratches than brushed or polished surfaces, but it also looks rugged and versatile. I could definitely wear this piece for either a job interview or for a mountain hike! The lefthand side is engraved with the brand name “DRAKEN”, on the righthand side you’ll find the crown at 4 o’clock and a HEV (Helium Escape Valve) at 2 o’clock. The crown is large enough to be action easily, but doesn’t rub into the back of your hand.The tapered case is 40mm large at its base and 3mm larger at the bezel, making it very convenient to handle. It’s also made of stainless steel and has a luminova filled triangle at 12.
What I really like about this case is the hooded lugs. It gives the watch a unique style, and since they’re slightly curved, the watch sits perfectly on my wrist even with a large lug to lug distance.On top of that is the domed lens. It’s made of sapphire crystal and has an anti-reflective coating on the inside. Although it’s perfectly aligned with the bezel edges, I would have preferred a flat crystal for an improved legibility. No worries, the legibility of the Benguela is fantastic in any light condition, but sometimes the domed crystal adds some reflections that (IMHO) aren’t always welcome for a toolwatch.
The dial of the Benguela is also quite unique with those bead-blasted indices applied on the sandwich dial, resulting in a maximized depth impression and an outstanding legibility. Draken shows here (I would say once again) that not following a consensual path and thinking out of the box can bring something different (at least not common in the microbrand world) and still lead to a fantastic product in terms of aesthetic and functionality. If you’ve looked at my pictures carefully, you might have noticed that even the date wheel is filled with lume! That’s how attention was brought to each and every detail, hat’s off to Draken!
The KS campaign offers 2 options: Seiko NH35 or ETA 2824-2. Both a reliable movements, and even if the ETA is above the Seiko in terms of quality, the NH35 still is a good movement that will allow you to grab the Benguela for a very affordable price.
Although I like both the rubber band and the optional leather strap, the one I prefer is the bracelet, with its ratchet extension mechanism. I don’t know about you, but I feel the need to adjust my bracelet multiple times a day. With most bracelets it’s not possible, but here you can easily add a few millimeters and adjust it perfectly to your wrist.
Draken puts it this way: “The ultimate tool watch doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Designed to handle the rigors of an outdoor lifestyle, Draken Watches won’t let you down.”. I have to admit they’re spot on with the Benguela! It has a unique style and seems to be able to face any situation. If you haven’t done it already, I really encourage you to have a look at the KS campaign.