I’m not going to lie, the first thing that popped into my head when I read “Draken Kruger” is Chad Kroeger. Well, instead of looking at his
photograph, I implore you to look at this watch instead.
I’m a huge fan of German-style utility tool watches. I say German, due to Sinn and Damasko being, well, quite possibly the best definition of what the Draken Kruger aspires to be: watches that are built to a disgustingly high level of craftsmanship, offering unbeatable durability and utility.
The Draken Kruger, however, is a fraction of the price of those Bavarian juggernauts. How does it stack up? Let’s check it out.
But first, here it is with some tools. As it is a tool watch after all.
- Dimensions: 44mm diameter x 14.2mm height x 49.5mm lug to lug
- Weight: 131g
- Water resistance rating: 30ATM / 300m
- Movement: Seiko VK63 mechaquartz
- Lug width: 22mm
- Warranty: 2 years
- Price: RRP NZD$639 / ~£320 / ~$435, DLC version: NZD$699 / ~£350 / ~$475
- Buy here: https://www.drakenwatches.com/product/kruger-white/
The Kruger is described as being designed with maximum contrast in mind, for a clear functional dial. Looking at it, I certainly agree – and I see the benefits too. Whilst I have decent eyesight, I appreciate it when a watch has superb legibility, not only from a practical point but also from a design standpoint. The stark contrast between the ice white dial and jet black numerals and dial markings, plus the bold and thick font type and details throughout makes it a pleasure to view and use.
Additionally, the black sword hands are suitably thick to match the entire ethos of the watch; oftentimes I feel a watch manufacturer doesn’t get the balance right – not the case here.
There’s a subtle concentric circular pattern to the subdials at 3 and 9 to introduce some texture and depth, the latter being complemented by the date wheel at 6. I like a date wheel at 6 as it keeps the dial symmetrical, this one featuring a subtle black border to draw the eye.
The entire dial is lumed, which looks pretty great in the dark. The lume consists of Super-LumiNova® X1-C3 and BGW9, and performs as expected – it’s not mind-blowing, but for a watch costing this much, it behaves as expected. One cool thing to mention about lume though is how the logo at the end of the crown is lumed up, as is Draken’s custom.
As is the case with the Tugela, the case looks simple but has so much thought behind it. It extrudes outwards creating a singular shape, joining up with the bezel, which also maximises the grip on the outer edge of the bezel. If you look at the case lug-on, it looks like a flowering flower which is just such a pleasure to view.
On the flat side of the case is Draken embossed – in a sort of Invicta style but nowhere near as gaudy. The other side features the simple and responsive cylindrical pushers to control the chronograph, flanking the screw-in crown with the aforementioned lumed logo, with an effective knurled grip.
The 120-click divers bezel has a very rugged looking matte black ceramic insert with luminous markers. The grip is excellent and it’s easy to use. It also lines up pretty well.
The Kruger is constructed of titanium, but in addition, you can opt for a Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coating which adds extra scratch resistance, up to 4000HV hardness. I love the feel and look of titanium, although I appreciate it’s not for everyone. One thing to note is the weight; if you compare this to an equivalent watch made of steel, it’s much lighter. Lighter means so much more comfortable and easier to wear for prolonged periods; however, some might misconstrue the light weight with it feeling “cheap” – this is certainly not the case. Heavy does not always mean quality (read about the Beats Solo headphones which had weights added to them to make them feel as if they were better made than they were).
The bead-blasted finish to the case runs through to the bracelet, all of which provide an array of aggressive angles with decent edging and precision. The bead blasting has a soft touch to it, which is comfortable on the skin, and the angles provide a bit more of an aggressive and industrial visual impression – especially on the links of the bracelet, which is excellently built.
Additionally, there are quick-release pins on the bracelet which makes switching it out to a strap a breeze.
The movement found within is the well-known and often-used Seiko VK63 mechaquartz. Usually, if you come across a microbrand offering a decent quality chronograph, this will be powering it.
Ignore the markings on the casebase where it says 316L (which is a type of steel and the Kruger is titanium), this was a mistake on the prototypes.
I’ve got to say, negatives are hard to find here. Titanium isn’t for everyone – and some might not like the surprising weight of the watch. The size is fairly decent too, but I have found it enjoyable to wear for prolonged periods. The Kruger is a definite style too, but if you didn’t like how it looks then I can’t imagine you’d be reading this.
If you dig the German-esque tool watch vibe but don’t want to splash the cash, then the Draken Kruger is a sensational option. It looks and feels fantastic, has top-notch build quality, alongside ultimate legibility – yet a very reasonable price tag. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with deal ol’ Chad.