Since we reviewed Draken’s debut watch, the Kalahari, they’ve come a long way. How does their fifth timepiece, the Draken Kruger, measure up?

Draken Kruger Review

Named after the southern African National Park, the Draken Kruger is the first chronograph from the New Zealand brand.

At a glance

Draken Kruger Review

Price
NZ$639 (£326) + VAT
Case size
44mm
Thickness
14.2mm
Water Resistance
300m
Movement
Seiko VK64 Mechaquartz

Presentation is neat: the finished watch will have a wooden outer box, but the review sample arrived in the included travel case: in the style of a canvas backpack—a charming bit of packaging that put a smile on my face right away. The pull-out wooden watch holder is another nice touch, which you can see in the video review below.

Case and Movement

Inside the Draken Kruger is a Seiko VK64 mechaquartz chronograph. I like this movement, which combines a quartz watch’s accuracy and grab-and-go qualities with a satisfying mechanical instant chronograph reset. This watch – unusually for a microbrand implementation of the movement – also includes the ticking second hand at 6 O’clock directly above the date. The pushers activate and reset the 1/5 second chronograph with a positive click. We have a  sapphire crystal on top (with ten layers of anti-reflective coating) and an excellent stamped case back, adorned with a rhino, which puts most competitors’ attempts to shame.

The fit and finish on the case are very good, with my only minor complaint being a slightly gritty bezel (which is being fixed on the production models). The screw-down lumed crown is just the right size with knurling that makes it easy to grip and operate. The Draken Kruger is made of titanium,  so it is surprisingly light for its 44mm case size – and wearability is aided by a case that gently slopes inwards to a 39.5mm diameter at the base. It will still be a bit big for many people, but it worked for me. It’s a clever way to keep the heft down whilst keeping a bold size, and, for me, it works well.  This sample is in the bead-blasted finish – there’s also a black DLC-coated option for better scratch resistance.

Dial and Hands

I’m a sucker for a full-lume dial, and the Draken Kruger’s is brilliant. It lights up in a blue colour after a few seconds of exposure to light. The watch does an excellent job of keeping the dial legible despite the tendency for chronographs to look busy. Everything is clear, legible and it looks great. The lume extends to the numbers on the 60-second countdown bezel, too.

A date at 6 O’clock adds to the wearability of the watch, and although it slightly cuts off the cross that acts as a second “dial”, this did not bother me at all. Overall, a striking-looking watch that is as practical as it is good looking.

Bracelet and Clasp

The bracelet is made of titanium, with nicely-finished three-piece links. The top of the links has a chamfer at the edges, adding a feeling of industrial solidity. The clasp is of a standard type but has plenty of micro-adjustments and is thick and well-machined.

Extra points go to Draken for using a quick-release mechanism on the bracelet. This would make it a cinch to switch straps, although the absence of standard spring pins means you’ll need to grab a couple of 22mm pins out of your spares box if you want to fit the high-quality supplied seatbelt NATO. There may be some changes to that strap before production, so I have chosen not to include it in the review.

Draken Kruger – Video Review

What I Liked

What I Didn’t like

  • The Draken Kruger has an excellent dial design, which is clear and bold
  • Fit and finish is very good – especially that excellent stamped case back
  • Brilliant presentation, adding something different from most microbrands
  • The review sample bezel is a bit scratchy – this is to be fixed in the production models
  • The 44mm case size will be too big for some, despite a clever sloping design to aid wearability
  • More expensive than some microbrands with similar specifications

Draken Kruger – The WRUK Verdict

I honestly struggled to pick three things I did not like about the Draken Kruger. It is a superb watch, with Draken’s trademark solid build quality and a dial that is to die for. I have a real soft spot for full-lume faces, and this watch’s dial is brilliant.

The only thing that would prevent me from pulling the trigger is the price: at £325 (£350 for the DLC version), it is a touch more than its VK64-equipped competitors when VAT is added to the price. I’d counter that by pointing out the titanium case, the 300m water resistance (which points towards its better build quality) and unique design. The Draken Kruger comes highly recommended.

Buy a Draken Kruger

The Draken Kruger goes live for preorder in February: find out more at the Draken watches website.

Author: Mike Richmond

Mike spends what little spare time he has writing for WRUK; and what little money he makes building up his collection of timepieces.

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