The Tugela case back

I really wanted to make a splash (figuratively and literally) with the case back of the Benguela, but being a deep dive watch, it would need to be at least 2.2mm thick. That means solid—no crystal display of the movement within. 

For our first watch, the Tugela, the case back featured the Drakensberg mountains and Tugela River. The Peregrine, our second watch, showed off the high-beat Miyota movement with its decorated rotor. Then came the Kalahari with DLC coating, luminous logo and a protective laminate layer.

The Paper Nautilus Legend

So what to do with the Benguela? The thing I love about being a microbrand designer is the freedom to do something different with each watch—something fun. It’s a deep dive watch, so it made sense to reference the ocean. I have a book called Myths and Legends of Southern Africa, and the legend of the Paper Nautilus Shell caught my eye. It reminded me of the Kraken, a legendary Scandinavian monster that terrorised sailors off the coast of Norway and Greenland.

Giant squids have been the source of much folklore, but they really captured people’s imaginations in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne. In the book, the exiled Captain Nemo and his crew travel 20,000 leagues (distance, not depth) in top-secret submarine the Nautilus. Their dramatic confrontation with a giant squid was brought to life in the 1954 Disney movie and has become a classic Hollywood monster.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea produced by Disney

I knew I wanted the Benguela case back to reference these creatures of the deep, but it still needed to align with our other dive watch, the Tugela. That meant including the ‘DRAKEN’ wordmark. How cool would it be if tentacles were reaching out of the ocean towards the Draken logo? I shared these ideas with our 3D modeller, who transformed 2D sketches into brilliant 3D.I was blown away by the depth he was able to create—the sea monster really pops out of the surface. So without further ado, I present to you the case back of the Draken Benguela!

I’m super pleased with the result and can’t wait to share photos of the complete assembled prototypes, hopefully, next week.

Thanks for reading. Stay safe and stay tuned for the next episode.


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