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The next model from Draken

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been working hard on the design of the Kruger pilot chronograph. Design is a part of this job I absolutely love, so it wasn’t that hard to find the motivation to work till 12AM most nights. 

Chronograph design is particularly challenging. Getting all the elements to fit on the dial and work in harmony is not easy. I did look for inspiration from other brands, but often you have to make decisions based on your gut feel. 

So this is what I have come up with, so far. Note that it’s not final.

Kruger pilot chronograph 

This design is based on the Seiko/SII VK63 Mechaquartz movement.  A few things to note about the movement:

  • The sub-dial at 3h is a 24-hour dial, separate in the chronograph function.
  • The sub-dial at 9h is a 60-minute counter for the chronograph 
  • The sub-dial at 6h is the running seconds, separate from the chronograph 

Initially, I didn’t include the second hand in the design, but figured that the ticking second hand is useful in a tool watch application. For example,  if you had both hands occupied, you could still check that the watch is working, without having to engaging the chronograph function. 

Automatic option: We could offer it in fully automatic (ETA 2894-2), but it would be expensive, and the sub-dial layout is different from the above. 

Case design: has not been started, but it will likely follow the same principles as our other cases: tapered sides,  a domed crystal that flows seamlessly into the bezel, and the angular lugs. 

Regards titanium: I asked about grade 5 vs grade 2 titanium, and it is apparently 3x more expensive. Grade 5 is what Tudor used for the Pelagos FYI. 

I was thinking though if we used a really affordable movement (like the VK63), and paired it with a high-end case and a killer design, it could be an incredible watch. Keen to hear your thoughts.

Agulhas dive chronograph

I did a little more work on the dive chrono to give you a better idea of how it will look in the case:

I also finalised the sub-dial markers and adjusted the layout to align with the VK64 movement (previously it was laid out to a Sellita SW510). I have not done the work to see how this will work with the fully automatic movement, but I have checked the price on a possible candidate (ETA 2894-2) and it is not cheap! As above, the sub-dial layout is:

  • The sub-dial at 3h is a 24-hour dial, separate in the chronograph function.
  • The sub-dial at 9h is a 60-minute counter for the chronograph 

If we used the ETA 2894-2, it would be:

  • The sub-dial at 3h is running second hand.
  • The sub-dial at 9h is a 30-minute counter for the chronograph 

Case design would be the same as the Benguela, so 316L stainless steel

The Tugela GMT

Without further ado,  here it is…

I still need to check on the availability of GMT movements with one of my suppliers. I want to try a different bracelet too which will take me some time to model.  

Case: same as the Tugela – 316L stainless steel

Personally, I’m most excited about the chronograph designs. Doing something completely fresh is always exciting to me. I love the Agulhas design, but I know the hooded lugs are very divisive and not for everyone.  As for the Tugela GMT, it’s sure to be a winner but might not interest those who’ve just bought a Tugela.

Also, if you going to do titanium I feel like it has to be grade 5 in my opinion.  If we go with the mechaquartz from Seiko, my guess is the watch retail price will be around US$500. With the ETA 2894-2 it will likely be around $1100 which will probably be out of reach for most of you. I’m just pulling numbers out of the air here; it might be very different when the quotes come back, but price is an important deciding factor.

Anyways, keen to get your impressions. Leave a comment below!

Over and out.

28 comments

  1. Zachary Davis

    Love the GMT! You should do a top hat crystal on it.

  2. Jeff Ferguson

    I have the Shaka and Super Blue. Chances are slim, but I might consider a GMT Tugela in a different color. What I’d really prefer is a titanium Tugela.

    My other wishlist item would be a special edition of the Benguela. Titanium, or a Watchgauge special edition.

  3. Barry Jooste

    So happy to see the Tugela in a blue on blue guise and now its a Gmt,awesome.Keep up the great work Draken team!

  4. Tim Manion

    I own a Tugela and travel with it a lot . I work as a military contractor, so the places I go I don’t want to be wearing my Submariner or GMT Master. The Tugela in a GMT would be awesome. Also , the crono with an automatic/mechanical movement would be the wat to go in my opinion. The stainless bezel is nice but a choice of ceramic would also be awesome. Just a wishlist from me . Thanx for your time and any updates are always welcome.

  5. stewart matthews

    Like the kruger dial depends on case would it be possible to combine with titanium case.from a proud owner of a benguela

  6. I know the VK63/64 chronograph movements are popular and well liked but I have an issue with it. I’ve only had it in one watch but the chronograph stops/caps out after one hour. There are many things that don’t need to be timed for an hour but many things need to be timed for more than an hour. The rotating bezel is about as good as it gets for timing things under an hour. A chronograph should run longer and time. up to 6 hours or more. You’ve got that 24 hour subdial (the most useless subdial in horology) that would be great location for counting hours. I don’t know the number of the movement, but the Glycine GL1005 chronograph has a 1/10th of a second chronograph that counts hours on a second subdial and is the most useful quartz chronograph I’ve had the pleasure of using. Regardless, in my humble opinion, the 1 hour max timing of the VK63/64 is the least satisfying chronograph movement to use. I hope you consider other movements. There are lots to choose from.

    Love your watches. Love the quality of them and how reasonably affordable they are for what you get.

  7. Tony Grainger

    I am not an expert on chronographs, far from it. I looked the subject up on Wikipaedia and their main uses are for aircraft piloting,auto racing,diving,submarine manoovering, recording heart beats in hospitals, calculations of speed and distance in athletics, and even timekeeping when cooking. In short, personally I have no need for any of these functions, so find it hard to comment. However, looking at the Krueger, to be honest my initial reaction was that it looks complicated and cluttered-sorry for bluntness. As to the movement, I do not like quartz because they die every few years, usually suddenly and at an awkward moment.
    The Agulhas Dive chronograph dial looks good – nice and legible. Even the date is easily read.
    Personally I do not like dates on watches, as I cannot see much point. Seconds hands are used by most of us mainly I think to check that the watch is running- otherwise nit much point.
    The Tugela GMT looks good. However, I find that the rotating inner bezel on my Kalahari works very effectively as a GMT, as suggested in your instruction booklet. I have set it to Uk time, which at present is exactly 13 hours behind NZ, so I can check on the time there before phoning my brother in Sheffield. Keep up the good work Mike, and do not be deterred by any adverse comments-look upon them as challenges.

  8. Marinus Snijder

    The Agulhas is my favorite to.
    Collorwise you can play with the dile but also the secondhand &text.
    Mayby bleu or yellow
    Its clear that it is family of the privious watches.
    Well done👍

    1. Thanks Marinus. Appreciate the feedback 🙂

  9. AndrewJK Tan

    The Agulhas Dive Chrono design attracts me the most.
    Hope it is a larger case watch like a 46mm then that’s the one I would go for

    1. I don’t know if it’s possible but any thoughts on using the Seagull ST19 to keep it mechanical and affordable? Otherwise I love the designs and would much rather have an auto option

      1. A couple of people have suggested the ST19. It is a beautiful movement, my only complaint is that its not automatic, which is not ideal for tool watches. If you forget to wind it and it stops working while out in the field, it could be a serious problem.

  10. I am really digging the Kruger dial. I’m glad you decided to keep the second hand and here’s why, as a pilot we actually DO use the second hand when timing engine starts, outbound timing, etc. If you’re targeting aviators, the second hand is a must. Looks great!

    1. Great feedback Hunter. One other thing I discovered is that the second subdial for the Eta 2894-2 is at the 3h position, which is not ideal for my perfect idea of symmetry, but it will still look good. I wonder if the second hand should be blue though?

  11. I find the dials of the Pilot and Chronograph model too overloaded: too many digits, too many lines!
    Solid needles are preferable.
    Sincerely,
    Jean-Pierre

    1. Tugela GMT yes please!

  12. Erwan Daussy

    Hi Mike,
    Well I do not own any Draken models yet, tough it was in plan to buy 2 models but the crisis really affected hard my business so it was not a logical purchase. I might not have words to say about the design then jajajaja… But I will. What stops me usually in front of Pilot style watches is that they look too busy, and I feel it’s the case with the Kruger. Why not try to get rid of the time reading indexes inside the circle and move the numbers and chronos wheels more by the outside to make them more readable? good luck with that project, sure it will be a success again. Cheers, erwan

  13. Peter Wong

    Can’t say chrono is really my thing, but I think the Kruger dial seems a bit too busy, while Agulhas dial is clean and in good tradition of Draken watches.

    Agree that GMT on Tugela is a winner to be. Wish it’ll be on Shaka or on red as well.

    1. Thanks Peter. I think I need to do some renders of the chrono to give people a better idea. The 2D designs make it look busier than it really is.

  14. Michael Gallagher

    Really like the Tugela GMT. Been waiting for the return of the special blue. Looks awesome Mike. Do you have a projected release date, and pricing for the GMT? Thanks!

    1. Cheers Michael. Release date is still TBC.

    2. These new chronograph dials look really great. The GMTs are very exciting, everyone loves a GMT. Looking really good Mike.

  15. Good job on the Kruger, Mike! That`s a Dial Layout even Sinn could be proud of.
    I guess it would pair well with a simple no nonsense case. Maybe even a black PVD Version…
    Grade 5 Ti has its advantages when it comes to hardness and scratch resistance, but as you probably bead blast the case anyway you can go easily with Grade 2 Ti in my opinion. Check your facts on the Pelagos again. Tudor is “only” using Grade 2.
    Btw I am still very happy with the Tugela after almost 1 year as a daily driver. The only tweaks to the watch I would like to see are slightly smaller dimensions and a less chunkier bracelet with a refined quick-adjust clasp. Maybe a titanium case with steel caseback to reduce the top-heaviness.

  16. infinitewatchoptions

    Hi Mike,

    A Tugela GMT was be fantastic.

    Is there any chance that a 24hr chapter / dial ring could be part of it? This could make it a 3 GMT with a rotating bezel, which is hard to find.

    Also, if there could be an option for a polished case that would be great as I already have an original.

    I wouldn’t care if it is automatic or quartz. Quartz could offer value.

    Keep up the great designs!

    Ian

  17. TJ G eorgitsp

    Love that Tugela GMT in blue on blue. I kick myself everytime I see a Tugela 2.0 Super Blue and I didn’t buy one. I would buy it at $1100 with the ETA 2894-2 everyday and all day! I see a Kruger and Aghula in my life also. Love your designs mate!!

    1. Cheers TJ. I’ll add another mark against the GMT. At this stage I’m favouring the Kruger chrono for the next model, but it’s not locked in yet. Just been doing some 3D renders of the Kruger. Will have to share it soon!

  18. Love the chrono design but these would make it ideal for me:
    (1) Extremely strong, thickly applied Superluminova X1 grade that glows blue on hands, indices, AND bezel
    (2) Bezel to be 1-12 instead of 0-60. It makes the Chronograph more useful by giving it a 12 hour measurement, GMT function, and effectively a 60 minute counter with a bit of math. It also cleans up the bezel with less clutter and makes any lume applied to the numbers last longer. And the 12 should be a Triangle like Rolex GMTs. All lumed of course.
    (3) As much satin brushed or bead blasted other than a few small polished beveling if wanted
    (4) Quick microadjust on the clasp. Critical for using these watches during travel.
    (5) For case design, many Seikos have a sloped bottom of the case that conforms to the wrist better when bending the wrist back like when leaning on a desk, etc. Improves comfort significantly.

    Love the design you have so far…looking forward to seeing the final product.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. We do have an auto version of this design on the roadmap. For that version we will offer a 1-12 bezel option and a 0-60 option. We are maxing out the lume on this version, don’t worry 😉

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