A Watch Review on the Internet: Traska Freediver

I don't typically dive too far into the microbrand space. I try to stick to the more recognized brands because I'm able to expect a certain level of quality with each heritage brand. With microbrands I often feel like it's a gamble. Sure you could hit the jackpop with an amazing watch but you could also get stuck with a stinker and with reviews for microbrands being less abundant than mainstream brands it's difficult for me to pull the trigger on a microbrand.

But after I saw a Teddy Baldassarre video last year featuring several microbrands including the brand whose watch I'll be reviewing today: Traska, I knew I had to get my hands on one of them and I was already looking for a fun dive watch to wear during summer time. The watch I chose was the Traska Freediver V5 Date (reference number1185) with the Mint Green dial and this is my review of that watch after approximately 2 months of use.

Purchasing Process

The first place I'd like to start is with Traska's purchasing process itself. I think it's equally important that a microbrand's buying process be reviewed just as much as their watches are. You generally can't just buy microbrands out of the case or order them through Amazon because unlike heritage brands, micorbrands are usually produced in very limited quantities. From my own personal experience, the purchasing process can really make or break a potential customer and some microbrands just have horrible buying processes (HELM and Scurfa come to mind) however Traska's purchasing process was probably the best and least annoying I've seen in the microbrand space. The way it works is that Traska makes their watches available for pre-order inside of a 48 hour window and during that time you are able to place an order for any of their watches by putting down a $50 deposit per watch you'd like to buy. This essentially reserves your watch and when the watches have completed assembly (around 3 months later) Traska will send you an email requiring you to follow up with the rest of the payment (minus the $50 deposit of course). This means that ANYONE who places a deposit on a watch in that 48 hour window WILL get a watch. No long waiting lists and no extremely limited supply. You won't be disappointed that you didn't click fast enough to get through checkout before seeing the watch in your chart evaporate into the aether. It's an excellent system and any watches that do not end up getting sold through this system are placed in Traska's online store for purchase.

Price

Next, we'll head straight into the price as this may be an immediate deal-breaker for some. The Freediver cost me $635 and it appears to still be going for that much on the Traska website at the time of writing this review. Now whether this piece is worth that price is entirely up to you, but in my opinion I believe the Freediver is a bit overpriced for what it offers. I'd like to have seen this price be around the $400-500 range.

Packaging

The packaging the watch arrived in was a small box with the Traska name and logo emblazoned on it and inside was a small genuine black leather case that contained the watch inside. I noticed that many microbrands ship their watches in proprietary leather cases or pouches. Traska is no different. The pouch feels decently made but considering it's small size I doubt you could use it for anything other than it's intended purpose of housing a watch. I do like this small packaging better than the vast majority of other watch brands that use giant boxes that either get thrown away or will take up massive amounts of space in a drawer somewhere.

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Dimensions

It's important to check a watches dimensions after purchase because some watch companies tend to either make mistakes or just straight up fib when providing watch dimensions. But after busting out the scales and caliper I'm happy to report that Traska's listed measurements on their website are all spot on.

  • Weight: 144g

  • Height: 10.5mm

  • Lug to Lug: 48mm

  • Case Width: 40.5mm

  • Lug Width: 20mm

I love these dimensions. 40mm watches are the perfect size for my wrist, a fairly short lug to lug, and one of the most common lug widths at 20mm making strap changes simple should you desire. The crystal sits higher on the watch giving it some increased height and a more vintage look.

Case & Finishing

The material in which Traska's watches are made out of is what initially sold me on the entire brand. The Freediver is constructed out of the standard 316L stainless steel. However, it's not actually the same standard 316L stainless steel that you know of. This steel has been hardened to 1200Hv on the Vickers Hardness Scale. To put that in prospective, standard 316L stainless steel usually measures around 200HV. This hardening process renders the watch case essentially immune to scratches. I believe them too because there is not a single scratch on the case even after months of use. I'm not sure what or how this hardening process works but perhaps it might explain the higher price tag? The finishing is lovely. The tops of the lugs are brushed which goes nicely with the brushed bracelet links. The case is polished along the sides of the case which again matches the bracelet with it's links polished on their sides as well. It's a very symmetric and pleasing finishing to behold.

Crown and Water Resistance

The Freediver features a screw down crown with an advertised water resistance rating of 200m. I'll admit that I am not a diver so I can't tell you if the Freeediver would be useful for such an activity but I can say for absolute certain that it handles showers, swimming in the pool and surfing perfectly. The crown is coin-edged and very easy to grip and has the Traska logo embossed on the crown. It's worth mentioning that the Freediver unfortunately does not feature crown guards.

Crystal

The crystal is an anti-reflective sapphire crystal as you might expect from a watch of this price. The crystal is a slightly domed box style crystal which, along with the bezel gives the watch a more vintage appearance. If you look at the watch when it's at an angle you can see the vintage style distortion and warping of the crystal. The synthetic sapphire crystals used for the Freediver measures a 9/10 on the Mohs Hardness Scale which, like the case and bracelet, renders it essentially immune to scratches. Excellent crystals are being used here as there's not a single scratch on my Freediver's crystal and I doubt there ever will be.

Dial

The dial was probably the second biggest reason for my purchase of the Freediver. The matte Mint Green color dial really spoke to me and I just had to have it. Although Traska refers to the dial as "semi-matte" whatever that means. Every single hour marker is polished and are tapered just like the brass minute and hour hands which creates a lovely similarity between the markers and the hands. Thankfully there is very little text present on the dial with simply the brand's name and logo at the 12 o'clock position and Automatic 200M WR at the 6 o'clock position. No paragraphs of text found here like on the Submariner and thank God for that. Cluttered text-filled dials are among my worst pet peeves. The Freediver is also available in a lovely Sunbleached Orange and there are two more "normal" dial colors in the form of Black and White. Also, if you chose the Freediver with a date function like I did the date window replaces the 6 o'clock hour marker which I highly prefer instead of the more common 3 o'clock date windows.

Bezel

The bezel is a 120 click ceramic bezel with a coin-edge for grip. The bezel is unidirectional and has excellent bezel action. It's very easy to grip and turn with the coin-edge. There is a microscopic hint of back play with the bezel but nothing major at all.

Movement

Traska has put a Miyota movement inside of the Freedivers.

Still here? Good. It's very easy to just immediately invalidate any watch with a Miyota movement considering how many terrible watches are powered by them. The movement in the Freediver is not from the Miyota 8 series which have well documented issues but from the premium 9 series. The Miyota 9039, or the Miyota 9019 if you bought a model with the date function, is good movement in my opinion. It features 28,800 beats per hour (4hz), hacking, hand-winding and a 42 hour power reserve. My timegrapher showed the watch to be running at +3 seconds per day which is infinitely better than the advertised -10 to +20 seconds per day. Traska claims the movements are regulated in-house which is also a plus. And for those who care about the price of their movements, the Miyota 9019 sells for around $80-$120 per unit so it's not the typical Miyota quartz trash movements that you can buy for pennies in bulk. The crown does a feel a bit gritty when winding it which is an experience I haven't felt before. I've also heard some complaints that this movement's rotor is excessively loud but I haven't encountered anything of the sort. I can only hear the rotor if I hold the watch up to my ear in a room of dead silence. Perhaps I got lucky with my watch or maybe people are being a bit hyperbolic.

Luminescence

The Freediver uses Swiss Made BGW9 Super-LumiNova. All of the markings on the bezel, every single hour marker, and all 3 hands glow a brilliant blue after being exposed to light. I haven't fully charged the lume to see just how many hours it could last but being outside in the summer sun for half an hour resulted in the Freediver glowing for over an hour.

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Bracelet

The bracelet is just excellent. Seriously, it's one of the best bracelets on a watch I've ever felt on my wrist. I'm not joking when I say the best part about this watch might actually be the bracelet. I'm so used to chucking bracelets into the bin because they're either atrocious quality or ridiculously hard to resize but this Freediver bracelet was everything I ever wanted. The bracelet is brushed on the front and the back and polished on the sides of the links. The clasp is also brushed with the Traska logo embossed on it. The entire bracelet tapers from 20mm down to 16mm and has fully articulating links. Instead of those god awful pin links you find in other bracelets (especially Seiko), Traska actually uses screwed links which makes resizing the bracelet a breeze. The bracelet also utilizes the same steel hardening procedure as the case rendering the links virtually scratch proof. It features 5 microadjustments as well so you should be able to fine-tune the bracelet to fit your wrist regardless of it's size.

However. And this is a big however, at least for me anyway. I should have read the fine print a little bit better but the clasp is NOT made of the hardened stainless steel like the case and bracelet. As you can see from the photo, the clasp acquired several scratches and scuffs over the last few months of use. Going back and reading the product description again I noticed Traska mentioned that only stainless steel was used in construction of the clasp and not the hardened stuff they were crowing about for the bracelet and case. So yes this was technically my fault for assuming every steel part of the watch was hardened but this still very much disappointed me when I somehow found a way to scratch the unscratchable Freediver. The main reason I purchased this watch was for it's unscratchability so not having the clasp hardened is just baffling to me as that's the most common place for a watch to scratch in my experience. If I had known I would have been a bit more careful with it but if you decide to get a Freediver make sure not to slide your wrist across the table or the clasp will scratch. Perhaps the clasp can't be hardened because of some reasons I don't understand?

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This was a long write-up but I had fun writing it. There was no script so it's a bit rambly in places but there's been few watches I've been excited about wearing more than the Traska Freediver.

A Watch Review on the Internet: Traska Freediver

4.0
Yes No
4/5
4/5
3/5
5/5
4/5
  • Excellent Bracelet
  • Lovely Finishing
  • Virtually Scratch Proof
  • That mint green dial
  • Excellent Lume
  • Slightly Expensive
  • Clasp does Scratch

Great post thank you.

Hi. Great write up. 2 questions. Does the 10.5mm height include the crystal? Is the bezel ceramic or painted metal?

HaasTone

Hi. Great write up. 2 questions. Does the 10.5mm height include the crystal? Is the bezel ceramic or painted metal?

The height including the crystal is around 11.5mm. And the bezel is ceramic.

Great review. I own a #traskaventurer and I had the same feelings about the clasp. Traska goes out of their way to talk about the hardened steel, but then they design the clasp, which traditionally picks up scratches easiest, without this hardened steel. I was also disappointed with this design decision, but I still really like Traska writ large.

watchobsessed

Great review. I own a #traskaventurer and I had the same feelings about the clasp. Traska goes out of their way to talk about the hardened steel, but then they design the clasp, which traditionally picks up scratches easiest, without this hardened steel. I was also disappointed with this design decision, but I still really like Traska writ large.

I feel it was a quite faux pas on their part.