Raven Airfield Review

Raven drops in a new pilot watch with contemporary styling and supreme legibility

I’ve had the luxury of reviewing Raven’s latest watches and have seen how the build quality and refinement of their designs has rapidly progressed. The first Raven I had was the Solitude (review here) and even for an affordable option for Raven, the build quality was outstanding. While there is nothing to complain about with the Solitude, the Trekker 39 (review here) was a noticeable step up in terms of fit and finish, albeit costing nearly twice as much. They were two of the finest microbrand watches I had put my grubby hands on; that is, until the Airfield came across my desk.


On the Wrist

Raven’s case design for the Airfield reminds me of older Rolex Submariners in the best way possible. Let me provide a little context to that statement as I can hear the audible gasps coming from your seat as you’re reading this. Submariners from the 90s to early 2000s had the best-looking cases in my opinion. They had sharp, thin lugs with polished sides that screamed tool watch but you could still take it to the Met Gala. The Airfield captures this same vibe, but in a pilot-style watch.


Raven is one of the only brands that can properly take a watch that is 40mm wide, 48mm lug-to-lug, 13mm thick, with almost no turn-down in the lugs and make it sing on the wrist. How does one accomplish this? I’ll get into some of the design choices made on the case that make this magic happen later on, but the bottom line is that the Airfield is what a pilot watch should be on the wrist… comfortable.


The big-time pilot watches from IWC, Stowa, Laco, and others are dinner plates on the wrist. I am not flying my Supermarine Spitfire in a dogfight over London and feel that it is imperative I know what time it is. I want a watch that captures the spirit of those watches, but in a contemporary size. I’m aware those brands also make some smaller versions of their watches, but not with the styling that Raven does with the Airfield.


The Airfield comes in a variety of color options, but for this review I opted for legibility with a white dial and black text. You can’t get much more legible than that. The numerals are crisp and contrast perfectly with the stark white dial and make a watch that is readable at almost any time of day. I have no doubt that someone could read the time on my wrist from across the room. With that said, Raven keeps this specific style understated enough that I don’t feel like I am blinding people with the whiteness of my watch dial. It’s all about balance.

Raven Airfield Video Review

Dial Details

Pilot watches have boring, utilitarian dials so we can just skip this section. Just kidding. Some pilot watches are crafted for legibility and nothing else while others strive to elevate the sub-genre of watches to something more exciting. The Airfield accomplishes both.


When it comes to traditional pilot watches, there are two types of dial configurations used: Type A and Type B. Type B dials have the minute track in 5-minute increments going around the dial, while Type A uses the hour numerals, as we see on the Airfield.


As I said above, the white dial is the clear winner of the color choices for the Airfield when it comes to legibility. With that said, the dial of all color options is designed to be easily readable without sacrificing too much in the style category. The printed numerals are large, crisp, and don’t stray too far from the hashmarks that flank them.


The dial is completed with a black chapter ring with marks that line up with the numerals every 5 minutes. At 12 o’clock there are two triangles pointing toward each other to aid in orientation at night. The triangle is also a callback to traditional pilot watch dial configurations, which often had a triangle to aid in orientation in case the pilot was flying at night. Sitting below the triangle is an applied Raven logo, which looks great and adds some depth to the branding at 12 o’clock.


The Airfield is offered in day/date or no day/date versions. While the no day/date version creates a cleaner-looking dial, I like the fact that a microbrand is offering the option. Watches with dates are all over the place, but the day/date complication seems to be far less common, especially among smaller brands like Raven. The day wheel has English and German days, the latter being another nice callback to the roots of historic pilot watches where many of the classics were made by German watch companies.


Lume is one of Raven’s strong suits and the Airfield is no exception. The lume isn’t overdone on the dial and the lume that is there is heavily applied and glows brightly with the slightest touch of sunlight. The hands and hashmarks on the chapter rings are all fully lumed.


Case and Bracelet

The case of the Airfield reminds me a lot of the case from the Trekker 39 and I’m sure they share some similarities in their design and construction. The Airfield differs in a few ways and I feel those changes are welcome and elevate the case in terms of finishing.


The sides of the case are entirely polished with a small brushed undercut that keeps the case thin in both looks and on-wrist feel. It is a small detail like this that could save watches like the Tudor Black Bay from looking slab-sided. This isn’t a 10mm tall watch, but it feels more like one than some watches that are that thin.


Raven has given us their take on a pilot watch crown and it is a knockout. I don’t normally drone on about crowns but I like this one. It is long, tapered and features a unique knurling pattern that gives it a contemporary look while having callbacks to onion-style crowns. Despite its size, it does not dig into the wrist in any way that would make it uncomfortable.  


Although the bezel looks plain at first glance, there is a little more to it than meets the eye. Yes, it is a fixed bezel and it is brushed, but look a little closer. Between the steel part of the bezel and the dial is a black ring. This isn’t a polished surface reflecting black, it is black; black ceramic to be exact. It is a wonderful addition that adds something to the overall design beyond what putting polished steel would do; it complements the color scheme of the watch.


Raven has been able to create bracelets for their watches that don’t feel derivative and complement the watch perfectly. The Airfield’s bracelet is contemporary in its construction yet looks more traditional in its design. It is a 3-link bracelet that one might classify as an Oyster-style bracelet, but that isn’t quite the correct classification. Each link is almost the same width and articulates wonderfully. The 20mm to 16mm taper is also perfect and keeps the watch comfortable. However, the start of the show in my opinion is the inclusion of half-links. I was able to dial in an absolutely perfect fit thanks to these links and the 4 micro-adjustments on the clasp. Bravo Raven!


Final Thoughts

I can imagine that as a brand owner, one of the hardest parts about launching a new watch is coming up with the design for that watch in a way that is not just iterating on something you already have in the catalogue or someone else’s. Raven has found the perfect execution of that with the Airfield and considering what a challenge that must have been given the source material (all pilot watches), I have to tip my hat to them. The Airfield is a welcome contemporary design change to the pilot watch segment.

Along with bringing something that looks good, the Airfield carries the build quality that I have come to appreciate from Raven. Microbrand watches can be a dime a dozen these days and many of those can be lacking in build quality. Raven is the exception to that. Every one of their watches feels like it was built to a much higher specification than their price point would suggest. Plug in great design with outstanding build quality and you have a surefire winner on your hands.

Check out more Raven reviews at The Watch Clicker

Check out the Raven website

Raven Airfield Specs

Case Width





Lug Width




3 Link Bracelet

Water Resistance

Super-LumiNova X1


Seiko NH38


*Height of the watch from the wrist to the top of the crystal

More Images of the Raven Airfield

Comments 2
  1. excellent review of one of the more interesting watches around at the moment. do you think the Airfield is a good candidate for an everywhere/everything watch including at the office in a suit etc?

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