Traska Freediver Watch Review

By: Michael Penate

With no sign of the vintage reissue trend slowing down anytime soon, it’s getting hard to find watches with modern personality that don’t feel gimmicky or overdone. The safe bet is for brands to dive deep into their back catalogs, refresh an old ’60s design, and profit. Once again, this is where the microbrand space really starts to offer casual buyers something different while remaining affordable and above all, entertaining.

I caught wind of the Traska Freediver by droning away on Instagram—simply feeding my addiction, half asleep, dribbling over lukewarm coffee. But what really caught my eye was the fact that this watch consisted of a very conservative design blended with a vibrant ’60s color tone that has fascinated me since the teenage years. It’s a watch with no ties to James Bond, SEALAB divers, or Hollywood directors piloting deep sea submersibles, which is fine by me. Here’s a closer look at the Traska Freediver.

The Case

It takes guts to keep things at 40mm and these days, I’m basking in the glory of brands miniaturizing and cutting the crap when it comes to sizing. The Traska Freediver is also 48mm lug-to-lug, making it more approachable than the average Black Bay and a timepiece that easily pulled double duty between my watch rotation and my wife’s. To my knowledge, Traska opted for an entirely unique case design as opposed to picking from a set of catalog cases. This kind of approach really keeps me hooked as a watch enthusiast and the skin diver style case really makes this feel like a watch that is built for fun and adventure.

The detailing is also quite impressive, with protective proprietary coating (1,500 HV) and a polished texture that transitions throughout the entirety of the lugs and case edges along with a brushed finish on the sides of the case. There are no crown guards and the watch features drilled lugs pictured above for easy strap changes. Although it was tempting to swap out, I kept the Traska on its sturdy oyster-style bracelet, which I’ll get to a bit later. Besides that, the case is a comfy 12.5mm thick, has a snazzy 120-click unidirectional sapphire bezel, 20mm lugs, a screw-down crown, and features 100m of water resistance—more than enough, no matter how much you bitch about it.

The Dial

While the Traska Freediver is available with a basic black dial, the star of the line-up is what the brand refers to as the “mint dial.” Right away, the color reminds me of the old Fender Stratocasters I used to drool over as a kid, which were finished in what the manufacturer refers to as sea foam green. Anyway, the finish is highly reactive and can appear both pale or vibrant depending on how light hits the dial. In some cases, it’s more of a seasick green. And if that’s hard to imagine, it’s the kind of color tone I picture on the faces of those brave boys puking their brains out just before storming the beaches during Operation Neptune 73 years ago. Either way, it makes for a fun non-derivative dive watch look that’ll happily bring some color to your monochromatic collection.

The time display is also quite simple. Raised, lumed, and applied indices mark the hours and polished diamond-cut hands deliver easy legibility together with appropriate length. BGW9 coats both the hands and the indices and a polespear-like seconds hand hums away without obscuring the readout in any way. There’s complete symmetry and really, I love not worrying about a date when picking up a dive watch for a weekend getaway.

The Bracelet

It’s hard to beat a good oyster-style bracelet and this is one of the best executions I’ve seen from a smaller brand. Every link is completely solid, the clasp is entirely milled, screw adjustments are provided for the links, and there’s even a bit of perlage finishing on the milled portion of the clasp. If I had to complain at all about the bracelet, it would be because the flip portion can be a little hard to press down and lock at times. However, this might be an issue with a prototype unit and I’ve seen this problem on watches that cost ten times what the Traska does. Otherwise, it features the same proprietary coating as the case and delivers a durable, masculine look with the performance to back it up.

The Movement

Much like the rest of the watch, Traska kept it simple here without seeming lazy. Inside is a Seiko NH38, a dateless version of the popular NH35A movement. This means that you won’t feel the “phantom date” click when operating the crown to set the time and the experience is actually more pleasant because of this. Besides that, there isn’t much to be said here and I found the movement to perform favorably each and every time. It operates at 21,800 bph, allows for hacking and hand-winding, and this particular sample didn’t deviate more than +3 seconds per day. However, these results can vary greatly with watches featuring these NH movements but I’ve never had a bad experience with one.

Final Thoughts

Overall the Traska Freediver serves as an immensely pleasant watch. The color tone combined with the classic size, organic dial layout, and ease of use makes for a piece that’s just flat-out fun. It’s as if the Traska could serve as a perfect vacation watch or even just a nice accessory if you’re the kind of person that wears a lot of pastel colors. Currently, the watch sells for $400 in this configuration and you can learn more by visiting Traska’s official site. Hey Jon! Do I really have to give this back?!


 
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5 thoughts on “Traska Freediver Watch Review”

  1. I have to admit that this is a cool looking watch that reminds me of the pastel colored cars of the 1950s. That is a postitive in my book because the only other watch that I can think of with the same colorway right now it the impossible-to-get Halios Seaforth… and that is in a much higher price bracket. I assume the lume is good and this might look good on a variety of NATO and leather straps as well. Yeah… I said leather for a dive watch.

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  2. Its a great watch and I have been struggling to explain why I prefer to wear it over much more expensive and established brand watches in my collection. You nailed it by stating it is “just flat-out fun”. The high quality, unique styling and comfortable wear of this watch have changed my opinion of Chinese-made watches.

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  3. I just received the gray dial version of the Freediver with the stainless steel bezel. My collection includes a number of high quality Swiss units with ETA movements, and frankly I didn’t expect a whole lot for $375. Well, I was surprised. The Traska is delightfully great, even alongside “higher-end” watches in my collection. The quality of every part of the watch is remarkable, and the watch is very comfortable on the wrist. It’s obvious that the designer thought this product through very carefully and employs rigorous quality control to ensure the high value of the finished product. I highly recommend the Traska- it’s a unique and beautiful watch.

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  4. I, too, have the gray dial version of the Freediver with the stainless steel bezel. The watch wears very comfortably on my 6 3/4 inch wrist. Clearly this is a well made watch, with excellent attention to detail. The bracelet is great, and the overall look and feel of the Freediver makes me want to wear this at the expense of my other watches. I didn’t expect that. I highly recommend this watch, and it delivers quite a lot of value and quality for the price.

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  5. I got the mint dial version with plain steel bezel, and the quality is excellent, especially for the price. It’s a watch that always brings a smile to my face. Thanks for your review – it was really helpful and if I hadn’t seen it, I likely wouldn’t have gone ahead with the purchase.

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