A brand's story : Traska by Extropian

brand's story
watch brand
A brand's story : Traska by Extropian

Today we are revisiting a special brand: Traska. There is a lot to be said about them. It is a company that oozes quality in almost every product they present and as watch collectors, we know that this is not easy to deliver quality at a fair price. But we believe that in this case, Traska is.

The brand has a cohesive line-up with lots of options. From divers to field watches, the catalogue is impressive. It is also a brand that has a very well-established design language, you would notice that each of the pieces have a similar vibe. They get their inspiration from vintage watches, but they are built with modern capabilities. The best of both worlds.

How it all begins?

One of the major reasons to start a brand is enthusiasm. Profit is key to maintain a company, employ more people and keep offering high quality products, but enthusiasm must remain intact. The idea started when Jon Mack (the founder) decided to jump in the water with an old Bulova from 1966. Of course, disaster happened. The watch was ruined but an idea arose: to make a vintage aesthetic with modern tolerances.

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It is not a new concept, but the difference is that Traska treats quality and vintage design with the same level of importance. In other brands we see people usage vintage cues to spark an emotion and that is it, leaving built quality as a second thought.

After many attempts and failures, the first prototype was born. The Freediver was an immediate success in Kickstarter and the final version did not disappoint. Since then, new versions and designs have been available. They are here to stay.

Who made it happen?

Ideas can come at any second and from anywhere. We can say that Jon was lucky to damage his vintage piece. We are sure it was not easy to digest but it did bring great ideas. You do have to be a vintage watch lover or watch enthusiast to take advantage of the situation, and luckily Jon was.

I always compare vintage watches with modern ones. It is a fun exercise to do. Take a diver from 40 years ago, it is something else. The design elements are unique, but the built quality (by today’s standards) is not there. With infinite options for suppliers in terms of movement, cases and parts, the combinations of what we can produce are tremendous. That said you need to have that inspiration, that initial idea.

Traska is an American company, they started only with Jon and now, the team had expanded with 2 more people, it is now a fully operational brand. The idea is to take these neo-vintage pieces to new customers in new territories.

What is the brand philosophy?

Traska is a brand that has a simple and unique approach, and it is very linked to their designs. They are not trying to make expensive looking watches; they are trying to make well-built ones. This is far more impressive than doing a style of watch that is popular at the moment to fill an empty slot in the catalogue. Many brands opt to do it this way and we feel is ok, but it just has more merit when you are doing what you love with your eyes closed.

Another ethos is that although there is a marketing effort, the brand quality is spread by word to mouth. Traska understands that it is the customer who can be the best press, and when you put 2 owners together, believe us, it gets nerdy.

If we must sum the philosophy of the brand, we can say that it is to deliver high quality goods at a lower price. They are selling luxury goods cheaper than the competition.

The style and design

It is vintage inspired design. The current line up takes inspiration of watches from the 60’s to the mid 70’s. A very ‘’groovy’’ era where everything was colorful and smaller. If you look at some of the designs back then, you cannot believe the slimness and sizes. It really makes you wonder, when did everything became so thick? Why is every case 43mm? it just makes no sense. You would not think that a Supercompressor style case can be elegant, but compared to today’s offering, it is.

Coming back to the brand, Traska is inspired in vintage designs but the measurements are more contemporary. There are 36, 38 and 40mm cases so they can really cater a great variety of customer.

Another part that is important to highlight is the use of colors. Traska has now the reputation of using pastel pallets such as their mint green. This fresh color has been used in almost all the variations of the watches and looks great in winter and summer.

One of the curiosities of the brand is that their design language is very European. We would have thought that Traska being an American brand, would have different case sizes and perhaps a more aggressive design approach but instead, it looks a more subtle approach for tool watches. Hopefully our American friends do not think we are calling them aggressive.

Who is their target audience?

Well, after the last paragraph, you would think that Europeans with a taste of vintage would be the main audience, but it is far from truth. The American vintage market has become one of the largest in recent years and appreciation for classic aesthetics has grown exponentially. This gives Traska a great opportunity to showcase its know-how but always keeping the ethos of price-quality alive.

Because of the large catalogue, almost anyone could be a target for Traska. The 36mm can be considered unisex. The larger 40mm Freediver it is very slime, it can also be worn by larger or smaller wrist. It is not an easy thing to achieve but it’s well executed.

What we also enjoy bout their design is that these are watches that can be worn in any situation, causal or sporty. And then, they will still feel in the right place when they enter an office or a more causal look. They are tool watches at nature, great specs, and innovative materials like the scratch resistance coating.

We would also add that the typical Traska buyer is not someone who saw a watch online and bought it. It would be a person who appreciates well-crafted products with a touch of nostalgia. We would not imagine a Traska owner being a one watch guy. It would be that person who owns at least one watch per occasion, it would be a truly enthusiast.

The current line of products

As we always mention, the most successful brands are the ones who have the least complicated catalogue. You can have the best product in terms of materials finishing, but if your offering is too complicated or vast, people will feel a bit lost and will not be able to materialize a purchase. 

In the case of Traska it is very simple, there are 4 categories:

The Freediver: the watch that started all. A skin diver watch that can presume of 200 meters of water resistance. It comes at 40mm with date or no date and an array of beautiful colors, the mint green and bleached orange are among our favorites.

Traska - Freediver Mint Green

Freediver Wrist Shot Mint 1024x1024

The Seafarer: this is the Supercompressor style watch. A nod to those dual crowns watches from the 60s. They all have this lovely domed sapphire crystal and one of the best bracelets is the business.

Traska - Seafarer Charcoal Black

Traska Seafarer Black 3498ecac 4399 433f 8dbb Ee6c3e879e68

The Commuter: as the name suggest this is a candidate for a GADA watch. it has all the tributes including the dimensions to be a one watch collection. The smaller side can be considered elegant and the option of having a date version, expands the clientele.

Traska - Commuter

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The Summiteer: this can be considered the professional field watch. with legibility in mind, the Summiteer has a bolder design adding 2 levels on the dial and larger numerals with a triangle at 12 to aid with the orientation. It is the only watch in the catalogue that comes in 2 different sizes (36mm and 38mm).

Traska - Summiteer Charcoal Black

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The Venturer: this is their latest watch. A GMT dual crown that includes a jumping hour movement, making it a true GMT. We managed to get hands on this watch, and it is very well balanced, perfect for travelling but also for everyday use. They have also launched their new Bottle Green color which looks like nothing else.

Traska - Venturer Artic White

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What is coming?

Well so far, we are very happy for what we have seen. The level of quality mixed with the unique design is very refreshing to see. All this considering the price point. Traska is a brand that has a bright future as pointed out earlier. We are not sure what is coming next, perhaps a chronograph? We would love to see their neo-vintage interpretation. But a world timer could be in the cards too.

Whatever it is, we hope the best for a brand that is doing things right.


Article written by Robbie and Watches

Created the 2023-11-20

Modified the 2023-12-01

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