Delma Blue Shark III

The Delma Blue Shark III is a full blown diver’s watch, featuring a maximum water resistance of 4000m, a helium valve and unidirectional bezel. Angus Davies spends a few days with the Swiss watch, appraising its specification at close quarters.

This detailed review of the Delma Blue Shark III includes live images, specification details and pricing.

Delma Blue Shark III

The Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) has become a popular means of transport. Originally, the car was a utilitarian object, intended for off-road use and designed to go virtually anywhere. Formerly, a ‘must-have’ for country dwellers, the SUV is now de rigueur for ‘townies’.

Many people who purchase SUVs do not require the ‘hardcore’ off-road capability a four wheel drive vehicle confers. Indeed, many of the individuals buying these cars are attracted to their styling, roominess or other attributes. More recently, the car industry has targeted these clients with cheaper, two wheel drive SUVs.

In the world of horology, there is a similar scenario, the diver’s watch. Originally, the diver’s watch was intended for professional use. A hewn from granite level of construction, a unidirectional bezel, a lucid dial and the ability to withstand colossal pressures whilst working in deepwater, make the diver’s watch the perfect subaquatic tool.

However, many watch buyers are attracted to diver’s watches not because they intend to venture deep below the ocean’s surface, but for other reasons. The aesthetics, robustness and readability typical of diver’s watches have relevance to those choosing to keep their toes dry. Some brands have targeted these consumers with low-calorie diver’s watches. This genre of watch is not labelled as ‘faux’ by the watch brands but they remain easy to spot. Personally, I have no problem with ‘faux’ diver’s watches, providing the buyer realises they have been pared back. In my opinion, there is much justification for this market segment.

Recently, I spent a few days wearing the Delma Blue Shark III and can report there is nothing ‘faux’ about this substantial diver’s watch. It is clearly intended for deepwater exploration and looks capable of post-apocalyptic survival.

The dial

My press loan was fitted with a vibrant orange dial, but the brand also offers the model with a blue or black dial.

Delma Blue Shark III

There is a misconception that orange is the best dial colour for a diver’s watch, however, this is not the case. When venturing beneath the ocean’s surface, the wearer will no longer see the orange hue from about 25 feet. Instead, the dial will appear grey. The best dial colour for underwater use is blue which will remain visible at greater depths. This may be worth considering if using the watch in anger.

Personally, I would still favour the orange dial, purely for aesthetic reasons, a point I will return to later.

The hour and minute hands incorporate a liberal application of luminescent coating. They articulate the prevailing time without any hint of ambiguity. In addition, there is a lithe orange central sweep seconds hand, featuring a triangular, luminescent tip. I did find this hand sometimes blended into the background as it circumscribed the dial, however, this would not be an issue on the blue or black dial version. Perhaps, Delma should pair a white central seconds hand with the orange dial version?

A date aperture is positioned in the customary 3 o’clock position. Black numerals are presented on a white disc and prove simple to read. A minuterie is positioned on the flange.

The case

Measuring 47mm in diameter, the Delma Blue Shark III is a behemoth. The case height is 18.5mm and the watch weighs 295g. Quite simply, this is a big watch. Personally, I did not find the scale of this timepiece to be an issue, however, those would-be wearers slight of stature may need to consider the brand’s smaller models such as the Periscope.

Delma Blue Shark III

The watch is supplied in a very impressive presentation box. My press loan came already fitted with a 3-rows, solid stainless steel bracelet. The bracelet is beautifully executed. It is free of any sharpness, readily articulates around the wrist and features a sturdy clasp. Furthermore, the presentation box also includes a rubber strap. I have a penchant for straps and while the watch was in my care, I mainly wore it on the rubber strap.

Delma supplies the Blue Shark III with two dedicated tools for adjusting the bracelet and also removing the bracelet / strap. The heads of the screws have a unique design and they proved simple to remove. Swapping the bracelet for a strap and vice versa is incredibly user-friendly.

Delma Blue Shark III

The Delma Blue Shark III is offered with a choice of bezel, a black DLC coated option or, my personal favourite, a brushed stainless steel bezel. Typical of most serious diver’s watches, the bezel is unidirectional and rotates with a series of reassuring clicks. In terms of tactility, this bezel exhibits a notable sense of quality.

A highly polished winding crown nestles between the shoulders of a brushed steel crown protector. The crown can be easily manipulated and, despite prolonged wear, I did not find the crown protector intrusive or irritating.

Delma Blue Shark III

A helium valve graces the left flank of the case. When saturation diving, a diver will spend time in a chamber, breathing air rich in helium. The helium has a tendency to penetrate the case of the diver’s watch. Later, as the diver returns to the ocean surface, the helium within the watch expands, potentially causing the sapphire crystal to pop-off. A helium valve allows excessive gas to leave the watch head, preventing the crystal coming adrift.

The Delma Blue Shark III has a maximum water resistance of 4000m. Appraising its case construction, one can readily discern its robustness. The brand has not declared the thickness of the sapphire crystal but it is clearly very substantial.

The movement

The Delma Blue Shark III is equipped with the venerable ETA 2824-2 movement which is personalised for the brand with the fitment of a gold plated rotor, sporting the company’s logo.

Consistent with diver’s watch tradition, the Delma Blue Shark III is fitted with a screwed case-back and eschews any glazing. Owing to the absence of an exhibition caseback, it was not possible to appraise the finishing of the movement.

Delma Blue Shark III

The balance has a frequency of 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and the movement contains 25 jewels. The lone spring barrel harnesses sufficient energy to deliver 38 hours of autonomy.

Closing remarks

Over the last few days, I have worn the Delma Blue Shark III and cannot avoid its bewitching gaze. A key benefit of horological intimacy is that one becomes aware of those idiosyncrasies often missed with a fleeting courtship. I have grown to know this watch and fallen for its many qualities.

Despite repeatedly probing every facet of the case with an inquisitive finger, rotating the bezel and turning the crown, I was unable to fine anything amiss. There is a palpable sense of quality which pervades this watch.

Prior to wearing this timepiece, I had never worn a Delma watch. I met the brand for the first time only a few weeks ago in Basel and my initial impression of the company’s products was very positive. However, it was only when I received the sample that I learnt of its retail price, £1750 (RRP as at 2.5.2019). I must admit, I wrongly assumed the watch was significantly more expensive based on its robust construction.

As stated earlier, the Delma Blue Shark III is a big, heavy watch. It can be worn over a wetsuit and is capable of withstanding incredible deepwater pressure. While I am unlikely to ever use such a watch for its intended purpose, I appreciate its masculine aesthetics and its orange dial. Moreover, my own physical stature places me to the extreme right of the distribution curve and as such the Blue Shark III looks at home on my wrist. Smaller individuals may find they are better served with a neater, less cumbersome diver’s model. These still proffer robustness, lucidity and decent water resistance.

Indeed, Delma makes an array of diver’s watches, each endowed with a Swiss automatic movement and, if the Blue Shark III is anything to go by, imbued with impressive quality. Furthermore, based on the price of my loan watch, they also provide excellent value for money. If you want the equivalent of a full-blown SUV then the Delma Blue Shark III is worthy of consideration, however, if you actually only need a two-wheel drive option, this Swiss brand also has an array of models to sate your horological desires. 

Further reading

https://www.delma.ch

Technical specifications

  • Model: Delma Blue Shark III
  • Reference: 41701.700.6.154
  • Case: Stainless steel; diameter 47mm; height 18.5mm; water resistance 400 ATM (4000 metres); sapphire crystal to the front and solid caseback; helium valve
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; central sweep seconds; date
  • Movement: ETA 2824-2automatic movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 25 jewels; power reserve = 38 hours
  • Strap: 3-Rows stainless steel bracelet with clasp. Also comes with an additional rubber strap
  • Price – £1750 (RRP as at 2.5.2019)