Delma Oceanmaster Antarctica
Most watches are subject to some form of pre-launch evaluation, however, the recently launched Delma Oceanmaster Antarctica took this practise to another level. Prior to unveiling its latest creation, Delma tested the watch in the hostile environment of Antartica, affixed to the wrist of Nick Moloney. The Swiss luxury marque collaborated with Nick, an ocean adventurer and Delma ambassador, when it developed this highly robust model, ideally suited for exploration.
It is 200 years since the discovery of Antarctica, a place that is now synonymous with scientific exploration and perilous adventures. Perusing various historical archives reveals there is some debate as to who discovered Antarctica. Back in 1820, there were two rival expeditions, one from Russia and a second from Great Britain.
Two Russian naval officers, Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev discovered an ice shelf at Princess Martha Coast, subsequently known as Fimbul Ice Shelf. However, on 30th January 1820, just three days after the Russian officers made their discovery, a British expedition led by Irishman Edward Bransfield, sighted Trinity Peninsula.
Recently, Nick Moloney, an Australian sailer ventured to Antarctica, 200 years after its discovery. However, as Nick found, today’s Antarctica is very different from the scene witnessed by the aforementioned Russian naval officers. Indeed, the topography of this frozen wilderness is rapidly changing, a consequence of global warming. Thankfully, there are many people making efforts to protect this hitherto unspoilt landscape.
Nick, a Delma Ambassador, chose to wear the aptly named Oceanmaster Antarctica during his recent expedition. While this association must be every marketing manager’s dream, it also proved a suitably harsh test for this newly released watch, a challenge it successfully met.
Delma has also chosen to demonstrate its altruistic nature, donating ‘a portion of the proceeds of each Oceanmaster Antarctica’ to the Antarctic and Southern Coalition (ASOC). The aim of this organisation is to protect ‘this great wilderness and the fascinating wildlife that relies on it’.
A few weeks ago, I was granted a pre-launch audience with the new Delma Oceanmaster Antarctica. During my time at the Swiss company’s Lengnau HQ, I tried the watch on for size and recorded my observations. In this feature, I relay both my observations and my thoughts about this latest addition to Delma’s catalogue.
In common with many watches, the Delma Oceanmaster Antarctica sports a blue dial, however, this dial is extraordinary. Designed to reference the ice and sea, the blue dial shade possesses a becoming richness. Furthermore, the surface is imbued with a fine latticework motif, replicating the crystalline nature of ice. During my time with the Oceanmaster Antarctica I kept returning to the dial’s arresting complexion and frequently nodded with approval.
The expansive hour and minute hands are paired with plump indexes, imparting meaning, free of ambiguity. Both the hour and minute hands, along with the indexes, are treated with Super-LumiNova C3. The central sweep seconds hand is executed in a prominent shade of red and also proves highly legible. A date display, featuring black numerals on a white disc, is positioned at 6 o’clock.
While the Delma Oceanmaster Antarctica shares the same hewn from granite robustness as several of the brand’s diver’s watches, this model is designed for competitive sailing. The watch is endowed with a nautical bezel, points of sail markings and a ‘tactical planner’. I suspect most prospective purchasers are unlikely to use these functions in anger, but that does not diminish the rationale for their inclusion. Personally, I find these functions add a welcome smidgen of colour and enhance the overall appearance of the watch.
The case and bezel of the Delma Oceanmaster Antarctica are made of stainless steel, encompassing both brushed and polished surfaces. Despite the comparatively modest price of this watch, there is an overriding sense of quality. The different surface treatments sit in close proximity and yet remain discrete. The brushed surfaces temper the exuberance of the polished surfaces, imbuing the watch with a refined character.
Rotating the unidirectional bezel yields a pleasing tactile experience. The crown nestles between the two wings of a crown protector, preventing the winding stem from suffering any trauma. The 3-rows bracelet exhibits both a reassuring heft and notable solidity. Furthermore, it is endowed with a safety clasp and pushers.
The Delma Oceanmaster Antarctica is overtly masculine, measuring 44mm in diameter with a thickness of 13.8mm. I did not find these dimensions to be a problem, albeit I suspect small wrists may feel overwhelmed. Certainly, I found this watch provided a comfortable union with my wrist with no hint of case sharpness.
The caseback, engraved with a depiction of Antartica, is retained with four screws. The Delma Oceanmaster Antarctica is water resistant to 500m and features a helium escape valve, ideal for those wearers partial to a spot of saturation diving.
The Swiss marque has equipped the Oceanmaster Antarctica with an ETA 2824-2 automatic movement. Certainly the keen pricing of this watch would preclude the use of a Swiss ‘Manufacture’ movement, however, readers should be rest assured that in terms of the quality-price ratio, it doesn’t get better than ETA. Moreover, the Calibre 2824-2 is renown for its reliability and ease of servicing.
This watch is fitted with a solid caseback, hence no evaluation of the movement finishing was possible. Delma state the movement has been fitted with its own custom rotor, the balance has a frequency of 28,800 vph (4Hz) and the movement contains 25 jewels. The lone barrel ensures 38 hours of autonomous operation. The movement features ETA’s proprietary ETACHRON regulation system, a user-friendly means of adjusting the effective length of the hairspring, making the regulating organ run faster or slower.
The Delma Oceanmaster Antartica is an impressive watch, especially considering its modest asking price. The display is eminently legible while the dial’s surface is blessed with an eye-catching hue and sublime texture. The case is well executed and it looks capable of apocalyptic survival.
The bean counters could have saved a few Swiss francs by using a cheaper Japanese movement, however, to its credit, Delma decided to use a costlier, highly reliable ETA 2824-2. Wherever the prospective wearer chooses to look, they will easily recognise the quality in their midst.
I have reviewed several Delma models to date and they all share two traits, quality construction and value for money. The brand’s watches do not masquerade as exemplars of Haute Horlogerie, their pricing prohibits mirror polishing or grand feu enamel dials. However, if you are seeking a quality timepiece for less than £1500, you could do far worse than try the Delma Oceanmaster Antarctica, a watch which that has been tested in one of the most challenging environments.
- Model: Delma Oceanmaster Antarctica
- Reference: 41701.670.6.049
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 44mm; height 13.8mm; water resistance 50ATM (500 metres); sapphire crystal to front; solid case back.
- Functions: Hours; minutes; date, nautical bezel, points of sail, tactical planner
- Movement: ETA 2824-2, automatic movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 25 jewels; power reserve 38 hours.
- Strap: Stainless steel bracelet with deployant clasp with push buttons
- Price: £1,190 (RRP as at 26.3.2020)
- Limited edition: 200 pieces