Delma Oceanmaster Tide

The Delma Oceanmaster Tide, housed in a robust 44mm steel case, brims with testosterone. Its specification includes points of sail indicators, a tactical planner and, most notably, a tidal tracking feature. Angus Davies ponders if Delma has discovered a new niche in the market for this latest model.

Delma Oceanmaster Tide

Over the last couple of years, the term ‘desk diver’ has become part of horological parlance. It refers to those people drawn to diving watches despite having no reason, professional or recreational, to enter the water and partake in subaquatic exploration.

However, most desk divers are not posturing as elite underwater commandos, they are drawn to this genre of watch for very sensible reasons. A pre-requisite of any divers’ watch is that the indications must be eminently legible, an essential requirement beneath the waves, but equally valid on terra firma. A timepiece with a decent amount of water resistance is also useful when taking a shower or diving in a swimming pool. The robust construction of divers’ watches will help to mitigate the rough and tumble of everyday life. And, lastly, many horophiles simply adore the über-masculine utilitarian appearance of a divers’ watch.

The Swiss firm Delma is no stranger to divers’ watches. It released its first subaquatic model, the Periscope, in 1969. A few years later (1975), it released its first professional divers’ watch, the Shell Star. Today, it makes some heavy-duty watches which are more than capable of withstanding incredible underwater pressures, like the highly impressive Blue Shark III which is water-resistant to 4000m. Having worn this latter model, I can attest it is super robust and highly legible. Moreover, its suitability for use on dry land is beyond question.

Recently, the Lengnau-based watch firm released the Delma Oceanmaster Tide, a timepiece created for avid sailors with an overriding concern for tidal effects. On the face of it, the target audience for this product sounds rather esoteric, however, I suspect the same was once said about divers’ watches. Maybe Delma has discovered a new niche, making watches for self-declared ‘desk sailors’?

The dial

The dial is presented in the deepest of black shades, providing a foil for all other hues to shine. The hour and minute hands are broad, white and lined with a liberal application of Super-LumiNova. The baton-style indexes are slightly trapezoidal, white, luminescent and framed with a narrow silvery border. Double indexes are located at noon, while at 6 o’clock, a date aperture assumes prominence.

A bold red hand indicates the running seconds while the dial area is framed with a minuterie. The dial is endowed with points of sail indicators and a tactical planner, functions which may well prove useful on the high seas, but probably of little use during the daily commute to work. However, these functions do provide a degree of authenticity to the watch and the added detail certainly augments the model’s visual appearance.

The dial of the Oceanmaster Tide bears a strong likeness to that of its older sibling, the Oceanmaster Antarctica. The dial is presented in black instead of the Antarctica’s blue visage and unlike the Antartica with its nautical bezel (compass scale), the Delma Oceanmaster Tide is endowed with a tidal tracking feature.

The relative distances and positions of the sun, moon and Earth all affect the size and magnitude of Earth’s two ‘tidal bulges’. The magnitude of the tides can be influenced by the shape of bays and estuaries. Likewise, local weather patterns can also influence tidal behaviour. As any mariner will attest, tides are of crucial importance when trying to safely navigate the seas.

Delma Oceanmaster Tide

A close look at the rotational bezel of the Delma Oceanmaster Tide reveals that it is marked with ‘low tide’ and ‘high tide’. Using the local tide tables, the wearer manually aligns the next high or low tide indicator to the time when it will next occur.

Despite its obvious benefit to mariners, the tidal tracking feature could also be beneficial to others. For example, cockle pickers in Morecambe Bay or visitors to Lindisfarne. In fact, on reflection, there will be vast numbers of people throughout the world who need to know the approach of low and high tides. The Delma Oceanmaster Tide provides this important information in a user-friendly format.

The case

Measuring 44mm in diameter, the Delma Oceanmaster Tide confers much wrist presence. Housed in a stainless steel, the case is suffused with a tasteful blend of brushed and polished surfaces. Interestingly, the refined execution of the case transforms the housing from a utilitarian object to a luxurious touchpoint.

Delma Oceanmaster Tide

The screw-down crown nestles within a sturdy protection device, preventing small impacts damaging the crown and winding stem ensemble. An exhibition caseback affords views of the self-winding movement, while the upper sapphire crystal, positioned above the dial, features anti-reflective coating which helps improve readability.

Prospective wearers can purchase the Oceanmaster Tide with either a substantial 3-rows steel bracelet with a safety clasp or, alternatively, a blue rubber strap paired with a steel buckle.

The movement

The Delma Oceanmaster Tide is offered in three movement option: a self-winding mechanical movement, a 3-hand quartz and a quartz chronograph. While the mechanical movement attracts a premium over the brand’s quartz-powered models, the mechanical option remains keenly priced.

Delma has selected the tried and tested ETA 2824-2 movement. I concede that I have reached an age where I repeat myself, however, I will say it again, ETA make fabulous movements. The reason for my unbridled praise is that these movements are reliable, simple to service, precise and affordable. To this end, ETA movements continue to be used by many Swiss watch brands.

The ETA 2824-2 does not masquerade as the last word in Haute Horlogerie, the modest pricing precludes mirror polishing and other forms of high-end hand-finishing. Indeed, in this instance, the movement has not received any enhancement, save for the rotor which has been personalised for the brand.

Closing remarks

The dial of the Oceanmaster Tide is highly legible, conveying hours and minutes with notable aplomb. Personally, I would never use the points of sail indicators or the tactical planner, but nevertheless, I like the soupçons of colour and the subtle dial detail these functions grant. On the other hand, the tidal tracking feature should appeal to a broader audience. There are many scenarios where an awareness of the tides could be useful.

The case of this model is large without being unwieldy. The crown and crown protector look robust, obviating the need for unnecessary pampering. And yet, while the case looks practical, it surpasses the perfunctory, courtesy of its attractive blend of brushed and polished surfaces. Indeed, throughout this composition, Delma has delivered an impressive combination of luxury and practicality.

Whether it’s the Oceanmaster Tide’s 44mm case with its hewn from granite toughness or its eminently legible dial, this model delivers an array of benefits for those individuals who will never venture from the shore. When you think about it, there is a logic to being a ‘desk sailor’ and, based on this example, I think Delma may well have discovered an interesting niche in the market.

Further reading

Technical specifications

  • Model: Delma Oceanmaster Tide
  • Reference: 41701.670.6.848 (bracelet) / 41501.670.6.848 (rubber strap)
  • Case: Stainless steel; diameter 44mm; height 13.8mm; water resistance 50ATM (500 metres); sapphire crystal to front; exhibition case back.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; central sweep seconds; date, points of sail, tactical planner, tidal tracking feature
  • Movement: ETA 2824-2, automatic movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 25 jewels; power reserve 38 hours.
  • Strap: 3-rows steel bracelet with a safety clasp or blue rubber strap paired with a steel buckle.
  • Price: £1,000 (bracelet) / £950 (rubber strap) (RRP as at 4.12.2020)

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