There are plenty of watch brands out there with faux-histories and plumped up pedigrees, but Delma certainly isn’t one. Launched in 1924 as A. & A. Gilomen S.A, they initially produced a variety of sports watches and chronographs, only really coming into their own as a dive watch manufacturer in the 60’s and 70’s. They did so firstly with their hip Periscope and later the more purposeful Shell Star & Quattro models.
Today they continue this rich vein of well-designed, professional dive watches with the release of the Oceanmaster Antarctic, a watch celebrating 200 years since the discovery of the Ice continent and created to accompany ambassador Nick Moloney on his scientific expedition.
Being a watch designed to thrive in the harshest environment on the planet, you’d expect the Antarctica to be tough – very tough. Housed in a 44mm diameter stainless steel case, it combines features of both sailing and dive watches, resulting in an expedition-style timepiece that is as functional as it handsome.
The Antarctica includes all the elements necessary to call itself a professional diver, with a few added sailing attributes. That means it fits nicely into a relatively underexploited niche. A screw down crown with protector, unidirectional rotating bezel, a water resistance of 500m and a helium escape valve are all to be expected.
However, to bring the sailing element on board Delma have used a nautical style bezel which includes a 360 degree indicator instead of your usual minute counter. Pair that with sail indicators on the dial and you have a navigation aidas much as a timekeeper, ready for whenever you need it. Though if you’re down to relying on your watch halfway across the South Seas, it’s probably a bit too late for you.
For such a functional tool watch, you need a movement with as little fuss and as much practicality as possible. The movement in this case the ETA 2824, a tried and tested automatic calibre with a sold 38-hour power reserve wound with a ball bearing.
Aesthetically the Antarctica really comes into it’s own. The blue gradient on the textured dial replicates the effect of ice meeting into the sea brilliantly, and the slight tonneau case shape works well with the circular bezel and integrated lugs to create a silhouette with character. The case alternates brushed and polished finishes and the caseback includes a fitting tribute to of the early explorers with a nautical style engraving of Antarctica.
A limited run of 200 will be produced with a portion of the proceeds going to the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC) in their noble cause of protecting the last true wilderness on earth. After all, what use are professional dive watches if there are no animals left to dive with?
Price & Specs:
Model Name: Delma Oceanmaster Antarctica
Case/Dial: 44mm diameter x 13.8mm thickness, stainless steel
Water resistance: 500m (50 bar)
Movement: Calibre ETA 2824, automatic
Functions: Hour, minute, seconds, date
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 38h
Strap: Brushed and polished stainless steel bracelet, safety clasp with pushers
Price: CHF 1,290 / €1,390 / USD 1,450, limited edition of 200 pieces
More details at Delma’s website.