The ongoing armada of diving watches inspired by the golden era of underwater exploration – the 60s and 70s – shows no signs of abating, nor should it. There’s a wealth of design flair to be dredged from those archival depths. Yet a truly great watch can’t rely on style alone; it needs to back it up with both functionality and, in an ideal world, a great price. Well, say hello to Delta Watch’s Hydra.
The Hydra wears its 70s design inspirations on its sleeve, referencing the kind of timepieces worn by the likes of Jacques Cousteau and the pioneers of professional diving – the kind of watches that were expected not just to survive underwater, but thrive there.
Of course, that means both an inimitable vintage look and a specs sheet to rival a military-grade submarine. The Hydra has plenty of the first, with its huge 47mm diameter (53mm including the crown) stainless steel case, its high-contrast colourway and choice of black or bright orange aluminium diving bezels.
It matches performance to looks not just with its impressive 2,000m water resistance, but the more idiosyncratic divers’ additions of a left-handed crown and Omega Ploprof-esque helium escape valve, fit for saturation diving. It’s an almost intimidating specs sheet, and one that suits the Hydra well.
Inside that underwater Fort Knox is the Seiko NH35 automatic movement with its power reserve of around 42 hours. It offers precisely what you need for a watch that’s aimed at the harshest environment on Earth: accuracy and reliability.
Sealing the movement in you’ll find an ergonomic bubble caseback with one of the more unique aspects of the Hydra, as well a hint at where the watch gets its name: a pair of coordinates to the Greek Island of Hydra. Not only is the place a favourite of Delta Watch founder Bill Anagnos, but it’s a fitting testing ground for a watch that aims to challenge the depths as wholeheartedly as any ancient Greek hero.
Not that you’ll need to be as well-provisioned as Odysseus to afford your own take on the mythical many-headed creature. Despite promising extraordinary performance and a style to match, the Hydra will set you back just $379 – or in old money, around £280. Now that’s a price to stand the test of time.
There are more bezel colours available for purchase on Delta’s website, for those who want a backup, or who might want a change of style further down the road.
Price & Specs:
Model Name: Delta Watch Hydra
Case/Dial: 50mm diameter x 19.2mm thickness, stainless steel
Water Resistance: 2000m (200 bar)
Movement: Seiko calibre NH35, automatic, 24 jewels, -20/+40 seconds a day accuracy
Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
Power Reserve: 41h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet
Price & availability: £280 GBP / $379 USD
More details at Delta Watch.