DELTAt Watch Company is the brain child of Wai Kwong (Hiro) Cheng from Hong Kong, a young watch enthusiast. Currently his company is offering 8 different watch collections with more to come. When I first noticed the brand I immediately saw originality in his designs with an emphasis on quality. Recently his new design, Nbs-Mk1, won a Iron A Design Award from the International Association of Designers.
For this review I have watches from his UMI collection, U-726, 728, 735 and 737. These watches are silver case/black face, silver case/ blue face, black case/black face and black case/blue face, respectively. These watches are also available with a green face and with points 6, 9 and 12 in Arabic numbers and also in a California dial, upper half Roman and lower half Arabic numerals. Other than the case finish, face design, finish of hands and face color, these watches are identical.
These watches all use the very popular Japan Time Module (Seiko) NH35A automatic movement; 24 jewels, 21,600 bph, 41 hour reserve and hacking. In my experience this movement is very reliable with an average accuracy rating of +10/-30 seconds per day. The 316L case in either brushed stainless or PVD coating is very attractive without looking too much like any other particular dive watch on the market. Rated for 300M W/R, the case measures 44 mm x 15 mm and 48 mm across the case at the nicely shrouded, engraved and signed crown. Lugs width is perfectly proportioned at 22 mm with lug to lug a substantial 53 mm; this is not a small dive watch, though it is not huge either. The whole case and the lugs are beautifully machined while the 12 machined grooves on the edge of the rounded 120 click unidirectional bezel look great and keep the design clean and simple.
The screw down crown is solid, smooth and very easy to operate, even with a substantial machined crown guard. The exhibition screw down back is wonderfully engraved with the watch brand, water resistance rating, the case material, the watch model number, serial number, basic movement type and watch crystal material, sapphire. The crystal has an A/R coating (hopefully it is on the inside) as well. With so much information on the 40.5 mm diameter case back, you might think it would be crowded and hard to read, but it is not. Incidentally, the movement is completely unadorned with no cosmetic modifications, which on a dive watch seems totally appropriate to me.
I have not tried this watch with either of the additional supplied nylon or paracord straps, but it’s hard to fault the very flexible and comfortable rubber straps on the UMI The 5 square across pattern on the front side of the strap and the 9 square across pattern on the back side work perfectly with the narrow brushed signed stainless buckle and the two strap loops. I would like to try this watch with a silver or black stainless steel bracelet in the future.
The blue or black faces on the watches that I have are well finished with properly proportioned raised white lumed markers consisting of eight circles, two rectangles and the 12 o’clock triangle. There is no 3 o’clock lumed rectangle because of the black on white date window located there. I prefer a 4:30 date window for this reason, a minor quibble. Lume type is not specified, but is quite good. Watches with the stainless steel finished case have polished silver lumed bisected hour and minute sword hands. Watches with the black PVD finished case are glossy black finish instead of the polished silver finish. Second hands match the respective finish of the hour and minute hands and are slightly tapered with a lollipop lumed circle. The white and red DELTAt logo is exactly where you expect it and the lower half of the face has the printed gray words “automatic” and “300M water resistant”. This information is also engraved on the case back. A light gray second/minute half a railroad track encircles the outer edge of the dial and it looks perfect with this face design, in my opinion.
The UMI collection from Deltat is a solid, comfortable, reliable, distinctive, well finished and detailed automatic dive watch that is not a cookie cutter design; $480; deltatwatch.com
Bert Kanne is a freelance contributor to MBWW with a love for well made dive watches and chronographs. All photos by Bert Kanne unless otherwise noted.