My absolute favorite watch type is the dive watch. I love the various tool like qualities that I see in many dive watches, particularly in cases and bezels. I don’t dive and barely get my watches wet, but dive watches still interest me the most. New brands, new designs, better materials and manufacturing methods have opened an unlimited amount of variation and creativity for dive watch enthusiasts.
There are now better values, designs and quality than ever before, particularly from new, revived and emerging watch brands as well as many that are just not familiar to most of us. Emtech La Costa, based in Florida, is behind the Del Mar brand and their dive watch caught my attention, because it is not a Rolex homage. The case design reminds me of many of the Seiko dive watches that come under various real names or nick names such as Prospex Tuna, Baby Tuna, Prospex Marine Master Professional, PADI Marine Master Tuna Limited and more.
The Del Mar Men’s Pro Dive Watch 1000M Helium Valve (it’s official name), model 50250 is 40.5 mm across (not counting the crown or helium valve). It is 42 mm lug to lug, 22 mm between the lugs and a relatively thin 12 mm. This is not a large dive watch, despite being rated for 1000 meters. The two piece case and screw down serial numbered back is 304L stainless steel in a design that I would call modified cushion. This is the part of the design that I really like, particularly because it has a fantastic machined surface and brushed finish. The case partially shrouds the bezel for about a third of it’s circumference from almost 12 to 3 o’clock and 6 to 9 o’clock. I understand this case design is used by other dive watch brands as well, and I can’t blame them; it is a great tool like design.
The bezel has prominent gear like teeth with a well done silver on black dive bezel inserted between it and the watch crystal. The teeth of the bezel are the most prominent part of the face while the bezel itself is 60 click unidirectional. The bezel has a satisfying click feel with just a little back play and a lume dot in a triangle at the zero position. The flat mineral crystal is flush with the inner edge of the bezel. The watch has a guarded 4 o’clock screw down crown and a 9 o’clock screw down helium valve, each with a distinctively different machined finish. Surprisingly, the helium valve doesn’t press against my wrist, despite being located at the bottom edge of the case, just like the crown.
The polyurethane black dive strap is very comfortable and adjustable through 10 holes. It has a solid stainless buckle as well as a unique (to me) strap loop design that looks cool and works very well. The strap has a wavy crinkle cut fry like shape where the strap attaches to both of the lugs, which I believe is supposed to help with wearing the watch over a wet suit. The watch face has large well marked light green lume circles at 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 11 o’clock. 6 and 9 o’clock markers have a unique design, similar to the slightly larger one at 12 o’clock. The 3 o’clock black on white date window has a silver frame, that matches the silver markings on the dial. Markings on the top half include the company name and “PROFESSIONAL”. The lower half says “1000 Meters” and “HELIUM SAFE” along with small “JAPAN MOVT” on either side of 6 o’clock. The lumed chromed rocket shaped hour hour hand is complimented by a orange bordered and lumed minute hand and a chromed and lollipop tail lumed second hand. The face has excellent lume, similar to C3, that should glow for about 8 hours.
Powering this watch is a Seiko Epson VX42E quartz movement, a no jewel quartz movement that has become very popular lately. Information is a bit sparse on this movement, but I find it performs perfectly and it is extremely accurate at about + or – 10 seconds a month. The second hand on my example does not bounce and it lines up with the second/minute markers better than most quartz watches.
In summary, I am very impressed with the performance and value of the Del Mar 50250. With a suggested MSRP of $229.50, this watch can be found online for under $200 and represents in my mind, a great value alternative to many similar Seiko dive watches. I consider it one of the best quartz dive watches I have worn to date. delmarwatchstore.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.