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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Delma Blue Shark L.E. - REVIEW

In my quest to find the ULTIMATE über-dive watch I have owned several 3000m divers. From a pair of Breitling Seawolfs, to the great value Deep Blue DepthMaster, to the venerable Ball Deequest and Aquadive BS300, it is apparent that the pinnacle of dive watch supremacy is the 3000m+ diver. It is while researching these watches that I stumbled onto the Delma Blue Shark, as I had never previously heard of it previously.

One of my absolute favorite things about this hobby is stumbling onto new watches I MUST acquire… and I did! Now let me pre-face this review by saying that this particular 3000m diver is unlike any of the others in many ways. In fact, it takes quite a bit to surprise me in the watch world and this one has surprised me more than once!

The first thing you notice when you receive the Blue Shark is the incredible packaging. It is reminiscent of a Panerai watch presentation box, which is saying quite a bit! You expect this when buying a watch in the 5 figures, but not when purchasing a Delma. I was quite impressed. In the packaging came all the tools necessary to size the watch and swap out the bracelet for the supplied rubber (silicone) strap.

Once you get passed the presentation you are immediately struck by the heft of this timepiece. At 300+ grams, it is by far one of the heaviest watches I have ever owned, but due to the thickness of the bracelet and the incredibly over-engineered clasp, it is very well balanced. I am grateful for the latter attribute, fore without it, this watch would flop around my wrist like a fish out of water.

Sizing this behemoth was quite simple, using the tools provided, but somewhat surprising. I had “assumed” each screw on either side of the bracelet was part of one whole bar. Well, this is not the case! Each side is independent and the threads for the screws are near the head and not the tip. I have never seen this in any other watch before. It is quite novel and the added security is really reassuring. Should one side ever get loose; there is no risk of bracelet coming apart.

I chose the non-plated steel bezel version and I was a little reticent of my decision. That is until I saw it in person! It is much, much nicer live and in living color. The top of the bezel is not an insert, as I first thought and it is not aluminum, it is solid stainless steel and the top ring is actually a step up from the polished teeth that help with the grip. I am very pleased with my choice and so much prefer it to the black, which could easily get scuffed. The lume on the bezel is superb.

The dial is a black carbon fiber pattern, which does not look as busy as I expected it to be. Of course, the pictures you see on-line are close-ups, so the watches are 300-400% larger than they really are. This pattern is much more sublet in real-life. All of the markers, as well as the surround around the date are applied and reflect ever so nicely. The quality of the dial and applied indices remind me of an Omega Planet Ocean, which is high praise considering the disparity in price. Having owned 4 Planet Oceans myself, I can sincerely attest to this.

The hands look like others we have seen before on the original Zodiac Super Seawolf, but upon closer inspection, you will find a greater surface area for lume on the Delma’s hands. They are basically a variation of a winning formula and in my opinion, an improvement. Another neat feature on the dial is the anodized orange flange, which adds further depth to the overall dial. All of this is underneath a thick, domed sapphire crystal, which is treated underneath with an anti-reflective coating.

As you can imagine the case back and crown are both screwed-down and have beautiful engraving. If I had to pick on something, it would have to be the crown. I feel it is does not afford enough “grip” and its polished surface make is somewhat slippery to adjust.  This is such a minor design flaw, since its ETA 2824 movement will so rarely need adjusting. So how often will you be resetting this watch, once a month? Twelve times a year? No big deal really.

The aforementioned ETA movement has been performing flawlessly and gaining a consistent 6 sec/day while worn 24/7. Yes, I have worn this bad boy to bed, though maybe I should not, as I almost knocked out my cat the other day. Poor micro-dude, mind you, he did see it coming due to the incredible lume or did he see it like a deer in headlights “Oh… pretty lights… thwack”… lol…

THE CLASP! Almost forgot to bring this up. I know I mentioned how overbuilt it is above, but this must be discussed in more detail! It is made of thick, solid stainless steel and instead of friction holding the flip-lock in place, there are two bearing detents built into the steel. What you get when you flip it closed is pleasurable click. It is extremely precise, refined and so impressive.

Because of its design, when opened, I find it a tad small for my giant paws, but I can still manage to squeeze in there. While this may sound like a problem, it is not. Due to the weight and size of this behemoth, if the opening was much larger, I would fear dropping it. As it is, I must wiggle it offer. I am thankful for this. Speaking of behemoth, it can also be used as a dive weight, to help divers get to the bottom.

As another famous dive watch blogger recently said, when going for a super, high-performance, deep diver such as this, some things must be compromised. Weight and size being two of those compromises. All that being said, it remains a very comfortable watch to wear and it does get a lot of attention for its contrasting colors and size. I thoroughly enjoy wearing it.

If you are in the market for something completely different and you want super specifications to go along with it, then you may have just found your next deep diver. For many more pictures, click on the link below to see my initial impressions post. 

Delma Blue Shark L.E. - 1st Impressions

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