Watch Review: DELTAt UMI

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Company: DELTAt

Website: www.deltatwatch.com/products.php?collection_id=8&product_id=62

Model: UMI

Specifications:

Movement:
Japan Time Module (Seiko) Automatic Movement Cal. NH35A

Hands:
Lumed Hour, Minute, and Second hand
Hacking seconds

Case:
44mm diameter
15mm thick
103g without straps
316L Stainless Steel

Crystal:
Sapphire Crystal with anti-reflection coating
Water Resistant
300m/990ft (30ATM) Water Resistant

Price:$480

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From a design standpoint there are many things that make a dive watch something special for me. So special in fact, they are one of my personal favorite style of watches. A detail that just adds to the coolness factor of a dive watch is that most can withstand going into the pressure filled depths of the ocean. There is something that is just so rugged and badass about a dive watch. Lovers of dive watches know what I am talking about. If you don’t know what I am talking about hopefully today I can help explain it to you because we will be taking a look at the DELTAt Umi.

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This is their latest addition to their growing collection of watches. I had some good experiences with 2 watches already from their collection so I was excited to see what the Umi was all about. From first glance the Umi screams dive watch. It’s hearty 45mm x 15mm 316L stainless steel case feels and looks like it can handle some abuse. The Umi’s head alone weighs in at 103g. The majority of the case has a brushed finish which is my preferred finishing on a dive watch. I’m not entirely into polished finished cases on a dive watch as it seems out of character. I do wear my dive watches to desk dive, but I also use them out in the field-diving, climbing, hiking, etc.. So it’s important to me that a watch can handle what I put it through and that it won’t skin it’s knee at the first sight of an adventure. Polished finishes in my experience tend to show every spec. Anyone who wears a watch during these type of adventures doesn’t want to worry about babying their watch. The Umi can handle up to 300m of water resistance which means it can handle all areas of recreational use like the shower, pools and can handle some pretty serious diving use as well.

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Looking at the Umi it was hard for me to ignore the unique bezel so I’ll start there. The angle at which the edges to grip the bezel are cut makes for a good looking change of pace bezel. It almost gives it a buzz saw blade appearance giving the Umi a no nonsense wrist appearance. The bezel is very easy to grip and rotate with 120 clicks of buttery smooth goodness. There is absolutely no play whatsoever with this bezel. The bezel is also clear of any numeral/markings except for the lumed faux pearl above the 12 o’clock position.

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The screw down crown is well protected by some very cool, large, squared crown guards. The crown looks good as well thanks in part to the engraved DELTAt logo. Looks aren’t everything though, function is more important but no worries here, the crown functions perfectly. Both screwing/unscrewing and with setting the time/date are done with smooth ease. Gripping this bad boy is equally easy thanks to the gear edges that help eliminate your fingers from slipping off. For those of you who like to be peeping Toms into your watch movements you will be pleased to see that the Umi has a sapphire crystal exhibition case back. You get to see the Seiko NH35A with it’s 24 jewels and beating at 21,600 vibrations per hour. The NH35A has a 41 hour power reserve and its standard accuracy rate of +10~30 seconds per day rate. During my experience with the Umi it was keeping +7 seconds per day.

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Telling time on the Umi is not only easy, but it is also a thing of simplistic beauty. The backdrop for this dial starts to paint the picture of a something that’s easy on the eyes. The matte black dial is that perfect canvas which serves two purposes, one it looks good and two it cuts glare down considerably. The polished hands are easy to see in well lit environments thanks to the pure white inside coating which is equally as easy to see in dark environments thanks to the coatings of lume. The applied indices received the same quality treatment, bordered in the same polished metal with white inside, coated in lume. Coming together in beautiful harmony. The second hand has a lumed circle at the end that finishes the hands quite nicely.

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With no numerals on the dial, DELTAt has to make the dial interesting in another way. Of course the hands help this cause and the applied lumed/polished indices do as well, but they went a step beyond here. At the 12 o’clock position is a larger triangle and at 6 & 9 there are rectangles which give some good focal points on this dial. At the 3 o’clock position you will find the date window which features a white wheel with black printed numerals. There is some text on the dial as well, which is located under the 12 o’clock position and above the 6 o’clock. I really like that the word DELTA is in white and the ‘t’ is in red, a nice touch of color goes a long way here. Bordering in all of the dial’s goodness is a thin white minutes/seconds track that completes the Umi dial brilliantly.

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The Umi comes with a wide variety of straps which is really awesome because each one if completely different. You get a
22mm width rubber strap, a nylon velcro straps, And a paracord strap with multi-tools buckle. The paracord strap is so cool as I have never really seen a strap like this. It features a whistle, a saw, a compass, all tools thank are pretty useful when out in the field either deep in the woods or out in the water.

The rubber strap is the more simplistic strap of the trio. It has raised square texturing throughout both halves and features a signed, brushed finished tang buckle. Finally, the Velcro strap is pretty awesome. It reminds me of a pilot watch I reviewed awhile back that featured the same style Velcro strap. The difference is the thickness of the DELTAt strap and the wide buckle that looks badass. The orange stitch detailing on this strap gives it a completed finish that looks fantastic.

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There are a lot of options out there for people looking for a microbrand diver. And having options is a great thing, trying to narrow down those options is where the challenge comes in. That’s why I am here to help offer my two cents to hopefully aid in the narrowing down process. The Umi is a nice blend of classic styling with modern day influences scattered about it. The large thick lugs and crown guards give the Umi a rugged, no nonsense modern look, teamed up with the large brushed bezel makes for a tough looking case. The classic dial is simple and well executed.

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What DELTAt has done to set the bar higher is they included extra straps. Yes other companies have done this as well, but I’ve never seen such a wide variety of styles included in a watch kit before that was straight from the manufacturer. Of course you can find such offerings on the secondary market, but having this kind of offering from the company itself makes this very special. The waterproof case the Umi comes in is cool as well, which can be used as a small travel tool box which comes in quite handy because of its waterproofness and because it easily fits in the glove box or your back back. Pretty damn handy if you ask me.

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I would definitely recommend the Umi to someone looking for a good experience with a microbrand diver. There is enough here that makes the Umi a good value and a solid offering. Check out their website for all the variations of the Umi.

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I want to personally thank DELTAt for allowing me the honor to review the Umi.

 

This review is dedicated to Brice and his family. My thoughts and prayers are with you now and forever.

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Watch Review: Scurfa Bell Diver 1

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Company: Scurfa Watches

Model: Bell Diver 1

Specification

Case size 43mm Lug to Lug 51mm and 16mm thickness, 22mm strap size
8mm screw down crown
Working Heliox Escape Valve
Domed Sapphire Crystal
500m ~ 1640ft
Grade A Super Luminova SL-BGW9 Blue on the dial, hands and bezel insert
Ceramic bezel insert with matching Super Luminova SL-BGW9 markings
Miyota 9015 Automatic movement

Some of my all time favorite watches are dive watches. I’m obsessed with the ocean. There is so much life within the depths of the ocean and there are so many undiscovered mysteries. A lot of research goes into watch design by companies when making their watches, but few have the experience of the ocean that the owner of Scurfa Watches has. Paul’s experience is something that has truly aided in the designs of his watches.

“Having first been made for divers and support staff who were left without a watch when the value of their vintage Rolex diving watches exploded leaving them the option of a large windfall or too self conscious of wearing such a valuable item in a hostile workplace, Paul Scurfield watch enthusiast and saturation diver tried to fill the void with a few affordable watches built to a high standard using the best materials.

Divers working in the North Sea are made up in teams of three and on any working dive you have a diver 1, diver 2 and the bellman, diver 1 controls the dive and this is where the name for the watches come from, diver 2 is there to make his job easier, the bellman tends the divers from the diving bell and the divers work in the water for a maximum six hours, a normal saturation diving system will house four teams of three divers covering the full twenty four hours of the working day stopping only for bad weather or crew changes, the work period for the divers is 28 days including decompression.”

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Today we are exploring the new Bell Diver 1 which by judging from the first glance, you can see that a lot of thought went into the design. Paul has spent a lot of time within the depths of the ocean/sea so he surely knows what demands are needed to be met to survive the involved rigors. All these considerations have been well thought out by Paul himself and encorporated into the Bell Diver 1. The 43mm x 16mm case is a prime example of experience that can’t be faked. On the non crown side of the case there is a working Heliox escape valve which Paul himself tested from 151m of decompression. This is one of many features on the Bell Diver that make it so special because of Paul’s personal experience.

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The screw down crown is beautifully designed and functions like a champ. The edges of the crown make it so easy to grip and operate. To top off an already great crown, Scurfa signed it with an engraved BD 1. While we are on the subject of great details, the edge of the bezel is pretty great. Not only does it match the crown, but it is wider than a typical bezel which makes it very easy to grip and rotate it unidirectionally. The ratcheting action/sound is music to the ears and fingers. The ceramic bezel insert looks fantastic and with the Super Luminova SL-BGW9 coating this baby looks awesome in both the light and dark. There is absolutely no play on the bezel rotation either.

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Honestly the lugs on the Bell Diver are a true work of art. Just take a look at those chamfers! A detail that isn’t often found often watches in this price range. The brushed finish on the case is very well done. Giving the Bell Diver a nice mix of a tool watch but also with nice finishes of a dress style diver. The screw down case back features some nice engraving work with the Scrufa logo found right in the middle.

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It is very hard to ignore the dial on the Bell Diver for this long, but now it’s time to take a look at this beauty. The matte grey is absolutely amazing. Traditionally I’m a matte black dial fan and never appreciated a grey dial until the Bell Diver arrived at my door step. The matte grey has so much depth to it and I really like how the shades of grey changes under different lighting. The grey is continued into the chapter ring as well giving the dial even more depth. The dial has some help in the 3-dimensional plane because the applied hour indices. What makes these so special in my opinion is that the white indices are bordered in non traditional black. I see a lot of this style that are always bordered with chrome/silver which looks nice, but not as nice as this black border.

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The classic sword hands recieved the same treatment with the gloss black border and matte white interior. The red second hand nicely the matches the raised red printed text on the dial & the red minute markers on the inner chapter ring. The dial has its fair share of nice lume treatment which glows brightly throughout the night on a full charge. Tucked away nicely at the 3 o’clock position is the date window. It blends so well thanks to Paul’s attention to detail. The date wheel is black with white printed numerals. This dial is a work of harmonious beauty. Everything complements eachother and there’s is nothing that’s over done. The bezel lines up perfectly with all the corresponding dial markers as well, which is something my OCD eye always looks for on a watch. It drives me bonkers when the triangle on the bezel doesn’t line perfectly up with the 12 o’clock position on the dial.

The Bell Diver comes on a nice rubber dive strap. I for one love a good rubber strap on a dive watch. Silicone is also nice but it collects dust and lint like no other. The Bell Diver’s strap has some great little details that take it above the simplicity of just a rubber dive strap. On the buckle side of the strap features the raised Bell Diver 1 logo and on the other half of the strap it features a nice raised pin stripe. I really enjoy the wide buckle pin with the large holes which operate flawlessly when strapping and unstrapping this watch.

Ticking away inside the Bell Diver 1 is the ever so reliable Miyota 9015 Automatic movement which has become one of my favorite movements, slightly edging over it’s ETA counterpart. With a standard accuracy rate of -10~30 seconds per day and a power reserve of 42 hours the 9015 is a great alternative to those Swiss movements. Now there’s some extra features included on the inside of the Bell Diver 1 that I think is a must have. The watch movement is protected with a brass cover for the low levels of magnetism that are often experienced offshore. I recently had my first magnitized watch movement experience which has caused the watch to gain 5 minutes per hour. Yes, not a fun experience. Paul doesn’t what you to have that experience either. *UPDATE 11/23/16* I’ve been timing the Bell Diver 1 and it’s been averaging +3 seconds per day. That’s in every position, I even slept with it on my wrist!

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The Bell Diver 1 is a absolute solid dive watch that is quality from head to toe. This bad boy can easily keep up with the boys who cost much, much more. I’d put my money down on that. The Bell Diver 1 is so well designed. Designed by a person who knows first hand what it takes for a watch to survive the tests of the sea. I have so much respect for what Paul does and the experience that he has. This experience, teamed up with his passion for both watches and the sea has truly come through in all aspects of the Bell Diver.

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I HIGHLY recommend this watch to anyone looking for a dive watch. Why do you need to break the bank to get a watch? Honestly you don’t. No trickery here with the Bell Diver. You are paying for what you get, but your money here actually gets you a TON of watch. It’s an excellent value. Take a look at the customer comments that are out on social media about the Bell Diver 1. They speak the truth here. I can’t express enough what a great value the Bell Diver 1 is.

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I can’t find a single thing on this watch to nit pick. Paul has thought everything through on this one. The case and dial are simply gorgeous to look at. It’s a great size too, meeting in that sweet spot of 42mm-45mm. It has great wrist presence and is very comfortable to wear all day long.

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I want to personally thank Paul for this honor of allowing me to review this watch. I have the highest of respect what what Paul has achieved here. It’s pretty inspiring actually. I’m a one man operation here who is very passionate about what I do, and I can see how passionate Paul is. Which makes what I do, a heck of a lot more exciting.

Thanks for reading.

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WRIST 7 1/2″ for reference:

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Watch Review: Lum-Tec Abyss 600

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Company: Lum-Tec

Website:

About:

Model: Abyss 600m-1

Specifications:

48mm width excluding crown(available in a 42mm case aka  (Abyss 400M)
24mm lug width
14mm thick
Weight on leather strap 155g/5.5oz.
316L Stainless steel case
Bead blasted titanium carbide PVD (titanium color)
Sapphire crystal with double side clear anti-reflective coating
Screw lock crown with double diamond sealing system
MDV Technology C3 luminous with matte black CNC cutout dial
Threaded solid 316L stainless steel caseback
600 meters/1980 ft. water resistance
Black leather strap. 24/22 size
Extra springbars included for fitting other straps
Ultra precision tuned 28,800 BPH Miyota 9015 Japan automatic movement with hand winding and hack feature
One year limited warranty
Limited numbered series of 150
Free lifetime timing adjustments

For starters, I have to say that it’s pretty amazing having a watch company right in your backyard. Lum-Tec isn’t literally in my backyard, but they are pretty darn close to home. Lum-Tec is known for making some pretty awesome, no nonsense style of watches. I enjoy a watch that embraces the unique without sacrificing function or quality. I also enjoy a watch that can handle adventure. A watch that can keep up with my active outdoors lifestyle. I spend a lot of time in the water and climbing/hiking/exploring, so it’s very reassuring when I know the watch on my wrist can handle it. In the past my experience with Lum-Tec watches has been a very positive one. None have failed my expectations nor has one failed my field tests. Today, I take a look at the Abyss 600m-1 to see if it too can pass my tests.

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The case of the Abyss is very hard to ignore which comes in at 48mm excluding the crown. The large case has a great color as well which is due to the bead blasted titanium carbide PVD. It has an almost patina look to it. It’s actually quite awesome looking and makes the watch have a cool aged look from the get-go. The color and case design gives the Abyss a 20,000 leagues under the sea feel to it. The large crown is just fantastic. The gear edges make screwing/unscrewing very easy to grip and perform. It’s signed with the Lum-Tec logo. The crown is large, but thanks to its flat design it doesn’t dig into the wrist or hand. The crown is smooth as butter when you use it to wind it, set the date and time.

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The case itself has some nice little accent details going on. If you notice the flathead screw heads on the sides of the lugs that appear to hold the lugs on the case. These look fantastic, and I know at this price point I expect too much, but I wish these screws were actually functional and not just for appearance purposes. It would be really cool if you unscrewed these screws and remove the watch from the case set. The same came be said for the hex heads on the drilled lugs, they are also for decoration purposes as the straps are held in place by spring bars. These are the only nit picky things I could find on the Abyss.

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The stainless steel screw down case back has the Lum-Tec logo nicely engraved on the back. I love this case back and I am so glad they went with solid vs. exhibition. This eliminates an extra unecessary failure point. A solid case back can hold up better under the pressures of the sea if done correctly. The lugs are curved beautifully and allow this 48mm beast wear comfortably on the wrist. I love watches in the 45mm-52mm range if they are done right, like the Abyss here. The larger case gives way to the awesome dial on this watch.

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The matte black dial is absolutely stunning. The sandwich style dial features some of the coolest stenciled numerals I have seen in a long time. The numerals are large and extremely easy to read, no matter what kind of lighting you are in. What I really like about this is how the minute track is set up. It’s set up in sections and they are located on the lower layer of the sandwich dial. The minute track is broken up by the main numerals 12,3,6,9. So the minutes appear inbetween the hour and are in sections of 5. I have never seen a dial quite like this and I really like the break in normalcy.

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The skeleton hands on the Abyss are real vintage beauty. And by vintage I mean when your in the dark you get an old school radium treat. This watch truly lives up to the Lum-Tec name when you see it glow in the pitch black night. It’s like a flashlight and that’s no exaggeration. It lasts for hours too, none of that fades away in minutes disappointment here. I love the contrast of the old radium glow of the hands set with the radiant glow of the numerals. I found myself staring at the dial until I fell asleep. Yes I sleep with watches on. Why? Because it’s the best time to test lume. Fully charge before climbing into bed and when you wake up in the middle of the night you can chart on the lume quality after hours past the initial charge.

Ticking away inside this beauty is an ultra precision tuned 28,800 BPH Miyota 9015 Japan automatic movement with hand winding and hack feature. A real workhorse of a movement that won’t disappoint and is as reliable as its ETA counterparts. This movement also has a date function which the window is located at the 4 o’clock position. The date window looks great with the round border and the black wheel with white numerals. The dial features some some text as well that’s well done, simple and looks great.

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The Lum-Tec Abyss 600 is a winner in my book. It’s got a awesome styled case, a killer dial, with unrivaled lume. The watch is really accurate to keeping +6 seconds per day. I put this watch through the paces too, no sissy play here either. This watch survived countless hours in the ocean without any saltwater damage. It went through some great climbing as well. It banged against quite a few cliffs and came away scratch/dent free. Even the flat sapphire crystal made it through just fine.

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The color of this case is unique and it adds to that cool vintage vide that exudes from the Abyss 600. Like I mentioned before, it has that 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea feel to it. I would love to see a cool engraved old school divers helmet or octopus on the case back of this watch. It would continue the theme brilliantly. The black leather strap fits this watch perfectly. Eye for detail without a doubt because even the color of the buckle matches perfectly with the color of this case. The leather is smooth, soft and hugs the wrist like a champ. This watch is so comfortable to wear. I put the watch on a NATO strap and the combo looks equally as good.

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You definitely won’t be disappointed by the Abyss 600. Now if the 48mm case is too big for your preference, you are in luck. Lum-Tec offers the same amazing watch in a in 42mm size (Abyss 400M).  The Abyss is my personal favorite Lum-Tec to date. It has plenty of unique personality and enough toughness to keep up with my love of the great outdoors. I know Chris loves outdoor adventures and it is truly transparent in his watches. I want to personally thank Chris for this honor and opportunity to put the Abyss through some abuse. It obviosouusly passed with flying colors. The pictures are a testament of that. All the pictures were taken AFTER the outdoor trials.

Thanks for reading.

Wrist size 7 1/2″ for reference.

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