By Jovan Krstevski
We at WristReview.com try to cover a wide range of watches and brands across many price points, and it is with this in mind that this article is about a watch, from a brand that you have most likely never heard of. Founded in 1924 in Lengnau, Switzerland, Delma remains a family company which has been successfully expanding worldwide, over the last few decades with its moderately priced watches, both quartz and mechanical.
The brand has a wide range of watches of which one collection, Santiago, that I am reviewing today. The Santiago range is for both men and women and includes this model – the Santiago Automatic Chronograph.
Chronographs in overall are some of the best-looking watches around. A complicated interior can bring many design aspects to an otherwise simple piece. Delma took full advantage of the face on their Santiago Automatic Chronograph watch but kept the outer design to a more clean, understated and classic look.
The Delma Santiago Automatic Chronograph comes in 45mm case, with alternating brushed and polished surfaces. The case is 17.5mm tall, due the thick 7750 movement, which is normal to a watch with this movement. To help obscure the thickness of the watch, Delma designers decided to use a larger lug size, which is typically smaller in other watches in this class. This provides the necessary “balance”.
The lugs are well shaped, with a decent downward sweep which follow the shape of the wrist, resulting in a real comfy fitting for your wrist. They also have a beveled top edge which breaks up the case, giving it a softer appearance. The small screwed-down crown and pushers are easy to operate. It has 3 position. First, is the safe position (closest to the casing) where you can manually wind the watch. The second position allows you to adjust the date and the third position (furthest from the casing) allows you to adjust the time. The shiny black anodized aluminium bezel has Arabic numbering in five minutes intervals. It is a unidirectional bezel, which is common for a diver’s watch like this one. It is comfortable to wear and it easily slips under shirt cuffs even with its tall case size. This makes it an all-rounder as it can also be used in a formal setting.
The Santiago Automatic Chronograph houses an ETA Valjoux 7750 chronograph caliber, an extremely popular movement used in the majority of mechanical chronograph watches on the market today. The movement offers an impressive 48 hour power reserve and beats at 28.800 per hour. It keeps the time well, and this movement has proven itself worthy as a workhorse movement thanks to its durabillity and precision.
Introduced almost 40 years ago, it is the most popular chronograph movement. The marvelous movement is really the standard for a great chronograph. No complaints on the 7750 and it is more than worth mentioning that Delma has chosen the Geneva striping on the rotor, which is a nice feature to the movement. A very nice touch to this watch that isn’t always seen on diver’s watch is that the movement can be seen through the open case back which looks great and it should be seen as it is put on display on this watch. With all this it is still water-resistant to 500m, which place the watch in the category as a serious diver’s watch.
The dial has good colour contrasts and is easy to read, even though it happens a lot in the dial, it has also a finishing that looks like honeycomb structure. This particular watch has the black dial which, is one of three that Delma offers in this collection. It is really the little things on the dial that make it look interesting. On top protecting the lovely black dial, you will find an anti-reflective sapphire glass. The sapphire glass is slightly raised and has a nice touch to the watch, becuse of its design. Personally, I prefer the watch without the magnifying cyclops for the date. But the coating is not enough to clean up all the reflection, and can be confusing sometimes in some lightning situations.
There’s something about the red and black contrast in watches; the watch has a thin red tip on centre hand as well as red hands for the subdials at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock, which goes very well together with. The red tipped centre hand is a nice touch as it provides a point of focus on the watch. In the dark it helps to have applied luminous markers, but the job the luminova does is mediocre. it fades off just after 30-40 minutes. It would have been great if they have chosen tritium tubes instead.
I didn’t have to shorten the bracelet or had the problem with it being too small for my big wrist. I spend a lot of time talking about straps and bracelets. And, I tend to be very picky about the way that they feel. The bracelet and clasp has a completely different feel than the rest of the watch, which is a problem for me. My opinion is that the clasp and bracelet needs to be of higher quality, to meet the standards with the rest of the watch.
As you can see in the picture above, the 22 mm bracelet of the Santiago Automatic Chronograph comes in two tone steel, it also comes with a diver’s extension. The bracelet uses the easy pin system which requires you no particular knowledge on sizing bracelets. Despite the size and thickness, the watch looks balanced on my wrist. The use of a 22 mm bracelet instead of the typical 20 mm was a smart move by Delma.
Overall, this watch is very pleasing to wear, look at, operate and it also has many features to explore. We definitely recommend it, and maybe this watch would have been the GMT Master if Rolex had designed a chronograph in their GMT collection, except for the GMT function. The Santiago Automatic Chronograph comes in four different versions and the pricing starting from USD3,400. I do have to agree with other watch enthusiasts that the price point Delma set for this watch is on the high side. Good looking, classic and timeless! You can find more information on delma.ch.
Jovan Krstevski – Founder, Proprietor & Executive Editor
Watch collector, aficionado and a Event profile in the Swedish nightlife. He launched Watchgeek back in 2011, which is now known as WristReview. He quotes ’WristReview is a site to help people find, explore, discover and enjoy wristwatches.’ His passion jump started in his early teens, when he was given his first mid-range wristwatch which was an Omega Seamaster. Since then he has always been in love with wristwatches!