There are a lot of microbrands out there, new ones popping up all the time in fact. So it goes without saying, just like most products, sometimes you will see some that look similar. While the DELTAt UMI is not a direct copy of anything, the case design is similar to some others out there on the market, though much more affordable. The brand that immediately pops into my mind is Heroic 18. If you look at those watches, and the case design specifically, I think you will see what I mean. Now, there could be some differences that I am not recognizing, and while similar they could be completely different molds. And it does say on the DELTAt website that it is a patented design, but whatever it is, I wanted to point out that I know similar case designs exist. With that said, let me get into the DELTAt UMI diver, and why I feel it is a nice watch, and could possibly be better with a few changes.
DELTAt UMI Specifications:
- 44mm Wide Case
- 53mm Lug to Lug
- 22mm Lug Width
- 15mm Thick
- Slightly Domed Sapphire Crystal
- 300 Meters Water Resistant
- Seiko NH35 Automatic Movement
Price $488 USD
The packaging is the first thing I would change, only because it takes up a lot of space in your closet. It is your standard pelican style waterproof case, and and it also comes with two extra straps besides the rubber I show it on. In the video and in the gallery below you can see the extra straps, one a Velcro nylon and the other a braided green paracord. While I know many people like to get extras these days, the straps really don’t make sense, at least not with this blue dial version, and overall the watch would be better with one good strap, though the textured rubber is okay for what it is, but more on that later. A simple presentation box and one good strap or bracelet would suffice in my opinion.
As I discussed above, the case design is not unfamiliar, but overall is finished very well, and not just for it’s price point. The all brushed case has no rough or sharp edges, the brush lines are not super fine, but it does not look like it was done on a belt sander in someone’s garage either. The crown is very easy to unscrew and disengage, and screws down extremely smooth. There is no resistance when doing this at all, which is a big plus. When it comes to the bezel, the action is nice, with firm clicks and no play, but it is somewhat hard to grip as their is nothing to grab onto on the edge of it, but rather lines cut into the bezel, which do not offer any grip at all. The DELTAt UMI is available in the all brushed stainless, and also a PVD coated version. Originally I thought the silver stainless version would be too sterile, but I found I like the look of it, as it does not look like every other dive watch out there.
As I spoke about in the video, the blue hue of the dial is not your radiant blue, though my camera does show it as such in some photos, due to the lighting. It is more of a subdued blue, almost a blue green. It is also a matte finish dial, and not sunburst, so don’t expect this blue to “pop” as some others do. The sandwich dial cutouts are nice and clean, and the dial is uncluttered, something I enjoy in a 3 hand dive watch. While it is not filled with text, I think the water resistant rating can be left to the back of the watch, and I would like to see the model name on the dial instead.
The DELTAt uses the Seiko NH35 automatic movement, a movement that I have discussed before many times. I have also discussed my dislike of exhibition case backs for dive watches in general, and with movements that are plain and undecorated. This is no exception here, but I will not harp on it again. We are seeing less Miyota 9015 movements right now, due to a long lead time for them, and also the price. So while the NH35 is not as smooth, it is acceptable , especially at the $488 price tag. I personally have no issues with it, though it is not the first movement I would choose either, but it gets the job done.
The textured natural rubber strap is comfortable, though I do not care for the meat tenderizer texture itself, a smooth rubber would have been my preference. I also noticed this example has a super strong vanilla scent, much in the same way Isofrane straps did a few years ago. I am used to it for the most part, but this one is very strong, make no mistake about it. Another issue is the strap is really short. I am in the third to last hole on my 7 ½ inch wrist, and that means that really anyone with a wrist larger than 7 ¾ inches is not going to be able to wear the provided strap.
Looking at the watch as whole, there are no major glaring issues, mostly just nitpicks from me. With the exception of the extra straps, nothing on the DELTAt feels cheap at all, and it is another solid offering from this company. If you have many microbrands, the UMI might not seem new or original, though I don’t think that is what they were trying for either. They wanted, at least in my mind, to offer a solid, affordable dive watch, in a variety of colors and dials, and they did just that. If I were to rate it quality wise, I would say it is very much on the same field as an Armida, though Armida has the upper hand when it comes to lume. Other than that though, it is a very capable watch, and if you are looking for an affordable, solid dive watch with a slightly familiar look, I don’t think you would be disappointed.