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McDowell Time Delray
I admire new watch companies trying to make a footprint in a rather saturated industry. Every time I turn around someone else is trying to release a new watch on Kickstarter or other outlets. The problem regardless of the outlet utilized is incredibly hit or miss as far as making any sort of impact. Tired designs and lack of anything even remotely refreshing many times just leads me to want to close my eyes and only have interest with what the tried and true watch brands that have been around for years are doing. The Delray from McDowell Time definitely turned my head. While the design and specifications may not be ground-breaking, the combination of the great specs and reasonable price should certainly draw a ton of interest. The watch model comes in several different dial colors and a couple of case finishes so if the version that is the focus of this review doesn’t spark your fancy check out the others at their website.
McDowell Time Delray Spefications:
- Case – 316L Stainless Steel in Polished or PVD Black
- Case Width – 44MM
- Lug Width – 22MM
- Thickness – 11MM
- Lug to Lug – 51MM
- Crystal – Sapphire Crystal with Anti-Reflective Coating
- Movement – Seiko Epson YT57 Auto-Quartz (Kinetic)
- Hands – Classic Styling with C3 Super-LumiNova
- Water Resistance – 10ATM
- Warranty – 24 Months
I feel mentioning the areas which could be improved upon with the watch is the easiest place to start. The straps and the display case back of the McDowell Time Delray are the two areas, at least in my humble opinion, needing some extra attention. I have a 7 ¾ inch wrist and have been quite spoiled over the years reviewing and enjoying hundreds of custom leather straps. So guess what? I have come to expect watch companies to concentrate heavily on the quality and sizing of their straps. Too many companies let the straps or bracelets become an afterthought and just simply throw something together. Not good, ever!!! The McDowell Time Delray straps are either for the most part too short or uncomfortable out of the box. The brown leather strap you will see in the photos, while made well, is extremely stiff and slightly short. After it breaks in a bit I’m sure it will be more comfortable but still would not consider keeping it on the Delray for any length of time. The nylon strap options are well made but guess what? Short. If you have a 7 ¼ inch wrist and under both the leather and nylon straps will probably be more than satisfactory. The NATO straps are going to work well for everyone if you like that sort of strap. The leather and nylon straps also taper. Some people may not care about taper but personally I’m not a fan. Give me 22/22mm straps for this watch with adequate length then we are talking.
I know the purpose of a display case back, but I I think I might have just seen too many these days. Besides the owner, who is wearing the watch most times, nobody else is going to see the case back. I can understand if you have a highly decorated top grade ETA or some sort of custom automatic that one might have the desire for a display back in order to show off the complexity and beauty of the movement to family and friends. While the Delray has a very cool Seiko Epson YT57 Auto-Quartz (Kinetic) is anyone really interested in seeing it? I would have much preferred some sort of highly stamped case back in this instance. Deal breakers? Of course not, just pet peeves of mine. I’ll throw a custom strap on the McDowell Time Delray at some point and don’t plan on showing off the case back.
So, what do I like about the McDowell Time Delray? Let’s start with the price point being an outstanding value in my book. What makes the watch a great value at $295 USD? A combination of the specifications and components make the watch a great value. As I mentioned previously the overall watch design is not ground-breaking, however, the Delray has the aesthetic appeal of a vintage watch combined with many modern components. McDowell Time has produced both a high polished and a black PVD coated case both made of stainless steel. I have to admit I wasn’t sure how I would feel about the wire style lugs as I was worried if the strap to lug would be seamless or if I’d end up catching one of the spring bars on something. The straps that come with the Delray have adequate width so no worries about how the strap to lug appears. The wire lug design allows for super easy strap changes and no worries about marking up the underside of the case. I like the 8mm signed crown as it has a different design than what is found on many watches. The crown is perfectly proportionate in size with the 44mm case, not too big and not too small.
Sitting atop the case, regardless of the version, is a very clear sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating. The dial options are all very nice but the blue caught my eye. Nothing flashy just a very nice shade of blue. If you want bright lume the blue and black dials provide the most so please keep that in mind. The lume on all the models is C3 superluminova which is great feature that will glow for hours with an adequate charge so no worries about having this watch in darkened conditions. While I do not consider the McDowell Time Delray a watch where lume is necessary, I have to admit that I am quite pleased with the level of lume application.
The McDowell Time Delray is powered by a Seiko Epson YT57 Auto-Quartz (Kinetic). Not a fancy movement but nonetheless rather cool. I’m pleased with the choice compared to so many companies lately either using the Miyota 8215 or some form of an NH movement. While I am always going to prefer a Miyota 9015 or some sort of ETA or Sellita, I have nothing negative to say about this hybrid movement as it is a nice change of pace. The movement has also been highly accurate as I have not been able to notice any deviation at all. The only aspect of this movement that may be a turnoff for some is that it ticks like a standard quartz movement rather than having a smoother sweep found with automatic movements.
If you are looking for something a bit different you really can’t go wrong with the McDowell Time Delray. The watch provides an aesthetically appealing case design, great looking dial, sapphire crystal and a hybrid Seiko automatic-quartz movement. Also, strap options galore regardless of the shortcomings in that area no pun intended. Last but not least, it is assembled in the USA. I highly doubt you will be able to find a watch with this design and overall specifications at a better price. I am truly pleased with the overall great value that the McDowell Time Delray provides. Solid footprint in a highly saturated industry and I look forward to seeing what they come up with next.