As most of you know I am collecting watches for more than 40 years. My odyssey started with a 1940s Rolex Precision which I bought on a flea market in Mainz. It didn’t take long and I bought a Fortis Pilot, my first “Flieger“. I was so excited that the next purchase was another Fortis Pilot, this time a 36mm pilot’s watch for my wife.
For the past 20 years, I have been fortunate to be able to travel and attend watch events like Baselworld, Inhorgenta, Munichtime, Watchtime Düsseldorf. I payed countless visits to watch makers and manufacturers, wrote a lot about watches here and there, especially about those Made in Germany, became a moderator on WatchUSeek in 2001 and stayed for almost 20 years.
But over the years, my passion has always been pilot’s watches, whether chronographs or simple three-hand “Flieger“, B-Uhren of Baumuster A or Baumuster B, and so it is certainly not surprising that my watch collection consists largely of pilot’s watches. After resigning as a moderator on WUS in 2020 I spend more time on my passion.I’ve been involved in some FliegerFriday special editions, such as the Tutima FF Chronograph with NOS Valjoux 7760, the Hanhart FF Chronograph and the Dekla Bronze FF edition. “Fliegers“ are still en vogue.
DEVELOPED IN HENGELO/NL and MADE IN GERMANY
Anyway, last year, May 2021, 8 month ago though, I came across an Instagram post announcing the SUBDELTA Ace MK2. This announcement was reason enough to take a closer look at the brand and the watch, and I quickly learned that I had known the man behind SUBDELTA for quite some time.
I had met Lennart Buiks on watch events like the Aurochronos Festival in Lodz and the Watchtime Düsseldorf.
Sure, when examining the Ace MK 2 it clearly is a pilot’s watch, but refreshingly different and contemporary in appearance. I also immediately was intrigued by the Damasko‘ish / Dekla‘ish case design.
Looking closer at the SUBDELTA Ace MK 2 and the Dekla Turbulenz 42 I am almost sure the new SUBDELTA is Dekla’ish, especially when you look at the case backs.
Some watch aficionados on Instagram (@the_watch_architect, @ob1shotthis) also came think that the SUBDELTA Ace MK 2 case might have been made by Dekla. I think there is some truth in it. However, it should be noted that Dekla hasn’t used submarine steel (yet). Anyway, case fit and finish is convincing, more on that later.
I contacted Lennart, some emails and IG PM’s were exchanged, and here it is – the SUBDELTA Ace MK2 Blue Destro.
The history of the company is not long and is therefore quickly told. SUBDELTA is owned by Lennart Buiks, a Dutch citizen with strong links to Germany and even stronger links to SQUALE.
SUBDELTA already made some „Flieger“ inspired watches in smaller runs. The first one was the P1lot One, based on the ETA/Unitas 6498, featuring a grade 5 titanium case with the crown on the left. Subdelta Ace (sandwich dial) and Subdelta Quattro 8one-hand-watch) followed the P1lot One.
In May 2021 SUBDELTA announced their new Ace MK 2, a properly robust pilot watch collection with interesting specifications.
Let’s start with the specs of the new kid on the block:
- Automatic Swiss Sellita SW200-1 Spécial (= Elaboré grade), 28.800 bph, 26 jewels, 38 hrs power reserve
- No-date version (no phantom date click)
- Submarine stainless steel
- Hardcore shield, surface hardened up to 1300 HV
- Antimagnetic up to 1000 Gauss, soft iron inner cage
- 20 ATM / 200m water resistance
- Screw down crown, left
- Double domed sapphire crystal with inside anti-reflective coating
- Diameter: 42.00 mm
- 50 mm lug to lug
- Height: 12 mm
- Lug width: 20 mm
DIAL, HANDS & NUMERALS
- Strong but light blue dial
- Highly luminous indexes and hands
- Superluminova BGW9 Grade X1
- German made buffalo leather strap (RIOS1931), padded, double stitched (two colours), 22/20 mm, pin buckle with SUBDELTA logo, „Chronissimo“ look
- Nato straps in black and blue with laser engraved SUBDELTA logo
- 103 gr
The SUBDELTA Ace MK 2 ist available in two 2 different coloured dials, each being available in a „Destro” version (crown on the left) as well. My first “Destro”.
“Destro“ watches with the crown at 9 on the left are said to be easier to operate for left-handed people, often wearing the watch on the right wrist. Thats’s what I do since 1976 but to be honest, even as a left-handed guy I had to get used to my first “Destro“. Anyway, vive la différence.
The case dimensions are on the larger side, 42mm in diameter, 12mm in height and L2L is 50mm. With these specs the SUBDELTA Ace MK2 is in good company with some other watches I own
Dekla Turbulenz: 42 / 12 (11,7) / 50 (49,6)
Stowa TO 2: 43 / 12,8 / 51
Damasko DA 343: 42 / 13 /49
Laco Leipzig: 42 / 12,8 / 50
Davosa North Pole: 42 / 12,5 / 48,3
Lug width is 22 mm, which imho is quite ok. From the watches mentioned above only the Stowa TO 2 has a lug width of 24mm, the 42mm Laco Leipzig features a lug width of 20mm. All in all the dimensions expressly underline the the tool watch character of the Ace MK 2.
Further details should not be withheld, the Ace MK 2 features a screw-down crown which is easy to operate and is rated 200m water-resistant, both not unimportant for many people interested in tool/pilots watches.
The crown is engraved with the SUBDELTA logo, a pointing down arrow in a triangle, somehow a repetition of the minute hand.
The SUBDELTA Ace MK2 is fitted with a 26 jewels automatic Sellita SW 200-1. The SUBDELTA Sellita is adjusted to five positions to warrant a better accuracy.
Nice to know: SUBDELTA watches are regulated in 5 positions with the aim of ensuring a maximum deviation of -5 / + 5 seconds / per day (24 hrs).
It also offers “hacking“ for the ease of precise time setting. And, important to some of us, this SW 200-1 has no date indication and there is no phantom date setting position when operating the crown.
As already known from other manufacturers (i.e. Damasko and Archimede), the movement is protected by an inner soft iron cage to protect the movement from magnetic fields up to 1,000 Gauss.
The solid case back is screwed, some technical information are engraved. I already mentioned that the case and casebook look DEKLA’ish to me. The picture I added tells you why.
Dials are available in black and blue. The blue of the Ace MK 2 dial is similar to the Damasko DS 30 Oceanblue, close to RAL 5002 Ultramarine Blue. Depending on the light conditions the blue changes from light to dark.
As you would expect from a “Flieger“, the time can be read very easily and quickly at all times, a watch for night owls. And, another must have for a “Flieger“ watch, there’s the triangle with two dots at 12. The triangle however is a bit different to the full triangles we usually see on Flieger watches. It is an open triangle like the “delta“ (Δέλτα) we know from the Greek alphabet.
The minute markers cannot be overlooked, they are all well proportioned. Larger ones mark the five-minute increments. On top, double-digit numerals, like you may have seen on N.B. Yäeger or Meistersinger watch dials, make the Ace MK2 perfectly readable.
Whilst the minute hand is something we have already seen on various pilot’s watches the hour hand design is something unique. The hour hand looks like an open arrow-head. The minute hand makes the SUBDELTA Ace MK 2 highly recognizable, a benifical difference to other pilot’s watches.
All numerals, minute markers and hands are coated BGW9 Grade X1 Super-Luminova.
The SUBDELTA Ace MK2 comes with a RIOS 1931 “chronissimo“ like brown buffalo leather strap with double stitching (model 207 Performance, 120/92mm) and pin buckle with SUBDELTA logo. Alternatively SUBDELTA offers a variety of other straps, for example black or blue Nato straps with matt stainless steel hardware. One stainless steel loop is engraved with “SUBDELTA“.
It should be mentioned that SUBDELTA offers some other interesting accessories as well, for example a black metal strap tool with orange travel pouch or a brown leather travel pouch (1 watch) made by a Dutch manufacturer (www.watchpouch.nl).
With €1099 the SUBDELTA Ace MK2 is competitively priced. For your money you’ll get a proper tool-watch, thanks to a surface hardening process the case is sturdy, rough and reliable and will withstands some hits.
The Ace MK2 provides an excellent legibility, both at day and night. This watch can easily compete with similar priced watch from Dekla and higher priced watches from Sinn or Damasko.
Pics © Mike Stuffler
For Dutch readers there’s a review on horlogeforum.nl:
NA; review van de Subdelta Ace Mk2
For those living close to the Dutch-German border SUBDELTA has a showroom in Bad Bentheim which is worth a visit or a day trip. Meanwhile SUBDELTA has built up a small but fine network of dealers in NL, DK, UK, NOR, PL, ÖS, CYP and Germany. Negotiations with interested deltas in US and Far EAST have started.