HANDS-ON: The Delma Montego is a bold chronograph with plenty of macho swaggerFergus Nash
A company had to muster real tenacity to make it through the Quartz Crisis, but Delma managed to thrive instead of survive during those tough years, continuing to honour the art of traditional mechanical watchmaking. Despite this, they’re not talked about as much as they perhaps deserve to be, and so we’ve been taking a closer look at their collections. In addition to the Cayman Bronze and the Quattro released earlier this year, the Delma Montego offers an impressively strong sports chronograph.
The main thing that surprised me about the Delma Montego is how unashamedly bold its design is. It doesn’t quite have the same masculine bravado as a 1980s Schwarzenegger action movie, but it’s definitely a more refined version of that attitude. The three chronograph subdial registers are surrounded by brightly brushed rings that almost glow with a chrome sheen, giving off hints of a Fast and the Furious kind of energy contained within a very stern style. The hands also aid this, with a mix between sharpness and thickness that finds the best mix of legibility and on-theme looks. Usually a watch dial’s colour affects the personality quite a lot, however the Delma Montego retains its stoicism even in white, blue, or green.
Delma’s logo sits above the ever-useful day-date complication, and features the five-pointed crown which entered their catalogue around the late 1960s. It may not be the five-pointed crown that we’re used to referencing, but it definitely suits the style of the watch and the attitude of the brand. Smaller details, such as the chequered minute track around the dial’s perimeter, add to the edge of the watch and give it some motorsport spirit. The trapezoidal hour markers are fairly aggressive too, and filled with green lume to contrast the blue lume of the hands. This is a welcome addition, considering that lume is an afterthought for most chronographs.
The larger-than-life attitude of the Delma Montego continues with the case, but thankfully that’s only in spirit and not in dimensions. The lugs slope down from the sides to a squared-off lug tip, then integrating with the bracelet-end links wonderfully to create a chunky, wedge profile. The surface is largely brushed vertically, but the chamfered edge is polished to give the watch a somewhat refined outline. The bezel is really quite wide, which has the compound effect of improving the tachymeter’s legibility as well as furthering that beefy persona.
In terms of specs, of course the Delma Montego doesn’t disappoint. Screw-down pushers and crown ensure that the 200m of water resistance stays secure, and in conjunction with the lume makes this a perfectly capable dive watch. It’s 42mm in diameter, but the 49mm lug-to-lug keeps it wearable for the average wrist or somebody smaller who doesn’t mind a bit of extra heft on their arm. In terms of thickness, you won’t be sliding any cuffs over it at 16.2mm, but an automatic chronograph with good water resistance was never going to be slender.
If you know your movements, you’ll have guessed the Delma Montego’s movement already. The triple-register layout alongside the day-date complication and case thickness are all hallmarks of the ubiquitous Valjoux/ETA 7750, which the Delma Montego uses without any adulterations. The 7750 was at its peak in the 1970s, as automatic chronographs became more affordable and stylish amongst sports watches to the point of saturation. Now, there are hundreds of spin-off movements, but the original is still a solid option. A 4Hz beat rate and 48 hours of power reserve aren’t impressive numbers in their own right, but the renowned reliability and affordable servicing is really what people love about these calibres.
The Delma Montego is offered on either a solid steel bracelet or a hybrid Cordura strap. The bracelet has a hint of Jubilee style, but ultimately serves the toughness of the watch overall. Polished centre links give an air of authority and charm, just enough to balance everything. The strap option is either black with red stitching, green, or blue to match the respective watches, and also has extra reinforcement around the pin holes. Considering that the cost is only 100 CHF extra to go for the bracelet, you may think the bracelet is the easy choice, but a 21mm lug width means that finding aftermarket options may be a little bit more difficult.
The Delma Montego pricing and availability:
The Delma Montego is available now from their website, and it comes in a lovely wooden presentation box. Price: 3,900 AUD (bracelet) / 3,750 AUD (strap)
|42mm x 49mm x 16.2mm
|Black, white, blue, green
|Steel bracelet or Cordura strap
|3,900 AUD (bracelet) / 3,750 AUD (strap)