Hands-on Delma Klondike Moonphase Automatic Chronograph – Resilient and Complicated

A bonanza of complications for landlubbers housed in a sturdy case.
calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Rebecca Doulton | ic_query_builder_black_24px 4 minute read

Delma has made a name for itself with its professional dive watches and surfaces to dry land with the Klondike Moonphase Automatic Chronograph packed to the gills with functions. Powered by a Valjoux 7751 movement, the comprehensive Klondike features a chronograph, a complete calendar including moon phases, a signature night/day complication and is water-resistant to 200m.

Origins

Not all of you might be familiar with Delma, especially if you are not a die-hard fan of dive watches. Founded in the 1920s, Delma produced its first chronograph in 1946 (with a movement by Landeron) and steered its future collections towards robust sports watches, with a focus on professional dive watches. Names like the Shell Star and the Blue Shark with its mighty 3,000m water-resistance will resonate among divers. The dressier Klondike collection made its first appearance in 1991 as a yearly limited edition mechanical watch in gold and platinum watch. I’m pretty sure the name of this collection was meant to be associated with the famous Klondike Gold Rush of1896. Since 2004 the Klondike is available in stainless steel.

A Bonanza of Complications

There is a lot going on with the Klondike. First, let’s take a look at the case. Both models have a diameter of 44mm and a case height of 15.3mm. Weighing in at 220g, the watch has an imposing presence on the wrist, no doubt about it. Tapping into the trend of two-tone watches, one model features a stainless steel and yellow gold PVD case and an integrated two-tone bracelet while the other model is housed in a stainless steel case. Displaying alternating brushed and polished surfaces, the rectangular chronograph pushers are nicely rounded and the crown is screwed-down to ensure the 200m water-resistance of this watch. That is a very decent water-resistance for a watch packed with so many complications. Turning the watch over, the screwed-down caseback features a crystal for a view of the Valjoux 7751 movement.

Deciphering the Dial

The Klondike Moonphase is available with either a black or a white dial and given the copious amount of information, let’s start from the periphery and work our way toward the centre. A date indicator is printed on the flange and the red-tipped hand (crescent-shaped moon) is used as a pointer. The next feature is a minute track made from tiny spheres to match the colour of the applied Arabic numerals on most parts of the dial. The remaining hours are indicated with rectangular markers with a strip of luminescence in the middle. Time is read by sword-shaped hands, also treated with a strip of luminescent material. Underneath the 12 o’clock marker is the 30-minute snailed chrono sub-dial with two apertures: one for the day of the week and the other for the month.

Moving counterclockwise, the small seconds register at 9 o’clock also houses the pride and joy of the Klondike: the night/day indicator. Instead of the conventional representation of a 24-hour clock or two contrasting colours, the Klondike features a poetic representation of a golden sun and Moon set against a blue sky twinkling with stars. The Moon gets a starring role on the Klondike and appears not once, but twice on the dial. Its second apparition is in the 12-hour sub-dial at 6 o’clock that also houses a moon phase complication.

Valjoux 7751

Delma has fitted the Klondike with the ultra-reliable automatic chronograph movement ETA/Valjoux 7751, the very same movement powering the Baume & Mercier Clifton Complete Calendar model that displays the date via a centrally-mounted hand and the day and month through apertures at 12 o’clock.  With a diameter of 30mm, the movement beats at 28,800vph and has a power reserve of 42 hours for the date, day, month, chronograph, hours, minutes, small seconds, night/day indication and moon phases. Delma has customised the movement with pearled bridges, blued screws and a rotor decorated with Geneva striping and the Delma brand.

Thoughts

It would be hard to ask for a more complete package, especially at this price. The surprising thing about the dressier Klondike is its innate resilience and robustness. With so many goodies under the hood, Delma has applied some of its sports/dive watch savoir-faire to the mix and provided the Klondike with a water-resistance of 200m, not bad at all for a watch of these characteristics. Perhaps the one thing that adds more ‘noise’ to the dial is the very large Delma logo and crown at 3 o’clock, but looking around the dial, there really isn’t anywhere else to put it.

Price

The two-tone steel and gold PVD Klondike with its matching metal bracelet retails for EUR 3,750, the steel Klondike on a black leather strap for EUR 3,550. Both versions of the Klondike are available with a choice of metal bracelet or leather strap. More information on www.delma.ch.

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