Hands-On With The Subdelta Ace MK2 Black & Ace MK2 Blue Destro
A pair of rugged tool-watches from upcoming German brand Subdelta.
Subdelta is new to MONOCHROME and has a Dutch connection and an interesting backstory. The brand started as a project on the largest Dutch watch forum, Horlogeforum.nl, and found a small but loyal following quite quickly. Aiming to branch out, Subdelta is now introducing a properly robust pilot watch collection with serious specifications. And to present something interesting along the way, it comes in a Destro version as well! Today we’re going into details on the Subdelta Ace MK2 Black and Ace MK2 Blue Destro.
Subdelta has a relatively short but interesting history of making pilot’s inspired watches on a small scale. The first product to emerge was the P1lot One, based on the simple yet reliable ETA 6498, set in a grade 5 titanium case with the crown on the left. It was made exclusively for Horlogeforum.nl, the largest Dutch watch forum. What followed were more aviation-inspired collections like the Subdelta Ace (below, left), with a bold dial and the crown on the left. The Subdelta Quattro (below, right) had a single hand revolving once every 12 hours, was the last model to emerge before this Ace MK2 collection and limited to 50 pieces only. This hand-wound watch could be worn with the crown on the left or on the right, and on the left or right wrist, hence the “Quattro” (4 ways).
Subdelta has since changed ownership and has been hard at work to create the Ace Mk2 collection, a pilot’s watch with seriously impressive specifications. Subdelta uses German U-boat steel for the case, for instance, hardened to 1,300HV through the brand’s proprietary HARDCOR SHIELD technology. In comparison, this is about 6 times the hardness of regular stainless steel used in watchmaking.
The case measures 42mm in diameter and 12mm in height, which seems quite ok for this style of watch. The lug to lug is on the larger side, at 49,5mm. Regardless, the watch never felt too large on my wrist (approx. 19cm in circumference). It has a screw-down crown and a more than adequate 200m of water-resistance.
Subdelta presents 2 different coloured dials, with each one being available in a Destro styled case too, with the crown on the left. The name “Destro” is derived from the Italian word for right, as most watches with the crown at 9 o’clock are easier for left-handed people, often wearing the watch on the right wrist. Of course, this isn’t mandatory, and you can wear any of these on either one of your wrists. The beauty of this is that you can opt for a style where the crown doesn’t dig into your wrist at all, regardless if you wear your watch on the right or left wrist.
The dial, available in matte black or a strong blue, is very clean and legible, as you’d expect from such a purpose-built watch. On the outside, there’s a minute track with straight markers, with larger ones at every five-minute increment. On top, there’s the familiar triangle and dots to quickly read the position of the hands under a challenging situation. On the inside of the track, double-digit numerals help to easily read the time even more.
The hour hand has a large, openworked triangular design, with a solid minute hand and a needle-like seconds hand to match. All indices and hands are given a very generous dose of BGW9 Grade X1 Super-LumiNova. As a result, the Subdelta Ace MK2 is almost as legible at night and is best not stored on a nightstand as it might keep you awake. Just one look at the image at the bottom of this article will tell you all you need to know about the “glow”.
Inside the Subdelta Ace MK2 ticks a modified version of the Sellita SW 200-1. This automatic calibre, an alternative to the ETA 2824 movements, is regulated in five positions for greater accuracy. It runs at a frequency of 28,800vph and provides 38 hours of power reserve. In this, it also offers hacking seconds for precise setting of the time. And since there’s no date, there’s also no phantom date setting position in the crown. The movement is shielded from view by the solid caseback with various inscriptions. Furthermore, a soft-iron inner case protects the movement from magnetic fields up to 1,000 Gauss.
The Subdelta Ace MK2 is worn on a pilot’s style strap, made from buffalo leather, in either black or brown. Although the straps are a bit stiff when first putting the watch on, they break in and become very comfortable quite quickly. The Subdelta Ace MK2 is priced quite reasonable, at EUR 1,099. Subdelta also offers various secondary straps or strap changing tools to complement your watch.
Handling these watches was quite the pleasure, as they feel like some of the most robust and rugged watches I have experienced in quite some time. There’s a bit of weight to them, it all feels very sturdy, it has excellent legibility (both during the day and during the night). To me, the specifications of the Subdelta Ace MK2 outperform those of some other tool-watches playing in this segment of the market. If you’re looking for a watch that can be seriously knocked around, this is a solid option for you to consider. And for those with a preference for a bit smaller sizes, a 40mm version is already being developed.
For more information, please visit Subdelta.com