The SUBDELTA story
In 2014, a few Dutch watch aficionados met on Holland’s largest watch forum and shared what was to be a perfect pilot watch. It wasn’t long before they realised they were not alone. The result was a production of exactly 52 pieces of a watch named “P1lot One”, a hand-wound titanium “lefty” pilot’s watch built for a group of really passionate watch enthusiasts.
After redefining what horological passion really meant to them, some members of that group under founder Hans de Ree got together again for the next project – and that’s when SUBDELTA was born.
The first SUBDELTA watch
The first watch built under SUBDELTA was the 2016 Periscope, a one-hand 24-hour automatic piece, forged from bead-blasted grade 5 titanium and housing a bespoke movement from Russia. The matte hardware and day/night dial totally fitted in the submarine theme. It was built for 25 enthusiasts around the globe, referred to as “Commanders”. They all have their personal build number, which is engraved in the crown.
Being now built under SUBDELTA, nothing had changed from the spirit and quality of the “P1lot One”, as the watch was built to the highest standards and specifications defined by watch enthusiasts and a sharp pencil when it came to budgeting – cutting corners was not an option, neither was making a big profit a consideration.
What’s SUBDELTA up to now?
The 2017 project is called the “ACE”, a rugged, purpose-built tool-watch made out of grade 5 titanium and a dial providing maximum legibility day and night. The Swiss hand-wound re-engineered pocket-watch movement with central seconds hand and Swan Neck fine regulator can be seen through a sturdy sapphire crystal case back.
The prototype of this 2017 ACE was on a world tour, where it met future owners in the USA, Singapore, Hong Kong and Switzerland. The 2017 model is currently being procured and assembled. The latest iteration of this remarkable watch is a version of the 2017 ACE, but this time with a deep blue dial (hence the name Blue ACE) and a brushed/polished stainless steel case. It will be made in 30 copies only: 15 with a polished crown and 15 with a beadblasted crown, both in titanium.
SUBDELTA continues to redefine all the rules that make a brand, in an attempt to build that perfect timepiece, true to its origins.
SUBDELTA may be the new kid on the block, but its watches leave no doubt about quality and pedigree – just like the Periscope before, the ACE is unique and distinctively SUBDELTA. There is no fame in just copying another watch.
SUBDELTA watches are designed by the brand’s founder Hans de Ree in close collaboration with a team of passionate watch fans, namely the Swiss brothers Philipp and Daniel Piaz. Throughout the development of the project, the team received valuable input given by industry experts from Asia and Switzerland. All parties involved share a huge passion for watches – and many other good things in life, such as whiskey, cigars, wines and good food.
Over the course of regular and countless WhatsApp-, email- and FaceTime sessions as well as face-to-face meetings in Zurich and Amsterdam, many ideas came to life while others wouldn’t quite make it. Despite the geographical distance, the team forged a strong bond and fruitful collaboration where each individual would contribute based on its own strengths but in the end everybody’s input would be considered and discussed before agreeing on how to move a step further.
Many people might be able to design a watch, but fewer are actually able to properly build one. SUBDELTA’s passionate team of Dutch artisans were selected to do exactly that: contribute their best to make sure the quality of a SUBDELTA watch stands out. For instance, the engineer is a certified architect with a long track record in watch-making and restorations of vintage mechanical watches.
The assembler has been a certified watchmaker and repairer for over 30 years for brands like Rolex, Omega and Rado – his meticulous approach and near-sterile workshop ensure each SUBDELTA is spotlessly assembled, runs beautifully and will withstand at least 10 ATM of pressure, as well as underpressure. This is particularly important in case of sudden pressure drops during for instance flights. Finally the technical project leader has been working in the fine mechanics industry for his entire career and provides the perfect expertise to co-ordinate the many stages of production and assembly.
Hans de Ree
Hans is the founder of SUBDELTA handbuilt Dutch watches. He is responsible for … well for everything basically, except watch and strap making 😉
It’s not difficult to buy an expensive, famous brand watch (if you have the means, that is), but it’s far more difficult and interesting when you put in some effort to acquire something personal. Whatever its price tag, because you can wear a $ 50 Seiko or Swatch passionately too. Being also an active Horlogeforum.nl member since 2004, he has been a watch enthusiast for a long time.
Finally, Hans is one of the founders of the platform called Dutch Watch Professionals. Its main goal is to place Dutch microbrands and watch professionals under the floodlight. A bases where professionals can help eachother, too.