SUBDELTA ACE Pre-Flight Briefing 21


To all civilians,


Most of the times, prototyping is a serious matter. Sometimes it’s great fun though. Just wanted to show you a 3D printed plastic dummy of the case and a laserprinted paper dial. Just to fool around with and to make improvements really quickly with a felt tip pen. Don’t worry, these are no production-ready parts;-)

Last night, the technical SUBDELTA team gathered on an obscure location in the eastern part of the Netherlands, close to the German border. A suitable location for our watchmaker André  for his own HQ, that’s for sure. In these realms, there are absolutely no prying eyes, but just the four of us (Eddy – project lead, André – watchmaker, Michiel – engineer and myself). What went down there?

Just before we stop taking orders for the 2017 ACE, we wanted to discuss some new prototypes based on new drawings due to buyers’ feedback and a few ideas of our own. On that note: we take orders for the 2017 ACE until August 16. Should you place your order before August 1, you receive a very interesting Early Birds discount. To place your oder, please go here. You can add two products during checkout: a beautifully made silver ZULU strap and/or a handmade, waxed Martexin canvas watchroll.

Michiel was asked by the design team to come up with a redesigned buckle, that would be a bit beefier and more compelling than the prototype we had so far. Please have a look at these sketches:


The bevels will be somewhat larger and 30 degrees instead of 45, so they’ll be more pronounced and easier to spot. The current triangular-shaped buckle plate will be improved to avoid it sticking out too much, as is the case with the current prototype.

The SUBDELTA letters will be etched through entirely (read: the entire letters will be omitted from the titanium, much like the upper dial in the sandwiched dial construction). This really adds to the SUBDELTA hallmark. Great idea, Michiel, and we can’t wait for that prototype after the summer holidays.

Michiel and André redesigned the case based on the input they got from future owners and the design team, who saw and wore the prototype of the ACE while it was on three-month world tour in the States, Singapore, Hong Kong and Switzerland. Was – because it has re-entered Dutch airspace just a week-and-a-half ago. Thanks everybody for taking the time to wear and review the ACE and for giving us your feedback. Together we’ll make the perfect pilot’s watch.

Stainless steel prototype of the new case – longer lugs and overall more elegant

Eddy put two new prototypes of the case and its screw-on caseback on the table, based on these improved drawings. He had them made out of stainless steel by our new Dutch hardware supplier, because that’s easier to ply, mill and sand. And honestly – not a bad call.


The stainless steel version was nearly perfectly made without having been treated at all yet. In fact, according to André, it’s pretty much of the same quality most famous brands come up with. André should know, because he has seen many a famous watch brand’s case come out of the factory in the 30+ years he’s in the trade.

Everybody is very impressed and have no more improvements. Even the upper sapphire crystal fits like a glove and there are no gaps or flanges between case and crystal. A perfect fit. Please note the end result will be forged out of grade 5 titanium of course, and not out of stainless steel. We might make future models out of stainless steel though, because we really really like the weight, look & feel of this versatile material.

Left: prototype. Right: new prototype case in stainless steel (lug-to-lug from 52 to 54 mm)
No beveled lugs (yet) on the prototype on the right and still some rough edges.
Left: famous brother 😉
Please note: the stainless steel prototype case still has some unattended rough edges, just got out of the mill.


As you can see, this new case is a tad longer (+2 mm), which makes the package a lot more elegant, less bulky in a way. It’s a logical improvement compared to the current prototype (left).

+2 mm lugs in total means there’s more space for a thick leather strap to move around.
The interior where all parts will be fixed on are flawless already, no finishing needed!

Eddy had a special stainless steel tool made by our new Dutch case supplier, which enables André to open and close the screw-on casebacks of the ACE really efficiently and – better still – scratch-free. All pins fit on the cavities in the caseback brilliantly. A great tool for future needs and boy, it’s heavy too.


Well, what’s the prototype on the left in the image hereunder? It’s a 3D printed titanium case. At SUBDELTA, we’re investigating new technologies all the time and this time we tried a couple of 3D printed titanium cases. Although they can be made in various finishings, they’re quite rough to look at right now. Maybe we’ll never use 3D printed titanium cases, maybe we will, but for now let’s stick to the current production techniques, shall we?


Finally, we’re proud to mention Singapore Watch Xchange SWX has placed an article on the ACE. Fratello Watches will cover the ACE once they receive the current prototype. It was sent to them today. Thanks guys for helping out and spreading the SUBDELTA word!

Have a great week-end and if you’re on holiday (or about to go): enjoy the good times and please be safe…

Over & out