Like our original LUME WARS! series on YouTube, WATCH WARS! is a column at KeepTheTime where we take two random watches and put them side-by-side. Sometimes you need to see one watch next to something else to really get a sense of what it has or doesn’t have.
Today, we’re taking a look at two traditional onion crown flieger watches that may look alike from a distance, but are totally different upon closer review.
Dreyfuss 1924 Seafarer VS DELTAt SoRa WWII (Type AS)
Both of these pilot watches are big, bold and easy to read. As you can imagine, legibility is an important attribute to a pilot watch.
Another characteristic of traditional pilot watches (aka flieger watches) is the oversize “onion” style crowns.
Although many watch enthusiasts think an onion crown looks great, the large knob-like element serves a purpose: easy winding and setting with gloves on.
This is also why many modern fliegers happen to be powered by manual-wind mechanical movements such as the ETA/Unitas 6497/6498, because they pay homage to the original timepieces worn by pilots.
Only one of the watches in this comparison has a manual wind movement: the Dreyfuss 1924 Seafarer. The movement that is in this watch is based on an Eterna caliber 39. It is Swiss made with 20 jewels and a power reserve of 65 hours when fully wound. Learn everything about this caliber here.
The DELTAt SoRa WWII is powered by a self-winding automatic movement. The Seiko caliber NH35A inside is one of the most popular movements among the microbrand watch industry. It is made in Japan with 24 jewels and a power reserve of 41 hours. Read more here.
|Dreyfuss Seafarer||DELTAt SoRa WWII|
|Caliber||Eterna 39||SII NH35A|
|Case||Stainless steel||Stainless steel|
|Dial||Black Arabic||Black Arabic|
|Crystal||Sapphire, flat with AR||Sapphire, flat with AR coating|
|Band||Black croc style strap with white stitching||Brown leather with white stitching, black pilot strap|
Although the case measurements are not too far apart on the chart above, and both pieces are stainless steel with a satin finish, the designs are quite different. The Dreyfuss slopes upwards in a bowl-like shape, with a horizontal brushed finish that follows the curves of the case. The DELTAt case is more flat from the bottom to the top, with a vertical brushed finish.
The lugs on the Dreyfuss are lower than the case by about 0.5mm and the DELTAt lugs are higher by the same amount. Both have a 22mm lug-width, however, the Dreyfuss has screwbars and the DELTAt has quick release springbars. This is convenient to switch to the extra straps that come with the kit.
The Dreyfuss crown, bezel, and screws on the lugs are polished. The fit and finish of the Dreyfuss Seafarer feels higher quality thanks to this contrast in finish. The polished bezel adds a chamfered look to the case and distinguishes the piece from the tool watch feel of the DELTAt. The Seafarer is definitely more dressy.
From the pics, you can see that the crown on the DELTAt looks bigger. The specs above confirm that this is indeed the case. The onion crown on the DELTAt add about 6mm to the overall width of the watch. It is a true onion crown compared to the more flat 3mm on the Dreyfuss.
Both fliegers have black dials with Arabic markers. The Dreyfuss is flashier with a glossy dial and applied markers that have a silver stroke, making them pop more. The DELTAt is more subdued with a matte black dial and painted markers. Legibility is key with a proper flieger and this pair of pilots can boast the trait equally.
But how about legibility in low light conditions? When put to the test, both watches had no problem and give off beautiful lumeshots. The main difference is that the DELTAt has more lume, on the chapter ring and seconds hand for example. More lume isn’t for everyone, but if you a connoisseur of the glow, then neither piece will disappoint.
As for the font used for the Arabic markers. The Dreyfuss has more character and is truer to other popular fliegers like the Zenith Pilot Type 20. The DELTAt chose to keep it simple with a more modern sans serif font (they also made these SoRa fliegers with the other font if you prefer it).
On the wrist, it’s easy to see how two of the same style of watch can be so different. Keep in mind the notes from above: the Dreyfuss is dressier with more attention paid to fit and finish, and the DELTAt is a bona fide tool watch like the fliegers of the past. Which one would a WWII solider have had on the wrist? The DELTAt for sure.
At $1,595 the Dreyfuss Seafarer retails for 3 times the DELTAt SoRa WWII’s price of $450. The Dreyfuss is a Swiss mechanical vs. the DELTAt’s made in Japan auto. The Dreyfuss has a higher level of fit and finish. The DELTAt includes a hard case with 2 extra straps and a dog tag for the warranty card.
Both are beautiful microbrand watches and are priced according to their offerings, but it’s hard to pass up the DELTAt as an affordable flieger. When price scanning the Dreyfuss, be sure not to mix this model up with the lower priced sub $500 quartz models that are available.
Which one would you go for?? Leave a comment below!
Check the Dreyfuss site at dreyfussandco.com and find the 1924 Seafarer in the KTT watch shop here. Check out DELTAt here and find the SoRa WWII in our shop here.