Review Of The DGT North American Chess Clock

Our Breakdown Of The DGT North American Chess Clock

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Table of Contents

The DGT North American is a popular clock in the chess community. 

We purchased it to check it out and do a full breakdown of what it has to offer. Sit tight to learn more.

Design and Build Quality

The North American is built with a compact and sturdy design. The edges are well-rounded and provide the clock with a firm grip.

It comes with the standard two-point lever that is very soft on the touch. This lever controls the time for both players.

The display on the North American is a single wide display that features the time of both players.

On the display screen are two king icons that show the sides of the white and black pieces. 

Underneath the display screen are easy-to-press button commands that’ll aid you in setting the clock. 

The switch button that powers it on and off is located at the bottom of the clock and is very easy to operate.

The overall matte finish of the clock ensures sturdiness during gameplay. 

Time Control Options

The DGT North American boasts of a wide range of time control options. 

You can choose between a diverse range that includes different versions of blitz like the 3+0 and 5+0 options. 

You can also play rapid games, and if you’re feeling like going head-to-head with your opponent in a long and heated battle, the classical time control format is also applicable. 

One unique feature of this clock is its Bonus and Delay function.  


The bonus system or increment is a time control option where, for each move played by both players after the first move, additional time (bonus time) is given.

This ensures that you don’t have to worry too much about running out of time, as is the case in games without increments.

So, if you’re a player who often gets into time trouble, the bonus option of the North American will come in handy. 


The delay option is an interesting feature of this clock. 

Unlike the bonus system where you get an increase after every move, your time freezes for a number of seconds in the delay system. 

Now, don’t get confused. Understanding the delay option is quite easy. 

When the delay option is selected, your clock does not start running until the delay interval has passed. 

So, let’s say you set a countdown delay of 6 seconds. There will be a delay of 6 seconds before your clock starts to count. 

For example, if your clock is on 20:23, meaning you have 20 minutes and 23 seconds, and the game is being played with a 6-second delay. This means that when your opponent plays their move and taps the clock, your clock doesn’t run the normal way (which is 20:22, 20:21…) rather, a 6-second period in which your clock freezes for 6 seconds is what happens.

This 6-second freeze is called the delay. During this freeze interval, the word “delay” blinks on your clock, and after 6 seconds, it begins to countdown in the normal fashion. 

This timing option allows you to think for longer periods than in a regular time system. 

Speed and Precision 

One thing we look out for in every chess clock is the speed at which it operates and its precision in calculating time. 

This clock does a pretty good job in terms of speed and precision. The advanced digital technology that was built into it ensures that each move is recorded precisely. 

This greatly reduces any possibility of a time-calculation error. 

Errors regarding time computing can greatly affect the game. And in competitive chess, any slight error could prove to be detrimental. 

Battery Life

The battery life of the DGT North American is another cool feature.

Although the clock requires two AA batteries, it maximizes energy efficiency, which in turn ensures that you are able to use the clock for extended gameplay on a single set of batteries.

This longevity is particularly valuable for tournaments and extended play sessions, where uninterrupted timekeeping is crucial.


Another excellent feature of the DGT North American is the connectivity.

If you’re a chess player who wants to incorporate a digital feel into your chess experience, then this clock will serve you well. 

The North American is compatible with many digital chess boards, meaning you can connect this clock to your chess board and have a digital feel to your games. 

What We Don’t Like 

Here are some things we were not so pleased with while checking out the DGT North American:

Sound Volume

While the buttons are very responsive, the sound volume is on the loud side. 

When setting up the clock, a loud click can be heard each time you press the buttons.  

This sound may be too loud for some players and may also cause a distraction in tournaments.  

Low Visibility in Sunlight

If you are a player who enjoys playing outdoors, you might find it difficult to see the display board under the sunlight rays. 

While the LCD display is generally clear and works perfectly indoors, it might pose some challenges under direct sunlight.  

Our Verdict 

The DGT North American is a pretty good clock for casual chess players who enjoy a diverse range of time formats. Its unique bonus and delay options can provide a new and interesting dynamic to your games. 

It’s also great for FIDE or USCF tournament players.  

This price looks a bit steep though but surely, you’ll get value for your money.

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