You would think that after decades of development and innovation, the dive watch would have reached a certain status that needs no more improvements. Sure, you can upgrade the depth rating or play around with the materials the design or colours, but that’s about it, right? The majority of dive watches end up looking more or less similar and follow the codes set by iconic divers like the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms and Rolex Submariner. But, as brands prove time and time again, there’s still room for growth and new technological solutions. Take for instance the Oris Aquis Depth Gauge, of which I happen to own the first-gen version. This uses a very simple and foolproof way to indicate the depth of your dive. Another fine example is the recently introduced Delma Quattro Limited Edition, which we will be taking a closer look at today. So without further ado, let’s dive straight into it!
Ever since Delma’s foundation in 1924 it has operated independently and is still owned and run by the same family. Back in 1969 it first dipped its toes into the water with the Periscope, the first dive watch to bear the Delma name. By 1975 Delma was ready to take it up a notch and introduced the Shell Star, a proper professional diving instrument, which serves as the inspiration for the present-day Shell Star (albeit with a new design). Forward another couple of years and Delma launched the Quattro, developed in collaboration with Swiss Divers Watches, and powered by a quartz movement. This is the starting point for the Delma Quattro as launched a couple of months ago.
It’s clear from the images the Delma Quattro is a large watch, but it’s pretty much needed with this type of construction. The stainless steel case, fully brushed for a tactile look and feel, by the way, comes in at 44mm in diameter and 15.3mm in height. So yes, this is not a watch that will fly under the radar but one that will stand out. And you want that with a tool that serves a very clear purpose! The width and height are there because of the cradle-like housing, with a plate to hold the central container in place. This can easily be detached through a clever lever system in the side of the case. This system is called RBES, or Rapid Bracelet Exchange System and is comparable to how you switch out lenses on a camera. The container can be mounted on a decompression plate, which has a table with two sets of data. One is for diving at attitudes of 700 meters above sea level (MASL) or higher, and the other one is for dives below that 700m level. The tables show the necessary stops in order to avoid decompression sickness, a serious risk with deep diving.
The container is water-resistant to a depth of 500 meters, thanks to its robust construction and a helium escape valve nestled in the side of the case. On top sits a unidirectional rotatable bezel with six large notches that you can grip onto without any issue, even with gloves. The bezel insert is either plain steel or black DLC-coated steel and is finished with a diving scale filled with Super-LumiNova. The design of the scale is a bit different from most dive watches, with one, two or three dots marking the quarter hours instead of more traditional digits. The case has no crown guards, but in order to prevent unwanted shocks on the screw-down crown it is tucked into the side of the case. Delma provides a simple tool with the watch to unscrew the crown, but a small coin also does the trick. Both sides of the case are fitted with a sapphire crystal.
A matter of colour
Delma decided to go for three classical colours; black, blue and orange. Each one has large, applied indices filled with Super-LumiNova. The sloped flange on the outer perimeter has a two-tone minute track in black and white or white and red, depending on the colour of the dial. The orange version we had for this review shows a black minute track with white numerals. Time is indicated by large central hands, with the hours in white and the minutes in bright orange. The central seconds hand has a lollipop tip finished in orange as well. The remaining details on the dial are the outlined date window, the Delma name and logo at noon, and the text “Automatic 500m / 1650ft”.
Just like most watches by Delma, the Quattro Limited Edition comes with an automatic movement by Sellita, in this case, the SW 200-1. The cradle that holds the container has an opening that allows you to see the movement running inside. It runs at a rate of 28,800vph and has a total power reserve of 38 hours. That might be the only downside to this movement, but that’s pretty much expected when using the SW 200-series movements. The Delma-signed rotor is finished in a gold tone to add contrast to the engine it drives.
The Delma Quattro L.E. comes on a fully brushed three-link stainless steel bracelet with a folding clasp. Also included in the set is the Delma-signed rubber strap with stainless steel pin buckle and of course the decompression plate. It’s limited of 999 pieces, which sounds like a lot but I have little doubt Delma will be able to sell it out rather quickly. There’s a very large market for tool-like watches such as this Quattro, even though the majority of dive watches never go anywhere near their limits. And at EUR 2,090, it’s not going to break the bank either.
All things considered, I can honestly attest to the sturdiness, ease of use and comfort of the Delma Quattro. Yes, it’s a rather big and weighty watch, beast-like to some perhaps, but it didn’t feel out of place for a second. Either on the rubber strap or the three-link steel bracelet, it sits comfortably on the wrist. The construction is solid, and the clever system to detach the central container and mount it on the decompression plate is very easy to use.
The same goes for the unidirectional rotating bezel with its six prominent notches. Even if you would be wearing gloves during your dive, you would have no issue adjusting the bezel. Long story short, it is a highly capable dive watch at a very accessible price and something that stands out from the masses of more traditional dive watches in a BIG way. And above all, it is a proper diving instrument that could potentially save our life when things go south during your underwater adventures.
For more information, please visit Delma.ch