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Founded in Legnau in 1924 by brothers Adolf and Albert Gilomen, Delma watch company has remained in continuous operation ever since. And now, just five years shy of its centenary, the brand marks a 50-year history of dive watch production with the release of the Shell Star Bronze. A series of professional dive watches (including the Shell Star and Quattro models) backed up a popular first release in 1969 and went on to establish the brand as a force in the world of independently owned tool watch manufacturers.
Delma’s first foray beneath the waves came in 1969 with the Periscope model. Through the release and reception of the Periscope, Delma found its dive DNA that went on to define the subsequent Shell Star and Quattro releases. Both of those later models established Delma’s dive division as a serious player in the realm of highly-functional mechanical tool watches for active submariners.
1981 saw the release of the Delma Shark, an unusual rectangular-cased model powered by the ETA 2789. A strong aesthetic and distinct character made the Shark, with its octagonal dial, applied indices, and ambitiously-designed bracelet, a fan favorite and a highly collectible model to this day.
Although the Shark line did not remain in the Delma catalog, its name inspired the 2011 release of the Blue Shark 1, a watch that marked Delma’s return to manufacturing high-end dive watches. An incredibly robust housing meant that the Blue Shark 1 was the first watch from Delma able to offer water resistance down to 3,000 meters. The Blue Shark II and the Blue Shark III were added to the collection. The latest newcomer joined the collection in 2019, increasing the maximum depth rating of the family to 4,000 meters.
Prior to the Blue Shark III making its bow, the iconic Shell Star was relaunched in 2016. By turning modern manufacturing techniques towards the original design, water resistance was improved to an impressive 500 meters, while the addition of a helium valve meant it would also be suitable for saturation divers. Hot on the heels of the Shell Star re-release was the Delma Shell Star Black Tag, which was limited to 500 pieces and presented an interesting new aesthetic to the brand’s audience with its DLC-coated exterior.
The lengthy history of Delma dive watches is celebrated by the current Cayman collection, which melds a classic, versatile style with rugged manufacturing. The Cayman family is incredibly diverse and features a variety of colorways and strap options, as well as the choice between automatic and quartz movements.
Despite such experience in the field of dive watches, Delma is not one to rest on its laurels. In 2019, the Shell Star collection received a new member — the fantastically modern Delma Shell Star Bronze, which retails for €1,490. Available in three dial colors — green, blue, and brown — this model heralds the first time bronze has been used by the brand, and, along with the previously released DLC-coated Delma Shell Star Black Tag limited edition, paves the way for more material experimentation in the future. Learn more at delma.ch.
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