The tourbillon is one of watchmaking’s most prestigious innovations, although there has been somewhat of a democratization of this highly desirable complication in recent years, and a surprising assortment of brands now have tourbillon-equipped watches in their respective lineups. To celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2024, Delma has created a 100-piece limited edition that incorporates this tiny micro-mechanical marvel. Since the brand is best known for its high-performance sport and tool watches, the new Delma 1924 Tourbillon also features 200 meters of water resistance, 5,000 Gs of shock protection, and an antimagnetic movement impervious to fields up to 2,000 gauss.

Crafted from brushed stainless steel with small high-polished bevels running down either side of the watch, the case of the Delma 1924 Tourbillon (ref. 41701.770.6.031) measures 41mm in diameter by 14mm thick, and it offers a slightly cushion-shaped profile with compact lugs that are set 22mm apart and extend to create an overall lug-to-lug presence of 47.5mm. A domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment protects the dial, while a screw-on display caseback closes up the reverse side of the watch, and at the 3 o’clock location is a signed crown set between two large and rounded guards, which screws down to the middle case to help ensure the model’s rather generous 200-meter depth rating.

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While the overall design of the Delma 1924 Tourbillon is inherently rather utilitarian with ample levels of water resistance, it categorically isn’t a dive watch, and surrounding its crystal is a thin fixed bezel made from stainless steel with a circular brushed finish to match the rest of the case. That said, the Delma 1924 Tourbillon still wears like a chunky tool watch, and the overall on-wrist experience could be best compared to something like a Panerai or Tutima. Delma does make dress watches, although the 1924 Tourbillon really represents a combination of the brand’s various contemporary offerings, and while it is technically considered a dress watch on the brand’s official website, the 1924 Tourbillon also offers the same durability and rugged design ethos that defines Delma’s sports models.

The matte-black dial fitted to the Delma 1924 Tourbillon features a grain-textured surface with crisp white printing and applied luminous indexes. A pair of centrally-mounted baton hands display the hours and minutes, while the party-piece tourbillon is prominently showcased at the 6 o’clock location under an inverted V-shaped bridge that is secured by two blued screws. To serve as a running seconds indicator, a smaller blue-finished hand is mounted to the top of the one-minute tourbillon, and to maintain the utilitarian design ethos of the watch, the pair of central time-telling hands and applied hour markers are all finished with Super-LumiNova BGW9 to improve their visibility in low-light settings.

Powering the Delma 1924 Tourbillon is the Caliber DT100.01 manual-wind movement, which is 100% Swiss-made and produced in collaboration with the brand’s various manufacturing partners, including Atokalpa and Olivier Mory from BCP Tourbillons. Running at a frequency of 21,600vph with a generous power reserve of approximately 105 hours, the 19-jewel Cal. DT100.01 features a 60-second tourbillon, KIF shock absorbers, and a variable-inertia Glucydur balance wheel, allowing it to be shock resistant to 5,000Gs and antimagnetic up to 2,000 gauss. All of the plates and bridges on the Delma Cal. DT100.01 are ruthenium-treated with a dark gray finish and gold text, and despite not being a certified chronometer, Delma’s manual-wind tourbillon movement is still regulated to the same standards of -4/+6 seconds per day.

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The Delma 1924 Tourbillon includes a stainless steel bracelet and a black leather strap, and both options feature integrated quick-release springbars at the lugs to facilitate tool-free strap changes. The bracelet offers a fairly traditional rounded three-link design with completely solid components and a machined folding clasp. Meanwhile, the strap is crafted from black Italian leather with white contrast stitching running down the edges, and it secures on the bottom of the wrist with a chunky brushed stainless steel tang buckle signed with Delma’s logo. Due to the geometry of the end links and minimal taper of the bracelet, the 1924 Tourbillon wears noticeably larger on its bracelet than when fitted with its leather strap, although the fairly conventional design of its 22mm lugs means that a virtually endless assortment of third-party options will also be compatible with its case.

In addition to being one of horology’s most desirable complications, the general prestige of the tourbillon has historically related it to refined dress watches that are accompanied by deep five-figure and six-figure prices. While the slow democratization of the tourbillon has resulted in the cost of entry drastically coming down for timepieces with this gravity-compensating feature, we are now also seeing the tourbillon play a role in an incredibly diverse assortment of models. Aside from having a high-horology complication, the Delma 1924 Tourbillon is otherwise just an ultra-rugged tool watch, and it promises all of the same function-forward durability that you would expect from one of the Swiss brand’s sports models —just with the added mechanical intrigue of its signature one-minute tourbillon.

Given that the human arm naturally functions as a multi-axis tourbillon, the functional benefits of this celebrated complication are debatable when it comes to its implementation in wristwatches. With that in mind, there are few things in watchmaking that can rival the dynamic mechanical intrigue of a tourbillon, and the use of this complication still serves as an unmistakable statement that a brand is serious about its watches. With an official retail price of $13,900 USD, the Delma 1924 Tourbillon ref. 41701.770.6.031 isn’t the absolute least expensive way to get your hands on a Swiss movement with this functionality, although the rugged construction of this 100-piece limited edition paired with its mechanical complexity ultimately creates a rather unique and compelling offering for those who want a tourbillon that can stand up to the rigors of being a go-everywhere timekeeping companion. For more information on the Delma 1924 Tourbillon, please visit the brand’s website.

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