Delma Watches are a name we seem to remember from our past but now seldom own. However, the latest offerings from Delma are modern and contemporary with a distinct nod to the past and may...
Founded in Lengnau (Bienne) in 1924, DELMA is an independent and still family operated Swiss watch brand specializing in the design and manufacture of sports watches. They maintained a focus on performance sports watches and in 1946 introduced their first chronograph. The still attractive “Midland” was equipped with a mechanical hand-winding movement and stylized Arabic numerals. In the 50s new models had Tachymeters, rubber straps and Valjoux 7736 R movements and looked highly contemporary for the era.
Now in 2020, we see the release of the Continental, a vintage classic with a sporty demeanour which continues DELMA’s story of creating stylish, well-constructed sports watches.
The new watch is inspired by DELMA’s Bi-Compax chronographs launched in the 1960s, from which it has retained its vintage spirit and aesthetics. Characterized by post-war optimism, the early 1960s saw numerous technological innovations and bold designs that have become iconic.
The Continental’s case is defined by the clear lines and edges, combined with the interplay of brushed and polished surfaces. The seven-link bracelet is finished with a brushed top surface and polished flanks. Completed with a butterfly clasp with pushers, it creates a luxurious appearance which is light weight and comfortable to wear.
The sunray-brushed dial is well balanced with its two guilloche counters, the 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, small seconds counter at 9 o’clock and its date window at 6 o'clock. The applied indexes with luminous markers, the Tachymeter and red central seconds hand complete the nostalgic look while the classic crown and chronograph pushers enhance precision and style. The Continental is available in the classic “panda” and “reversed panda” options as well as in blue, green and brown with silver counters. It is powered by a customized automatic Bi-Compax Sellita SW510 movement or a quartz Ronda Z50 movement.
Delma Continental Specs:
Case and dial: 42mm stainless steel or two-tone yellow gold PVD case with polished and brushed surfaces. Domed sapphire crystal. Sunray-brushed dial with two guilloche-pattern counters (small seconds at 9 o'clock, 30 minutes at 3 o'clock), tachymeter, central hour, minute and red seconds hands. Indexes, hour and minute hands with SuperLuminova. Date window at 6 o'clock. Available with blue, brown, green, silver or black dial.
Movement: Automatic version with Sellita SW510 Bi-Compax chronograph movement with date. A glass case back reveals the decorated movement and the personalized rotor. The Quartz version is powered by a Ronda Z50 chronograph movement.
Water resistance: 100m / 330ft.
Price: £690 - £2450 depending on movement and finish spec
A personal perspective:
I first came across Delma in the Middle East in the 1980s as their older 70s style Shell Star diving watches were still popular. I vividly remember the crown logo and the chunky, reassuring, style of the platforms.
Some of their past designs have been unique, especially when you look at their racing models and the Midland from the late 40s would still look a fabulous watch today. In 2011 they paid reinvented their diving past with the issue of the stunning Blue Shark I which was a progressive performance divers’ watch with an impressive 3000 m water resistance. The Shell Star name too was revived in 2016 with an equally good looking 500m diver.
So, it makes sense that they have now gone back to the very early days with a Bi-Compax issue chronograph which draws inspiration from the very earliest Delma designs. I like the fact that they have kept the old names alive and sympathetic to the original models whether they be 1940s or 1970s. It is not an easy thing to do as parallels will naturally be drawn to the classic models so Delma must be confident with the latest designs. I am not sure the Continental has quite the striking looks of the 1940s Midland but with the DNA of so many classic watches it is sure to succeed.
If you’re in the market for a pre-owned luxury watch, then Kibble Watches is a good place to start. This family-owned business down in Clerkenwell, London specialises in buying and selling pre-owned watches, sourced from...
Three more designs have landed in Seiko’s Presage Craftsmanship Series collection, a line-up that puts the spotlight on talented Japanese artisans and their crafts. The three models present clean, time-and-date only displays in white enamel...