“Go Deep,” the marketing copy for DELMA’s limited edition Quattro diver reads. Available in multiple color schemes (and limited to 999 pieces), everything about the watch’s face, handset, and bezel has the look of a function-forward, capable tool for the wrists of serious professionals.
But hang on — my last run-in with pro-level luxury didn’t go so well. And limited editions are neat, but GearJunkie generally reviews items with wider availability. Why make an exception for DELMA?
Frankly, because the brand was generous in its offering, I was able to get my hands on one of these Quattro divers, with no restrictions as to testing or signatures on legal forms. That kind of self-confidence from a maker tends to speak volumes.
So, over its week on my wrist, the Quattro endured quite a ride. Gym sessions, long trips, and excursions into the elements. So here are the good, the bad, and the conflicted findings on this interesting luxury timepiece.
In short: The DELMA Quattro ($2,490) is beautiful, in a function-over-form sort of way. There’s enough water resistance here for five watches (500 m), plus a quality movement, excellent lume, and overall sense of capability. But while it serves its intended purpose, the Rapid Bracelet Exchange limits access to the crown. For a watch at this price point, I’d have liked to see a bit more accuracy, along with screwed (rather than pinned) links on the bracelet.
DELMA Quattro Dive Watch
- Case Size 44 mm (49 mm lug-to-lug)
- Case Height 13.7 mm
- Case Material Stainless steel
- Crystal Sapphire
- Movement Sellita SW200-1 with DELMA custom rotor
- Power Reserve 38 hours
- Water Resistance 500 m (50 atm)
- Lug Width 22 mm
- Weight 230 g
- Eminently capable
- Limited-run exclusivity
- Solid lume and readability
- Crown access issues
- High price
- Pinned links on the bracelet
- Middling accuracy
What is DELMA?
Before I get to the watch, there’s an important question I need to answer: Who or what is DELMA? As it turns out, this brand has been around for a while. The heritage traces back to 1924, but the name first appeared as part of A. & A. Gilomen’s core lineup in 1933. Things picked up steam from there, with a long lineup of chronographs, sports watches, and the brand’s first automatic dive watch (the Periscope) launching in 1969.
But how did DELMA survive the Quartz Crisis when some more well-known brands didn’t make it? By embracing the tech, as it turns out. Per the press release, “The original DELMA Quattro was launched in the early ’80s with a quartz movement and gained popularity with divers, particularly in the US through DELMA’s presence at Florida dive shows.”
More than 40 years later, the brand has come full circle.
DELMA Quattro Automatic Dive Watch Review
This limited edition eschews the original quartz, returning to the mechanical field with a Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement.
There’s no chronometer certification here (I’ll come back to the timekeeping later), but this is a respectable movement. And, as always, I’m a sucker for a date window.
Onto the face itself. The Quattro is supremely legible, as befits its underwater mantra. Large, applied indices, mid-sized hands, and generous gobs of lume abound on the dial and bezel.
This is one of those watches that gathers a bit of glow every time you pass a window, which makes for a pleasurable wearing experience. And speaking of which, this is where the Quattro’s party trick comes into play – the Rapid Bracelet Exchange System.
Per DELMA, “The case effortlessly performs in three distinct forms. It can be rapidly affixed onto the bracelet, rubber strap, or decompression plate without the need for any tools. In keeping with the dynamic nature of the watch, the crown possesses a special notch so it can be simply unscrewed with its bespoke tool, a coin, or by hand by removing the watch head.”
A literal “screw-down” crown – neat. It’s worth noting that, in either on-wrist configuration, the sapphire case back allows you to check out the Sellita’s inner workings. These include a custom rotor marked with DELMA’s branding.
And speaking of branding, check out the rubber strap. Not one, not two, but three instances of the name. That’s a bit loud for me, though the fit and wear are excellent.
Why didn’t I test it on the bracelet? Well, that requires a trip to the jeweler.
DELMA opted for pinned links on this model, which are much less user-friendly than screws. I’m not a huge fan of that decision, though a half-link and three micro-adjust holes are included.
A Solution in Search of Problems
Okay. Let me take a deep breath before I burn my bridges with the Swiss.
On some level, the Rapid Bracelet Exchange System is neat. I enjoy swapping my watches between bracelets, NATOs, and bands, so the idea of being able to do so without the use of a special tool holds some appeal.
The problem isn’t with the concept itself, but rather in a (for me) worrisome flaw in the execution.
Specifically, I’m talking about the crown. When the watch module is locked into place, I’m unable to pull the interface into its date or time-setting position. You can wind the watch using your thumbnail.
But that’s it. If you want to mess with the timekeeping, you’ll need to pop the module out of its cradle.
This wouldn’t be as much of a deal if the Quattro were a bit more accurate. But my tester ran somewhere in the neighborhood of +7 to +12 seconds per day. By the time its stay on my wrist was through, it was running more than a minute ahead. That’s no good, especially for a watch at this price point.
And sure, you might argue that this is acceptable on a “tool watch.” I disagree. To earn that designation, you must excel at your main purpose.
The “tool” aesthetic is intended for something that does its job without regard for fancy looks. Sad to say, this DELMA falls a little short.
DELMA Quattro Diver Review: Conclusion
I wish I could say I loved this one. Because with its 500m water resistance, clean face, and wonderful readability and lume, there’s a lot to like about the Quattro. But at almost $2,500, I’m struggling to justify this watch’s place.
Even with the module swapping, display case back, and overall ruggedness of the package, I don’t understand how the Quattro retails for nearly two-and-a-half grand.
I even consulted other reviews to see if there was something I was missing. Is it exclusivity? Surely that has something to do with it. The water resistance? Brands like Spinnaker and Squale are doing the same thing for less, with the exact same movement in the latter case.
Some of that cash almost certainly goes toward the packaging (both the watch box and included carrying sleeve), which are luxury items in their own right. Look – if you like what you see here, and the idea of the Rapid Bracelet Exchange lights your fire, then more power to you.
DELMA has a wonderful, offbeat history, and if that’s worth your personal price of entry, you’re going to like this watch. It’s no Bremont Savannah, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. Just because the price tag baffles me doesn’t mean this isn’t a quality timepiece.
It’s lovely, functional, and loaded with heritage, but (as with so many heritage brands) also perplexingly high-priced.