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February 08, 2024

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DELMA 1924 Tourbillon

DELMA introduces the 1924 Tourbillon, a special edition watch to celebrate the brand’s centenary. It features a 100% Swiss movement and an elegant design.

In tune with the times

Established in 1924, DELMA has witnessed many changes over the last 100 years with the advent of new technologies and the impact of various economic and political events. And yet, throughout its uninterrupted history, DELMA has prevailed. One reason for the company’s success can be attributed to the growing interest in leisure pursuits. DELMA, always attentive to the needs and wants of consumers, has satisfied the desires of active souls by releasing a selection of sports models. In particular, the Swiss brand has gained an enviable reputation for manufacturing divers’ watches, a horological genre where robustness and reliability are of paramount importance. All DELMA timepieces are imbued with quality, refinement, and a near-obsessive attention to detail. The brand’s product portfolio includes both classical and contemporary models that have been designed to confer lasting appeal. These characteristics were much in evidence back in 1924, and they remain inherent in today’s watches.

Always family-owned. Always made in Lengnau.

Founded by two brothers, Adolf and Albert Gilomen, the ownership of the company passed from one family to another in 1966. At this time, Ulrich Wüthrich assumed control of the company and renamed it DELMA after one of its initial brands. Thirty years later, in 1996, he handed the reins to his son-in-law, Fred Leibu

ndgut, the present-day Chairman and CEO. DELMA remains a family-run company, with Fred at the helm and his son, Andreas, working by his side. While the company has witnessed change over the years, it has always enjoyed the creative freedom of being family-owned. Moreover, it has always been located in Lengnau, where the brand began life 100 years ago.

A centenary celebration. A high-complication.

Eager to mark its 100th anniversary, DELMA has created a timepiece befitting such an important milestone. The DELMA 1924 Tourbillon, appropriately limited to 100 pieces, is endowed with the much-coveted gravity-defying mechanism patented by legendary watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet back in 1801. The genius watchmaker recognized that gravity can adversely influence the behavior of the regulating organ within a timepiece; his solution was the tourbillon.

The DELMA 1924 tourbillon positions the escapement and regulating organ within a cage that revolves 360° every 60 seconds. As this cage rotates, any positional errors are negated. A hand affixed to the cage also serves to indicate the running seconds.

A proprietary Swiss movement

Although the watch brand wanted the DELMA 1924 Tourbillon to be keenly priced, it would not countenance the idea of sourcing the movement from a faraway land. Quite simply, it had to be Swiss. Moreover, the company did not want to select an off-the-peg caliber but sought something special, a proprietary movement encompassing its own design ideas. Indeed, it was important that this limited-edition watch be a postdated classic, imbued with the brand’s DNA and respectful of its rich heritage. DELMA designed the tourbillon movement, drawing on the development and engineering expertise of Olivier Mory, Co-founder of BCP Tourbillons. Olivier, based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, has much experience working on tourbillons. Furthermore, Delma has liaised with several specialist firms from the region, to procure the components for its 100% Swiss Made movement. One example is Atokalpa, a leading producer of escapements and regulating organs and a firm trusted by some of the most prestigious watch brands in the world. 

The tourbillon sits at the heart of the Caliber DT100.01, a hand-wound movement that has a prodigious power reserve of 105 hours. Unlike most watches, which feature an index-regulated balance, the DELMA 1924 Tourbillon is equipped with a variable-inertia balance, delivering superior precision. The balance is fitted with a shock absorption system supplied by KIF, and the movement is shock-protected up to 5000 G. In addition, the Caliber DT100.01 comprises non-magnetic components such as the alloy hairspring and Glucydur balance wheel, hence it can withstand magnetic fields up to 2000 gauss. Consistent with fine watchmaking, the movement is beautifully decorated. The baseplate is adorned with perlage, while the bridges, visible via the exhibition caseback, are embellished with Côtes de Genève and golden text. A sprinkling of blue screws subscribes to watchmaking tradition, while the movement is ruthenium-treated and dressed in a contemporary dark gray finish. The Caliber DT100.01 may be the company’s first proprietary movement, but it certainly won’t be its last. In fact, it provides a foretaste of what’s to come - a move towards making additional proprietary movements, embracing innovation and, becoming increasingly independent.

Habillage

Having created an impressive movement, the specification of the habillage (dial, case, and bracelet) needed to be of comparable quality. The dial of the DELMA 1924 Tourbillon is executed in sable black and features a grained finish. The hour and minute hands are palladium, nickel-plated, and lined with white Super-LumiNova® BGW9. They are teamed with matching applied hour markers to provide a harmonious look. The 41mm case is formed of 316L stainless steel. All surfaces of the case are brushed, save for the beveled edges spanning the top and sides of the case, which are highly polished. The crown nestles between the shoulders of a crown protector and is equipped with an attractive grip that facilitates easy manipulation. Fitted with a stainless-steel bracelet featuring a deployant clasp, the DELMA 1924 Tourbillon is supplied in a sumptuous presentation box containing an additional black Italian leather strap. Quick-release spring bars allow the wearer to switch to the strap, or vice-versa, without requiring the use of tools.

 

Irrespective of whether the watch is worn on a bracelet or strap, it always looks eminently handsome. Its luxurious housing, endowed with various subtle touches, sits in concert with the adjacent display. The dial is rich in nuanced detail, notably legible, and affords sight of the tourbillon cage, escapement, and regulating organ performing a spellbinding dance. The DELMA 1924 Tourbillon celebrates 100 years of history; a tradition of Swiss craftsmanship and independence, attributes the brand intends to develop further in the future.

Availability

Often the preserve of Haute Horlogerie, the complexity of the tourbillon is usually reflected with commensurate pricing. However, DELMA has always been known for delivering a high-quality price-ratio, hence, it was important to the family that this latest model be competitively priced. As previously stated, the DELMA 1924 Tourbillon is limited to just 100 pieces and will initially be sold on a ‘souscription’ basis from January 16 to March 16, 2024, for a pre-order price of CHF 8,900 / USD 9,900; a remarkable price for a watch of such complexity. Thereafter, assuming that all the pieces have not already been snapped up, the DELMA 1924 Tourbillon will go on general sale in April 2024. It will be available worldwide from authorized DELMA retailers, priced at CHF 12,500 / USD 13,900.


Craig Zaligson
Craig Zaligson

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