Hands-On: The Delma Quattro is Dive Watch with a Trick Up its Sleeve

The word “gimmick” gets thrown a lot in collecting circles, and it almost always has a negative connotation. I’ll give you an example: during my recent stint with the H. Moser Streamliner Tourbillon Vantablack, I had several conversations with many astute collectors who I respect a great deal refer to the dial’s Vantablack coating as a gimmick. I even used the term myself in my own review. Maybe it is a gimmick, and maybe it’s not. But in my opinion, it was successful, at least in that watch, and it put a smile on my face whenever I was forced to consider just how strange it actually is. 

Gimmicks are gimmicks precisely because they’re out of the ordinary, and I don’t think collectors should dismiss them out of hand simply because they’re meant to attract attention and start a conversation. At the end of the day, the watch world is full of products that all basically do the same thing, and far too often look and work in the same way. When a brand comes up with an interesting angle that veers from the norm, well, that’s exactly the kind of thing that draws curious collectors in. 

The Delma Quattro, which I’ve recently had the chance to test over a period of a few weeks, is a watch with a gimmick. It’s a dive watch, which should be obvious enough from the large rotating bezel and chunky case. But this watch has a trick up its sleeve, or rather on the side of its case, in the form of a small latch that when engaged, springs the watch head itself from a locking cradle built into the bracelet. Delma calls this the Rapid Bracelet Exchange System, and it’s meant to allow divers to quickly move the case from a bracelet, to a rubber strap, to a specially designed decompression plate that Delma provides with each watch. 


Hands-On: The Delma Quattro is Dive Watch with a Trick Up its Sleeve

Stainless Steel
ETA 2824
Yes, hands, hours, and bezel
Stainless steel bracelet
Water Resistance
500 meters
44 x 49mm
Lug Width
Screw down

Let me say first and foremost, I love a system that allows for easy strap switching. I’ve gotten pretty good with spring bar tools over the years and don’t worry too much about scratching the backs of my lugs, but any opportunity to make these changes sans tools is more than welcome. I also love having buttons to press, latches to engage, bezels to turn, and so forth. I’ve recently come to realize that the growing number of chronographs in my collection isn’t borne so much out of a desire to time things, but from one to push buttons and make a long seconds hand glide across a dial, smooth as can be. Maybe it speaks to a higher than normal level of anxiety, or an inability to concentrate, or simply a fascination with making mechanical things happen in my hands, but regardless, when I saw the Delma in the office and realized what it could do, I immediately wanted to spend some time playing with it. 

A watch designed with a removable head poses a handful of design challenges, and I’ll try to examine how well Delma has done in meeting them as we make our way through the review. First, though, I think it’s worth interrogating whether or not this particular execution of the quick-change strap gimmick makes any sense. After spending some time with the Quattro, I’m not sure I can say that it does. Consider other proprietary systems whereby a watch brand is attempting to make it easier to change straps and bracelets. The functionality is almost always built into the strap, as opposed to the watch case itself. In other words, rather than messing with the case at all, the user is asked to push a button on an endlink, or, in the simplest possible execution of this idea, slide a little nub on a quick-release spring bar. These solutions offer little in the way of tactile satisfaction, but they are truly quick and easy.

Delma is asking us to engage with the head of the watch itself. This, readers, is a bit more cumbersome than you might think. On the Quattro, engaging the latch and then twisting the head off the cradle built into the bracelet is fairly straightforward: when you move the small latch, it lifts a tiny metal bar that holds the watch head in place. A clockwise twist of the watch head releases it from the bracelet. From there, the idea is that you can place the Qauttro head in another Delma strap apparatus (the Quattro ships with a bracelet and rubber strap, but I only had access to the bracelet during my loan), or the aforementioned decompression table, which is designed to assist saturation divers as they come out of the helium rich environments they work in. 

Returning the watch head to the bracelet is where things unfortunately get a little frustrating. I was never able to master this particular maneuver, which requires you to line up the head with the bracelet at a precise position and then twist it counterclockwise to lock it back in place. There are two issues with this. First, I found it difficult to find that precise position where the locking begins. The action is similar to mounting a lens on a camera body, but the smaller scale here makes it less forgiving. The other problem is that I found that I was constantly turning the dive bezel inadvertently as I attempted to re-mount the watch head to the bracelet. It’s certainly possible to not move the bezel, but it requires positioning your fingers around the watch head in such a way that it then makes it even tougher (at least for me) to achieve the end goal of getting it attached to the bracelet once again. 

In terms of pure convenience when it comes to quick change strap systems that are comparable in what they actually do if not how they do it, the Delma Quattro unfortunately ranks rather low. That general lack of ease, however, probably contributes to the design’s greatest strength, which is that the watch head is absolutely not accidentally coming loose from the bracelet, barring some kind of absolutely catastrophic failure or manufacturing defect. It locks in very tightly and securely to the bracelet, and the latch on the side of the case is situated such that it would be extremely difficult for it to be engaged accidentally. Quick change systems by their very nature have weak spots that traditional spring bars don’t, and while no solution is perfect and we’ve all heard horror stories about watches disconnecting from every conceivable strap or bracelet attachment, Delma’s system inspires confidence once you actually have the head properly placed. 

A question you might be asking yourself if you’re thinking through every step of a potential use case for the Quattro might be how the crown would be used in a setup like this. Because of the way the Quattro’s head sits flush within the bracelet cradle, you have exactly zero space for a crown that protrudes – from the top down, you might think this was some kind of crownless design. The solution that Delma has come up with here is equal parts ingenious and infuriating.

When the crown is fully screwed in, it rests completely flush to the case. There is a narrow slit down the center of the crown that allows you to unscrew it with a fingernail and some leverage. You could also use a coin to loosen it up enough to finish the job with a finger from underneath the case. Like the Rapid Bracelet Exchange System itself, this is clever, if not exactly convenient – a solution in search of a problem.

Unfortunately, doing anything more than winding the mainspring in the crown’s first position actually requires you to remove the head from the bracelet, as there’s simply no way to grip the crown and pull it out to set the date and time. This, I think, will be the ultimate deal breaker on the Quattro for many. Even if you had no real use for the Rapid Bracelet Exchange System and just liked the Quattro as a dive watch, you’d still be forced to use that system for something as simple as setting the time. It wouldn’t be a problem if the process to do that was completely seamless, but in my experience that’s not the case. It also just seems like a lot to ask of an owner. Imagine buying a Submariner, but every time you had to set the time, the watch demanded that you remove the bracelet. I think a lot of folks would be annoyed. 


And I can absolutely imagine people seeing this watch and just wanting to wear it based purely on aesthetics. It’s nice looking, and is undeniably well built even if some of the unique functionality is a little clunky. The dial is very easy to read, what large lume filled markers at each hour and crisp markings counting off each individual minute, with red Arabic numerals providing an accent and visual aid at five minute intervals. And the bezel is my favorite feature on the Quattro. Instead of using numerals for timing, Delma uses lume filled circles: a single circle at 15 minutes, two at 30, and three 45. This visual representation of noting elapsed time is surprisingly intuitive once you start actually doing it, and the fully lumed bezel puts on a nice light show in the dark. 

The case is fairly large, coming in at 44mm, but thanks to relatively short lugs that keep the total length of the watch under 50mm, the Quattro is very wearable if you have a thing for big burly dive watches, or just have a larger than average wrist. The bracelet is a simple Oyster style number with a nice milled clasp that has three micro adjust points and a twin push button release. Everything is machined very nicely with brushed and satin finishes all around. No bling here – this is a tool watch through and through. 

Water resistance on the Quattro is a healthy 500 meters, putting it fully in “pro” diver territory to be sure. The case also has a helium escape valve on the 9:00 flank. Ironically, this is a feature that when found on many divers is often dismissed as a gimmick, but on the Quattro it feels perfectly appropriate. Remember, Delma includes a decompression table with each Quattro that the head can be mounted to. I’m not a saturation diver, so can’t really speak to the utility of such a thing personally, but Delma clearly has a very specific use case in mind for the Quattro. 

Even when watches like this aren’t entirely successful, I always appreciate having the chance to give them a test run, and I genuinely hope Delma and other brands of a similar mindset continue to try new, weird things when it comes to rethinking traditional methods of designing a watch, and all the accoutrement that goes with them. Even if the gimmick doesn’t fully pay off, you can still have a whole lot of fun with them, and we desperately need more watches that are pure curiosities. Delma

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.