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One of the last remaining independent Swiss watch brands from the early 20th century, Delma is a family-owned watchmaker founded in 1924. With a rich history spanning almost 100 years, the brand has become known for its durable and approachable dive watches, including the Shell Star line, which was first launched in 1975. Almost five decades later, the Shell Star Collection is an apt representation of the brand’s commitment to excellence and innovation in the Swiss Made dive watch category.
The modern Shell Star collection features a variety of handsome, capable divers with a ’70s-inspired design language and impressive technical specifications. New for 2023, Delma has unveiled the first-ever Shell Star in titanium, which also boasts a more refined case profile, as well as other technical improvements when compared to previous versions. Let’s take a closer look.
While recent iterations of the Shell Star have consistently garnered positive attention, their appeal has arguably been somewhat specific due to a large case size (44 mm in diameter by 13.8 mm-thick). Luckily, for those who enjoy smaller watches, the newest version of the Shell Star is a more compatible 41mm. While the case thickness is still substantial at 13.6 mm, the new Shell Star’s titanium case material makes for a less top-heavy, more versatile timepiece that’s more suitable for daily wear. Though the piece still retains plenty of wrist presence, it clocks in at a mere 136 grams, which is notably light for a professional dive watch.
Despite its more svelte profile and lighter weight, the new Shell Star is no less of a “tool” than the previous versions, as it still retains an impressive 500 meters of water resistance. And while the dial is a bit smaller, the piece is still extremely legible in both broad daylight and low-lit conditions. To ensure maximum low-light legibility, this piece utilizes bright blue, glowing Super-LumiNova BGW9 on the bezel and neon green Super-LumiNova C3 for the indices and hands. Not only do the two different shades of lume increase the underwater legibility of the watch, but they also give the watch a unique visual footprint — it looks fantastic in the dark.
One can argue that this Shell Star is even more capable than the last one, as Delma has upgraded its bezel from aluminum to scratch-resistant, fadeproof black ceramic. The shiny black ceramic also makes for a more handsome and dynamic design; the piece jumps off the wrist a bit more and contrasts nicely with the matte, sand-textured dial. The titanium bracelet and push-button clasp are both comfortable and easy to operate.
With regard to the overall look of this watch, Delma has done an excellent job of balancing a vintage-inspired aesthetic with a simple, effective design. The helmet-shaped case and its protruding crown guards give this watch a healthy dose of character, echoing the vibe of the first Shell Star diver from the 1970s. Moreover, it’s clear that each of the colorways has been thoughtfully designed to ensure ample contrast and legibility. While the black and blue dials benefit from bright orange accents framing the hour markers, the orange dial utilizes stark black accents, which make the white indices pop more. The case and bracelet are brushed throughout, with a striking mirror-polished bevel along the case flanks. The titanium construction also has a visual impact, giving the pieces a slightly warmer, more tactical feel than stainless steel.
Flip the watch over, and you’ll find an exhibition caseback, which is rare for a dive watch with 500 meters of water resistance. Under the hood is the tried and true Sellita SW 200-1 automatic movement, which is one of the most trusted, reliable, and easily serviceable calibers on the market today. Running at 28,800 VPH, the SW 200 features a power reserve of approximately 38 hours and features hacking seconds capability. The brand has even added its own personal touch to the movement: a handsome customized rotor with the Delma logo.
Overall, the Delma Shell Star Titanium Limited Edition is as handsome and versatile as it is capable, making it a compelling choice for both professional divers and casual dive watch enthusiasts. Priced at $1890 USD and limited to just 499 examples, the watch is available now on the brand’s website and select stores worldwide.
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