What to do during these cold and long winter nights? Exactly: browse for watches. But thanks to the Delma watch company, there are other things you could be doing to while away the hours. And that is something I would love to show you right now. (And don’t worry, there will be a diving watch involved eventually.)
“Baikal is no place for mindless heroes,” says a dark, deep voice – in the video you can see above. It’s almost threatening, but also intriguing. The photography plays even more adventurous games with imagination. Bright blue and white shots of ice and water and snow and endless horizons with doomy grey skies fill the screen. Then suddenly a man comes into view, a man dressed in a black wetsuit. Apparently, he is the person behind the voiceover. He jumps into the water. On his wrist, just long enough in the picture to notice, is a Delma Blue Shark III.
Advertising films come in countless forms, but seldom are they as inspiring as this one. It is intriguing, it is adventurous, it is beautiful and it is just done incredibly well. I couldn’t help but think: if Delma makes watches as well as this advertisement, I am sold. Turns out it does, by the way, according to this article. But I’ll get back to the watch later.
Numbers that illustrate the unmeasurable
Intrigued by this short movie, I wanted to find out more about Lake Baikal. The numbers to describe this lake are mesmerizing. It is the largest freshwater lake in the world, containing just a few percentage points short of a quarter of the world’s fresh surface water. The depth is just as impressive: the deepest point is 1,642 metres. And although it is only 79 kilometres wide, it is an astonishing 636 kilometres long. This is about twice the length of the country I live in, but hey, they say size doesn’t matter.
Or does it? Lake Baikal is thought to be the oldest lake in the world and it is home to a unique biotope that houses over 1,000 species of plants and 2,500 species of animals – according to current knowledge. About 80% of those animals are endemic. And if you don’t know where Lake Baikal is, please don’t worry. The leader of the free world, the commander-in-chief of the United States military most definitely doesn’t know either.
The lake is pretty much in the middle of nowhere anyway. The closest city goes by the name of Irkutsk, which I honestly only knew from the board game Risk. It has about half a million inhabitants and it’s located in the deep south of Siberia, relatively close to the border of Mongolia. And it’s a cold place. At this particular moment, it is about -22 degrees Celsius. And while this is a lake, the wind rules the plains. Not a place to go for a fun trip, you would say.
Except for three adventurers – photographer Alfred Minaar, his ‘old friend’ Sasha (@bigworldsmallsasha) and videographer Nicolai Deutsch – who decided to make this destination their next trip. Delma went on the adventure with them.
Delma and the wild waters
Although the watch company is located a safe 445m above sea level in the beautiful Swiss town of Lengnau, Delma has a thing going on with men who explore the world’s deep and wide waters. Last year, for example, we spoke with professional sailor and ocean adventurer Nick Moloney about the very real perils of the Volvo Ocean Race. Delma also has a long-standing collaboration with freediver Iwan Gojnik, who achieved a Swiss record with constant weight (CWT) monofin in 2019.
In its advertisement movie, Delma doesn’t really emphasize its watches. This must’ve been a very conscious decision, and I think it only strengthens their message. A very fitting choice, considering the humble yet ambitious company philosophy. “As a family enterprise, we consider quality across our products and staff to be the core of our legacy and future. Our dedication has enabled us to present high-calibre, precise watches for over ninety-five years without interruption and continue to deliver innovative Swiss Made timepieces.”
The watches worn by the three divers in this movie are the Delma Shell Star, Santiago and, most prominently, the Blue Shark III. The latter is the latest introduction by the brand, and it should be over-qualified for the job. Delma has a long tradition of crafting dive watches, but this one takes the helm. It was built and certified to survive depths of 4,000 metres and is powered by a very reliable ETA 2824 calibre.
The perfect picture
Craftsmen show us what people can make, the Earth teaches us humility. If one goes to dive in one of the most remote and hostile environments, the preparation must be impeccable and the equipment even better. The watch for this daring exercise is exactly that. It is a very reliable, rugged tool watch. Its main purpose is as a back-up instrument in case the hi-tech diving computers fail. Depending on this equipment, the divers and artists did what they intended to do: show us the beauty of the crystal clear Lake Baikal.
And they’ve done it in a breathtaking way. These pictures are worth more than a thousand words, and it is exactly the story that I wanted to tell you here. I know I’m writing this for a leading watch publication, but sometimes the beauty of mother nature just outshines the finest of man-made creations.
For more details about the watches and the expedition, visit www.delma.ch.