De Motu

An independent pilot instrument manufacturer with ideas and uncompromising quality.

Designer Valdemar Hirvelä earned his wings servicing aircraft in the Finnish Air Force, where his main duty was to maintain the avionics and instrument systems of SAAB Drakens and BAE Hawks. Down the road he joined R&D projects for the Swiss watch company TAG Heuer and the Finnish watch artisan, Sarpaneva.

Watch-making was all well and good, but Mr. Hirvelä still felt irresistibly pulled towards the skies: he could visualize aviation watches as potential instruments. So at a time when the market was welcoming larger cases he crafted his own accelerometer unit and fit it inside a wristwatch: it was the world’s first g-measuring watch!

After half a year of tweaking, Hirvelä was ready to move forward, but first he needed adventurous extreme pilots to put the device to the test in the real world. Sami Kontio, an accomplished Aerobatic Champion, did test it and was impressed; he formally became the first De Motu test pilot.

Markku Lehti, CEO of the De Motu Watches Ltd came along with Mr. Hirvelä and Sami in later stage, first sitting on the board and during the last few years taking the responsibility of running and financing the watch manufacturer. Mr. Lehti has his background in military and aviation world. As a deck officer of Finnish Navy and in later career in commercial aviation, serving as a captain of MD-11 freighter, he has 25 years of experience as an user of military and civil instrumentation.

“I have strong belief that even in modern computerized service environment we still need personal instrument for showing accurate time. High quality watch will keep its position as a primary time piece in any sophisticated military, aviation or marine operation.”

As flight instructor and navigation teacher Mr. Lehti has first-hand experience about the user interface of different instrumentation systems which affects the final design of the De Motu Watches. Civil engineering studies in Aalto University and Moscow Aviation Institute help him to understand the demands of instrument manufacturing for aviation use.

A long quest has began, seeking the uncompromising level of quality and efficiency of a true pilot instrument.

The final step in becoming a fully independent manufacturer was taken when it became apparent that generic Swiss movements could not withstand sustained high g-forces and deliver precise and consistent measurements under extreme conditions.

Five years of research, development and testing, advanced engineering and sophisticated design culminate today in De Motu Watches Ltd, a truly independent and innovative pilot instrument manufacturer with ideas and quality never seen before.

And this is only the beginning…