This post is an edited and expanded version of content first published on 28/06/2020.
Though any watch lover will know Squale as a boutique brand offering affordable professional dive watches (and homages until a few years ago), the brand’s history stretches all the way back to 1946, when dive enthusiast Charles von Buren first began assembling watches in Neuchatel, Switzerland.
Throughout the 60s and 70s Squale was a leader in the dive watch world as many brands, ranging from Doxa to Heuer to Blancpain, subcontracted Squale to build cases for their watches. The very extensive list of watch manufacturers supplied by Squale can be found here.
Unfortunately, as with many other Swiss watch manufacturers, the quartz crisis hit Squale hard, and the brand started to fade away.
Luckily, in 2010, the Maggi family, who had been the long-time Italian distributor for Squale decided to take over, tapping into Squale’s rich past and launching a narrow collection that pays homage to some of their most historical dive watches.
The 50 atmos line (also known as Squale 1521) in particular represents a master class in proportion and design as it uses the classic von Buren case, multifaceted and highly ergonomic. It comes in at approximately 41.5 mm wide, with a lug-to-lug of 48.5 mm and a thickness of 13 mm. Its size is further tempered by the prominent bezel, and the crown tucked into the case.
The 1521 shown in the introductory image has reference 026A “Blasted Blue Blue”. It displays an amazing bead blasted finish which soaks up light in a manner similar to brushed titanium, and a blue bezel and dial which appear both matte and iridescent, going from a metallic glow, to a more azure shade, depending on the light. Legibility is strong in any situation, thanks to the nearly invisible flat sapphire crystal. As the elapsed time dive bezel is read with the minute hand, it sports an orange minute hand that looks amazing over the blue tones of the dial.
The piece is equipped with an ETA 2824-2 automatic movement, a reliable and easily serviced Swiss movement.
Although this model is currently out of stock, it is ordinarily available directly from the manufacturer for €890 on rubber, leather or NATO, and €950 on a mesh bracelet.
The watches that Squale makes today look and feel as though they were designed and built in the 60s and 70s, albeit with modern manufacturing processes. Production remains in Neuchatel, and Squale is still very much a family business. Squale’s classic appeal feels entirely on point and their modern product line nicely echoes their roots in the early days of sport and professional scuba diving.