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A brand's story : Squale by Extropian

brand's story
1545 Squale
Super Squale
2002 Squale
1521 Squale
A brand's story : Squale by Extropian

Mainstream brands on any industry have their own appeal, they are recognized by peers and there is a sense of satisfaction to own them. Most of these feelings come with the thought of believing to have the best (or close) on what the market can offer. This imagination quickly disappears when you stop being a causal user and become enthusiast. As an enthusiast, you start peeling those marketing layers and learn about intricate technicalities, history and value per money that other products might have to offer, in other words research is key.


Let us walk you thought a simple journey, the one that commences when you start light reading into the watch world. You will encounter 2 universal facts: diving watches are cool, and the Rolex Submariner is everywhere. Everything revolves around the latter and when it comes to diving and watches, the Submariner might be the most recognizable watch in the industry period. Consequently, you might want to own one, but the inevitable will happen: price and perhaps availability. As a consequence research will start to happen and eventually you will become a watch nerd, ‘’geeking’’ over details and realizing that there is much more out there, more value, more history.

Here is where brands like Squale enter the scene. It is not an alternative for a more expensive watch but a brand with models that can stand on their own in terms of heritage, design and of course technical prowess. Join us to uncover what is the history of this great Swiss brand that for us is considered a hidden gem. Let’s begin.

How it all begins:

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Squale’s history is well known and despite not being centuries old as other Swiss brands, it has quite an important impact in the world pf professional and recreational diving. The brand was set up in Switzerland in 1950, at the time it was known as Von Büren and after 9 years the Squale (which means shark in Italian) name was registered. 

 Their main objective was to supply professional cases for other brands such as Blancpain, Doxa and Tag Heuer. These cases quickly gained a good reputation for their 500 meters of waterproofness and also for the unusual but comfortable crown position at 4 o’clock. 

It was a very successful business model for Squale and consequently in 1959, they realized that they possessed enough ‘know how’ and cult following to launch their own watches. As a full watch brand, they managed to achieve a vast number of accolades: plenty diving records and of course, be one of the sole suppliers for the Italian navy. This was until 1988 which is when they stopped trading due to the well documented quartz crisis.

Who made it all happen:

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Giving the hibernation phase that Squale entered after the quartz crisis, it can be said that the brand has 2 eras: the one from 1950 until 1988 which can be called the Von Buren era and the 2005 and the Maggi era. 

The Von Buren era is where the brand got its accolades, history diving records and that reputation that still lives strong today but that is not to say that the Maggi era was just a revival process. The Maggi family acquired the brand to indeed bring back the name to the industry but the amount of innovation such as case components and manufacturing process that Squale enjoys today is thanks to them.

We can safely say that without yesterday’s heritage or today’s innovation the brand will not be here, each part of the history is equally important.

What is the brand’s philosophy?

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There are 2 main pillars for what we can say that brand stands for. The first is professional diving instruments. This ethos is embedded on Squale’s DNA, not only for the capabilities that their watches offer but also because it started as a case supplier. This was in a time when watches were considered essential for survival. Everything is backed up by the fact that until today, government bodies use Squale watches, they are rugged and focused for any special task required. 

The second one is that they are keen to provide their products at an affordable price. Squale was never intended to be a luxury goods empire, the idea is to provide those pieces under a name that can ooze experience. Of course, this is not to be confused with the fact that watches are considered luxury products and there is an element of refinement that definitely falls into that category. What we are saying is that at heart, Squale is providing professional gear and not the so call shopping mall products.

Style and design

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A big strong point for Squale is that design is their calling card. The first idea came with cases and not the watches itself, this mean that the sole focus was to produce one part of the final product and be done with it. There are unique style elements such as the crown at 4:30 or the lugs that sit lower than the mid-case but all follows function, is not a design flare. For example, with a crown at 3 o clock, it might protrude into the wrist, also a watch with straight lugs will not sit as well, both details look and feel great, but that is not the main intention. 

Another characteristic that Squale gets tons of recognitions for is the legibility. The dials, markers and handsets have good contrast compared to other divers out there. The Orange minute hand is one of the key elements that stand out from the rest. 

The depth rating is something that they also maintained from the beginning, most of the Squale’s offering can give that 500-meter capability. It is a very high number also considering on what the competition is doing. The added helium escape valve and screw down crown, makes you feel that you have a tank in your wrist, not necessarily because of the size but because of the roughness.


The current line up 

There are many offers on Squale’s line up, all of them with professional capabilities which is great to see, there is a model for everyone, here is what they currently offer:

The 1521

In 2005 Squale was successfully revived and under new management, one of the first models re-launched was the already famous reference 1521. Together with other versions, the 1521 proved to be one of their most popular models. It has the distinguished case shape with sharp angles, and it was then also offered in a blue dial version. It is the first model that comes to mind when you think of the Swiss brand.

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The Matic

The Matic is a watch that takes the 1521 to another level, it is bigger at 44mm, adding a lacquered bezel and a greater water resistance at 600 meters. it could be seen as an even more technical diver with a large case and great variety of dial options.

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The 2002

The 2002 can be considered the most capable watch is Squale’s line up. All the technology and know how are packed into this watch that offers 1000 meters of water resistance, helium escape valve and a push-rotate system for the bezel. The shape of the watch also rounded to contour better to the wrist. 

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The sub-39

The sub-39 is one of their newest models that was launched to celebrate the 60 years of the brand. It is a retro inspired watch with no crown guards and slim bezel. In here we can find GMT complications and divers. Despite being smaller at 39mm and vintage inspired, the watches still retain the 300 meters capability and tool-like nature.

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The Super Squale

A line that was trademarked by the Von Buren family has made a return to the current lineup. It is even smaller than the Sub-39 at 38mm and it completely aimed to us watch nerds. No date, thinner case, bead of rice bracelet, every tick on the box that we can imagine. It is design over function but one of our favorites.

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The 1545

We can call the 1545 the all-rounder, it is a watch that can do it all. It is smaller than the professional models but bigger than the vintage inspired ones. 300 meters of water resistance and a modern looking design. Best of both worlds.

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The T-183

The T-182 represents the forward-looking part of Squale. Made of forge carbon, the T-183 brings lightness, hardness and 600 meter of water resistance. It is the iconic case from the 1521 but re imagined in carbon looks. It is something else.

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Hopefully after reading this article the history of Squale can persuade, you to enjoy what we think is one of the best secrets in Swiss divers. All the above fall into the under 2000 CHF price bracket which to us its outstanding. The amount of technology and heritage that Squale is giving with each one of their offerings is something that we are not used to. 

What we also enjoy about Squale is that not only is a brand that is recognized by enthusiast and professionals but also by other brands in the business, no one can fault you for wearing one of the best watch cases around.


Article written by Robbie and Watches

Created the 2024-01-31

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