Very occasionally, you get those moments that persuade you time has stood still. And one of them came recently, when we unwrapped a package that had been lovingly sent to us by Watches of Lancashire – check out their website here – and discovered an entirely original 1960s Squale Master.
Original 1960s Squale and new 1521 - Image Credit: WatchGecko
One of the first things I did was text Fabio Ferrari: not the heir to an Italian supercar company, but instead the general manager of Squale Watches in Switzerland. “Absolutely stunning example,” he instantly replied. “Not seen one like that for a long time. Worth a bit of money now.”
If I could have one superpower in the world, it would be to give vintage watches the power of speech. Because I would have loved to ask this one exactly where it had been and what it had been doing all these years. I reckon ‘not much’ would have been the answer, as this example is beautifully preserved. Even more incredibly though, it’s quite hard to tell the difference between this and some of the latest Squale models, which goes to underline the significance of lineage and heritage in any watch brand. As well as the stunning condition of this particular watch.
The 2023 Squale 1521
If you check out some of the photos of the original Master compared to the current Squale 1521, on sale here – you’ll see exactly what we mean. The modern 1521 watch comes in a variety of colours, including the rich azure of its older brother: one of the essential shades on the Squale Watches palette.
Squale 1521 Diver's Watch. Image Credit: WatchGecko
Of course, the original has period features that you don’t see in the modern watch, such as the glorious Bakelite bezel and the vintage domed crystal. But pretty much all of the other design cues have been carried over, making Squale one of the watch companies that remains most true to its ancestry today.
It’s no co-incidence. “This is something that’s extremely important to us,” says company owner Andrea Maggi: a family friend of the original founder, Charles von Buren. “We want a Squale watch today to be recognisable by people who knew the company back at the beginning of its history. So we try to stay faithful to our classic designs.”
The Squale Master was made famous by some of the most well-known divers of the day, back when scuba diving was a fresh invention. People such as Enzo Maiorca and Jacques Mayol went underwater with a Master strapped to their wrists, and handling this supremely original watch transports you instantly back to those pioneering days.
Squale Marina Militare Watch
The very first Squale Master that you see here was then reissued in 2013 with an ETA movement, also in a variety of different colours: including green. This year, the Squale Marina Militare was launched as well (a tribute to the watches first issued to the Italian navy) although you can’t get the gorgeous colour that you see here: for that you need the 1521. When it comes to different shades of blue, Squale has more or less got the market cornered. And it all started here.
Over the years, Squale Watches have additionally unearthed a considerable archive of NOS (new old stock) which has allowed the company to create a number of special editions; another strong argument to maintaining the same basic design language.
That’s why it was such a pleasure to finally see this stunning watch in the flesh. Whoever is lucky enough to buy it will enjoy a real piece of living history – and a tangible link to the instantly-recognisable Squale dive watches that are still sold today.