An interview with Squale Watches CEO, Andrea Maggi
On our last visit to Squale, the legendary dive watch company, Page and Cooper had a chance to interview Andrea Maggi, CEO of Squale Watches, to discuss the illustrious heritage of Squale Watches and Andrea's long family history of watchmaking.
1. How did you become involved in the watch business and how long have you been involved in the watch business?
My grandfather had a jewellery factory which he was forced to close during the Second World War. After the war was over, he restarted it and also began to produce watches. My father joined the firm and when a child I used to go on business trips with him during the holidays. I maintained my involvement even whilst I was at University.
2. What is the one thing you are most proud of in your career so far?
I am most proud of managing to establish business contacts with prestigious names in the watchmaking industry and seeing some of my ideas flourish and prosper. With SQUALE I am involved in a major project and am acutely aware of working with a brand that was, and still is, a pioneer in the sports watch sector.
Andrea Maggi (right) with Monique Von Buren at Baselworld
3. What training do your crafts people have?
All of our watchmaking staff have attended schools specific to their craft and hold the relevant diplomas. They have served long apprenticeships with Master Watchmakers, learning about the most crucial phases in assembly and, if necessary, how to correct malfunctions in mechanical movements.
4. How long does it take to make one time piece?
Developing a new design is a really long process. I have estimated that it takes about a year from conception to production. There is great complexity both from the technical and stylistic point of view.
5. What new techniques or materials have you seen arrive in the last few years?
During the past few years a myriad of new materials have been introduced to the industry: titanium, carbon, bronze and then lower grade materials such as plastic. In addition, new material treatment techniques such as PVD, DLC have also appeared. This is amazing, proving as it does, that the watchmaking industry is always kept up to date. My one criticism is that sometimes this innovation can be confusing to the customer.
6. The wristwatch has seen a dramatic rise in popularity over the last few years, where do you think this passion has come from?
Speaking personally I believe that that the watch is the only item of 'man jewellery' that a man can wear on any occasion. The arrival of ever more new consumers to the market over the past few years has made the watch an ever more desirable item. A combination of mechanical precision, technology, beauty and style in one package. Watches are still at the top of both men and women's 'wish lists' although for women, appearance is still the most important factor.
7. What do you think of the trend for making larger time pieces?
Extra large diameters have been a phenomenon of the last 10 to15 years. I think they are on their way out and in a few years the trend will be sharply reversed. For example, SQUALE is still making diameters of 40mm (extremely rare in sports watches) and for women we actually produce watches of 27mm.
8. How much importance do you think the strap commands?
Straps are very important. The quality and type of material used are often vital to success or failure.
9. How do you see the watch market growing over the next few years?
During a period of recession, people look for real value. Thus Swiss manufacture will still be a major selling point.
10. What is the latest product that most excites you?
What always interests and excites me is the development and design of each new SQUALE model. We like to choose from a whole family of movements, automatic, chrono and also complex automatic.
11. What three facts would you like your customers to know about your brand?
We would like consumers to know that every SQUALE watch really is an important piece in the history of sports watchmaking. We would like to get across the love that both the Von Buren family and my own put into creating this brand. We confidently state that anyone who owns or buys, or collects a SQUALE can be proud of owning a watch that is certainly the equal of much more famous and costly brands.
12. What watch do you wear?
The answer is obvious but it's still a pleasure to reply. A SQUALE 100mt 2002 PVD.