The Story of Squale Today...A Workshop Visit
At Page & Cooper we love Squale. We love the watches. We love the history. We love the stories and, more importantly, we love doing business with them.
Interest in Squale watches has been growing steadily over the past few years. Deservedly so.
We thought it time to set the record straight, tell the story of the Squale company as it is today - with the emphasis on the word today.
Squale was founded by the Von Buren family and possibly they did not dream that some sixty years later, enthusiasts would still be fascinated in the watches they developed. The Von Buren's were a leading diving family; active among the upper echelons of the ‘dive fraternity’. They were always at the cutting edge of the development of watches for scuba diving, sport fishing and free diving. Even as we write, Monique Von Buren, daughter of Charles and a marine biologist in her own right, is diving in Burma.
With this in mind we visited Squale last week with the specific intention of following the manufacture of a watch from start to finish. By this means we would be able to update our knowledge and give comprehensive and up to date information to customers' enquiries.
Squale as many of you know, is based in Milan, Italy. Entering their offices, one's attention is immediately drawn to the many ‘treasures’ on display. Past trophies, awards, posters, old models; even real sharks teeth which in former days were presented as a gift when one bought a Squale watch.
However, the main purpose of this visit was not just to rummage through the archives, but to look at the current range and how it is made. Milan is only a short drive from Switzerland and Switzerland is where Squale production continues today.
We first visit the case maker. Amazing! When you stand face to face with the craftsman who turns a block of swedish steel into the beginnings of a Squale, all one's questions can be answered. What finishes are possible? How do you PVD coat? What is the Vickers hardness of your coating? etc.
For watch fans like ourselves, there is no mystery, and with a close working relationship anything is possible. Bronze Squale? Titanium Squale? All are possible. Watch aficionados such as ourselves really need to support these smaller bespoke workshops.
A short car ride brings us to the assembly workshop. High tech - and with a great view of the Alps! Squale is known for its quality. Here, watches are assembled and tested with pride, passion, and great care.
Watches for other companies are also put together here. Without betraying any trade secrets, we can say that these ‘other watches’ are, in some cases, many times the price of a Squale. Tourbillon, Open Heart Movement, Chronographs; Complications galore.
This workshop reveals the true extent of Squale’s ability and versatility in a wide variety of horological tasks. A dedicated team of just five expert watchmakers assemble and comprehensively test (for pressure and regulation) each Squale. Genuine top grade ETA movements are used. (We've seem them!).
Squale are always looking to improve their watches; Domed crystals being a recent example, and the attention to colour is superb. No photo we can take can do justice to the unique formula that the Company has developed for its own use.
Squale have a bright future ahead and it is up to us as watch fans to support independent makers such as these.
The rewards will come back to us.