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2019 is a milestone for Neuchatel’s Maison- Squale, the Swiss dive watch specialist with the diver-oriented named by the Von Buren family who founded the brand. The dive case manufacturer turns 60 and is releasing a special edition of their Sub-39 dive watch to celebrate.
For those who have missed the limited editions and craving to get one still, it is your lucky day. Gnomon would like to present the Squale Sub-39 Marina Blue to you. The watch sets forth to be more than a favorite among Squale’s fans but a celebration of how far Squale themselves have come. Now, let’s take a closer look at how Squale marks its diamond anniversary.
|Squale Sub-39 Marina Blue - Bracelet
The Squale Sub-39 Marina Blue derives its name from its oceanic blue sunburst dial. Inspired by the first dive watch model that Charles von Büren created in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, it’s more than meets the eye.
Everyone who is into dive watches would remember this watch brand has supplied some of the most famous watch companies in the world. The Sub-39 is the tribute to the BP’s 1960s legendary Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe diver that utilized Squale cases during the Swiss watch manufacturer’s Rayville period. The name Bathyscaphe came from the submersible cabin in which divers used to travel the deep ocean.
The original was inspired by a famous Swiss explorer named Jacques Piccard, who descended into the Marianas Trench during the 60s in the Bathyscaphe Trieste with another partner, Don Walsh. Therefore, Bathyscaphe bears one of the most critical dive watch designs in history, and Squale’s involvement made it possible.
|Ticking inside the Sellita SW 200 “REGLAGE ELABORÉ" automatic|
These specific 60s styling cues are seen on the new modern tribute, increasing size from 35mm to 40.8mm (inclusive of the bezel). The dive watch has a sharp and distinctive lugs design and is 300m water-resistant. Do not let the muscular lug design spook you. The Sub-39 is svelte with a height of 12mm, thanks to the unique case construction. It bears a slim mid-case (39mm wide), just like the first design.
The ode-to-past bezel uses a unique crystal glass insert to mimic those days' bakelite material, with the exact old-school 15 minutes markers indicators. Further, its bezel grooves are suitable to its kind, thin and intricate, while still comfortable for one to rotate. The unique design has a satin-finished midsection that elevates the bezel from the mid-case, giving it an original look.
|Unique 60s throwback case construction|
Now to the mid-case, it has thick masculine lugs that feature several bevelling, done in full polished that showcases the hallmark of Squale manufacturing. It also results in a beautiful retro-ish look. Although the lugs are thick, they are narrowed into the middle of the watch, totaling up to the lug to lug dimension of 48.5mm, resulting in a good balance bow-of-porridge for many of us on the wrist. Finish up with a period-correct sterile screw-in “big crown” at 3 o’clock for easy time setting.
We also know that this distinctive case most definitely inspired the following Ref. 1521 50 Atmos case design after it, as they share similar mid-case styling.
Moving on to the dial, the oceanic blue dial gets a sunburst effect depending on how the lights hit its surface. Further, nostalgic Pre-60s “Explorer” style layout with alternating Arabic and strip markers, all done up in old radium lume that glows green when in darkness. Paired finally with the pencil-shaped handset and arrow second hand, with the same old radium tone. The Squale iconic shark logo further enhances vintage cues at 6 o’clock with the specific “30 Atmos” fonts. Owners can enjoy the whole 60s vibe time-reading through its boxed-shaped crystal that is made from sapphire material for durability while mimicking the nostalgic Plexi-crystal found on its precursor.
|"Radium" coloured SuperLuminova that glows green|
Another factor worth mentioning would be its unique case back design. Squale designed a unique ring lock system, whereby the case-back is secured by a screw-in metal ring on its periphery. This was an ingenious design in the early 60s at that time before adapting to the proven invention of the O-ring rubber seal and screwed-in case-bock combo. The Sub-39 Marina Blue has the exact stepped case-back design (while bears the more efficient screw-in design now), with the correct 60s throwback engravings of its Squale emblem in the middle. With this original remake of its case-back, it is a major throwback to the authentic dive watch’s construction of yesteryears for us today.
Ticking inside is an automatic Swiss caliber- the Sellita SW 200 “REGLAGE ELABORÉ" automatic. It has 26 jewels, running at 4 Hz (28,800VPH), providing mechanical reliability, and is further regulated by Squale to a better accuracy tolerance of +/- 5 seconds per day.
|Original "Squale" emblem engraved on the caseback|
The Sub-39 Marina Blue comes on an oyster-style bracelet with polished center links and brushed outer links. It gently tapers to a signed Squale buckle. As a modern dive watch drawing inspiration from the same era, it is thus reminiscent of the Omega Seamaster Heritage’s bracelet. That’s not a bad thing at all - the bracelet looks and feels amazing on the wrist, making the watch feel a lot more premium than its price tag suggests.
The Sub-39 Marina Blue is a mark of Squale’s achievements over the past 60 years. It is also an authentic tribute to its roots as a well-known and reliable supplier for others with their dive timing instrument, and lastly, taking pride in that even until today, for us watch nerds.