Few brands are as intimately linked to SCUBA diving’s halcyon days in the 1960s as Squale. Founded in 1959 by avid diver and case maker Charles Von Büren, Squale watches were — and continue to be — professional dive watches made for divers, by divers. With a reputation for robustness and reliability hard-earned on the wrists of early underwater explorers reliant on their timepieces for timing dives and ascents, watches like the angular and ultra-legible 1521 became instant classics. However, Squale isn’t content to rest on its laurels, as the brand continues to innovate. In creating the T-183 Forged Carbon, Squale combines distinctive design language with cutting-edge materials to create an extremely lightweight and exceptionally strong 600m dive watch.
Squale’s story began as founder Charles Von Büren was manufacturing watch cases along the picturesque banks of Lake Neuchâtel in Switzerland. Himself an avid diver, Von Büren decided, after 15 years in the watch industry, to branch out and found his own brand of professional dive watches. Thus, in 1959, Squale (Italian for “shark”) was born. Having already established a reputation for creating robust and reliable cases (the Von Büren name could be found emblazoned on the cases of many watch brands), and being himself a fixture within the SCUBA diving community, Squale watches quickly became the go-to diving watches for professional and recreational divers, alike.
One of the many fans of the brand was Elisio Maggi, the Italian distributor of Squale watches and close friend of Charles Von Büren. This friendship has closely bound the Maggi and von Büren families over the decades. Now, after three generations, the Maggi family (with the approval of the entire Von Büren family) manages the brand, retaining Squale’s trademark style and quality, while keeping the spirit of innovation alive. Nowhere is this more evident than with the release of the Squale T-183 Forged Carbon, a watch that retains the style and design cues of watches like the now-iconic 1521, while utilizing ultra-modern materials.
Squale first introduced the 1521 in the 1970s, and it quickly became a classic — the oversized markers, broad bezel, 4 o’clock crown, bright orange minute hand, and uniquely angular case combined to make the 1521 the watch to own among divers. So, how do you improve on a classic that’s stood the test of time for nearly 50 years? By making it out of one of the strongest, lightest materials possible — forged carbon.
Unlike typical carbon fiber, forged carbon utilizes small fragments of carbon that are placed into molds with resin, compressed, and “forged” at high temperatures. The result is an incredibly strong and lightweight material that, when shaped and finished, has a mottled, almost organic appearance. Another advantage to forged carbon is that it is extremely resilient to impacts and resistant to scratches; however, if scratches and abrasions do occur, the mottled aesthetic easily hides those imperfections.
In order to ensure its 600m of water resistance, the movement is housed within a 316L stainless-steel inner case that’s topped with an anti-reflective coated sapphire crystal and sealed with a screw-down stainless-steel caseback. This internal case is then pressure-fit into the forged carbon case before finishing. The final case dimensions measure in at 42mm in diameter with a 49mm lug-to-lug distance; however, those dimensions are tempered by the crown at 4 o’clock and the watch’s light weight (only 102g on strap).
Both models of the T-183 Forged Carbon utilize the same distinctive forged carbon case with brushed ceramic bezel insert and matte-gray dial along with applied, lume-filled indices. Where the two models differ is with their accent colors of orange or blue, both of which pop against the dark background of the dial.
Powering the T-183 Forged Carbon is a Sellita SW 200-1 Elaboré automatic movement. An ideal complement to a robust, reliable dive watch, the SW 200-1 beats at 28.8kbph and features a 38-hour power reserve. The T-183 carbon comes mounted on a custom rubberized leather strap. The leather for each strap is coated in rubber before the sides are trimmed, waxed, and hand-painted to match the accent colors on the hands and dial then finished off with a signed tang buckle.
The Squale T-183 Forged Carbon is available now with a retail price of 1,350 CHF. To learn more about Squale watches and the T-183 Forged Carbon, be sure to visit the brand’s website.
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