Squale 20 Atmos Heritage 1545- Root Beer

Let's see 'em! Pics and Reviews welcome
Post Reply
User avatar
biglove
Posts: 374
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:15 pm

Squale 20 Atmos Heritage 1545- Root Beer

Post by biglove » Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:01 am

Have been looking at the Squale line of 20 Atmos watches for the last year. Have dismissed the 50 Atmos line as overpriced; but, the 20's keep calling my name. I know a esteemed watch collector, Jamesbee, dives with one so figured they must be worth their salt as a working dive watch. This was my wife and daughter's gift to me for my 46th birthday a couple of weeks back. Of course it was a "pick one you like and call it a gift from us" sort of deal as evidently I am difficult to buy for.

The idea of homages are a sore subject in the watch world and this one is most surely homage material. Some folks love them, some hate them; but, in the world of dive watches there are very few that are not homages to something that has come before. Homages to the Rolex submariner are likely innumerable. Steinhart's Ocean One, CW's C60, Invictas galore and a host of others. Some have a bit more original work in the design, others not so much. The Squale 20 Atmos series, in my opinion, is pretty much walking the edge of what a homage can be. Now that the homage issue has been addressed, on to my impressions. FWIW, I did not know that Squale is based in Italy?

Uniquely packaged in something that I can only presume is "pleather" with a slot for the warranty card, a couple of straps and a pocket for the watch, the case folds into a decent carrying case. Different but not something I would tote my watch in. The root beer color of the bezel is a perfect color and the contrasting yellow really is eye catching. Would like to see the lume pip at 12 on the bezel be a bit bigger and better protected. Unfortunately the bezel insert is aluminum and no doubt easy to damage. Fortunately Gnomon, a US AD, is now selling the inserts individually for $40 which is a relatively new development as in the past it was necessary to buy a whole bezel for around $125-140 if you damaged the insert!

Time in the first 24 hours seems to be dead on and the sweep of the second hand is nicely smooth as expected as is the winding of the movement. Lume is passable but certainly nothing to write home about. It is nice to see a cyclops that actually magnifies the date for the aging eyes to see and at 2.5x it is certainly more impressive than the standard 1.5x norm. Sapphire crystal supposedly is AR coated but I am not impressed with it and the crystal itself is a fingerprint magnet.

Case finish is quite nice for the price and the bracelet is exceedingly comfortable although the clasp is a fingernail killing design and my least favorite of all clasp designs. Steinhart, Bernhardt and so many other micros use this design...it is secure; but, it must be cheap? The bracelet comes with screw links that are pre-treated with Loctite and though there have been some reports in the past of Squale utilizing too much Loctite, I did not find this to be the case when having to remove two links to fit by 7 1/2" wrist. Of note, the solid end links sit below the case which, as advertised, really helps the case fit the wrist much closer.

Although my initial thoughts were of flipping this one, it has grown greatly on me the last 24 hours and I believe it will be a keeper. The watch retails for $489 and with $50 in Amazon gift cards, I walked away for it with $439 via Island Watch's Amazon store. Considering the number of features, I believe that this watch is well worth around $450.

Pros:
Sapphire crystal
Cyclops that works at 2.5x
Stunning color of bezel
ETA movement
Screw-down crown, signed
Nice case finish
Very well made bracelet
Hands appear to be well finished
Comfortable fit
Bezel without play, 120 click, unidirectional

Cons:
Clasp from hell (it is signed though)
Dial lacks depth... the script/emblems and markers appear as flat as the Oklahoma landscape. No real dial texture
Bezel is difficult to grasp and turn. Like there is no way you are turning this thing with a diving glove on!
Aluminum bezel insert; however, can be replaced on the cheap if damaged

Specs (from Gnomon):
Movement: Swiss automatic movement ETA 2824-2
Dial: Matte Vintage Off-Black. Non-shiny surround.
Luminous: SuperLuminova
Date: 3 O'clock
Case: 316L Stainless Steel. Polished.
Crown: Screwdown crown at 3 O'clock
Lug: 20mm
Crystal: Flat sapphire crystal with 2.5 times date magnification
Strap: 20mm Squale signed steel bracelet with diver extension with screw links
Water resistance: 20ATMOS/200m
Dimensions: 40mm in diameter, 44.5mm including crown, 12.1mm thick
Power Reserve: ~42 hours
Sorry some of the images are blurry...shaky hands and late PM..

The fingernail killer:
Image

Image

Sorry for the fingerprints...the case is a magnet for them d/t the polish!
Image
Image

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

The impossible to grasp bezel grooves:
Image

Image
Image
Image
Image
"I believe in a God who doesn't need heavy financing." Irwin M. Fletcher, Fletch Lives, 1989
Image
User avatar
biglove
Posts: 374
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:15 pm

Re: Squale 20 Atmos Heritage 1545- Root Beer

Post by biglove » Tue Nov 18, 2014 5:26 pm

Ocean wrote:Not a bad looking watch. From your shot the only thing that I question is the cyclops.


I find most cyclops to be utterly useless because of their minimal magnification. This one is actually 2.5x vs 1.5x as the normal cyclops lenses are.

Certainly makes the date highly visible. Great for aging eyes but would be fine with me if wasn't there at all. I am a fan of one that is a big magnifier or not having one at all!
"I believe in a God who doesn't need heavy financing." Irwin M. Fletcher, Fletch Lives, 1989
Image
Mortuus Fakeuus

Re: Squale 20 Atmos Heritage 1545- Root Beer

Post by Mortuus Fakeuus » Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:06 pm

Superb review; well-researched, thought-out and written. Good photos, especially given the time of day and your physical condition at present. Overall, it told me everything I would want and/or need to know about this watch. I like the 2.5X 'clops, but would prefer to see it inside the crystal vice out there where it tends to be a target for all those door jambs and large pieces of furniture that seem bent on destroying -- or at least chipping -- it. Sadly, I tend to agree with you on the cost; in fact, it seems to me -- rank marketing amateur that I am -- that anytime a micro wants to put out a piece and get big bucks (and gravitas) for it, they toss an ETA under the hood and kick up the sticker price accordingly. There's just something about the 2824-2 that allows them to do this, something that the SW200 -- a truly comparable movement -- just can't seem to manage. And I won't even mention the Claro-888...oh, um, wait...aw, hell. Anyhow, you get what I mean.

I love the bezel colors, but I think the black dial is a cop-out; they could have made it either the yellow or the root beer, but went the easy route, IMHO. And I agree with you about the clasp-from-Hades; why put a clasp like that on a watch with an ETA 2824-2? Heck, why put a clasp like that on a watch that features a sapphire crystal? And so on.

In the end, I understand your mixed feelings about this watch; such things tend to frustrate the heck out of me, too, especially in a watch that's a gift and is, of necessity, a 'keeper.' Still, there are far worse gifts -- and indeed far worse keepers than this one! And if it's starting to feel like a good match after a while, then enjoy it, because, in truth, none of its 'down-checks' ('naval aviatorese' for "bad points") seem to add up into a show-stopper. Again, great job on the review; I enjoyed the heck out of it, Loaf! 8)
User avatar
biglove
Posts: 374
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2014 9:15 pm

Re: Squale 20 Atmos Heritage 1545- Root Beer

Post by biglove » Sun Nov 23, 2014 5:07 pm

Thanks, Mort. The clasp is a cheap move on the part of Squale. Is it a good trade off for sapphire? Sure; but, why not do the sapphire and put a decent clasp on it and cut the profit by $10 or markup the price another $10!

I would much rather have the SW200 and a nice clasp for the same money and it would increase their profit margin at this price!

The first iteration of this watch had a root-beer colored dial. Actually I thought I had ordered that one; but, looked back and had ordered the black dial. Seems the brown dial is more difficult to find? Meh!
"I believe in a God who doesn't need heavy financing." Irwin M. Fletcher, Fletch Lives, 1989
Image
Post Reply