Integrity, professionalism, experience and passion.
Mr. Andrea Maggi - Squale Brand Ambassador
Squale History Timeline
Charles and Hélène von Büren founded a watchmaking company called Von Büren SA in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. They soon turned their attention to the then virtually unexplored field of professional diving watches and began producing reliable, tough, high-quality watches under the "Squale" brand.
Their daughter Monique became involved in the business and through testing the early watches became an excellent swimmer and expert diver. She went on to become a marine biologist.
In 1959, under Charles’ supervision, Von Büren SA registered the Squale trademark and obtained the first patent for the manufacturing of a diving watch case.
Having a reliable diving watch was crucial for a diver at that time. In those years watches were the only devices that divers could use to calculate diving times so they were considered one of the most essential tools for divers’ safety.
Finding a precise, reliable, waterproof diving watch that could withstand certain depths was no easy task in the 60s. Diving watches as we know them today didn’t exist back then. Charles Von Büren, together with Squale watchmakers, began a tireless search for excellence and reliability in a wrist-worn instrument that would meet the needs of professional divers. These first timepieces included features that we take for granted today, but that were highly innovative at the time, such as the fluorescent orange minute hand.
After many functional tests by professional divers, the Squale brand established itself as a true diving watch. And so, the Professional Diving Watch was born, with Squale one of its creators. It was the beginning of a success story. The 60s and 70s brought to light several models still considered to be icons in the history of underwater horology. We are referring of course to the renowned Squale 1521, Squale 2002 and Squale Master, inimitable watches full of charm that immediately sparked the interest of the big Swiss watchmaking brands.
The best-known Swiss Made brands started to commission Squale to produce diving watches. Having the Squale mark (called VON) on a watch dial meant it was a true diving watch and it signaled safety and reliability. The outstanding durability and reliability that characterized Squale watches was confirmed by the great athletes who chose these watches in achieving their records. In 1967 Enzo Maiorca achieved an immersion record using a Squale Master. In 1970 the famous diver Jacques Mayol set a historic immersion record in Japan, reaching a depth of 76 meters wearing a Squale watch on his wrist.
Van Büren SA began producing ever more sophisticated watches placing the Squale logo on the dial and thus launching the brand’s international and commercial history. During those years Squale sponsored several international sports competitions. Due to their reliability, safety record and international recognition, Squale watches were worn by the top divers of the time including the above mentioned Jackes Mayol, Enzo Maiorca and Giuliana and Maria Treleani. In the midst of these sports accomplishments Squale introduced the “Master”: its first 1,000m diving watch with Plexiglas glass and a snap-on lunette.
French diver Jacques Mayol, known as Dolphin Man, broke the freediving world record on several occasions wearing Squale watches. In 1970, for example, he was wearing a Squale watch when he set the 76m record in Japan. Mayol, whose life inspired the film Le Grand Bleu by Luc Besson, lived with the Von Büren family for some time. During that period he was also practising yoga, a practice that considerably improved his physical strength and overall performance.
The Island of Giglio (Tuscany - Italy) was the charming setting chosen to continue testing and improving the already high-performing Squale watch. It was here that the Von Büren family went diving on several occasions, including for recreational purposes, wearing Squale watches every time. The most important outcome of the 70s for this wonderful Swiss brand was the close and sincere friendship that developed between the Maggi and Von Büren families.
This loyal friendship went beyond professional ties and allowed for a natural and smooth transition of the company from the Von Büren hands to the Maggi family after Von Büren’s retirement. Since the 1980s the Maggi family has independently managed the Squale brand, continuously increasing its recognition. Charles Von Büren left his creation in good hands.
This year saw the release of the Tiger model, a professional diving watch with the most slender, self-winding mechanical movement in the Squale range. With a depth up to 300m, this model was specifically designed to meet divers’ needs. Examples of this are the knurled back to stop the watch from slipping off the wetsuit, the protected knob to withstand knocks, and the dial with large markers from 9 to 2 for night dives.
The Tiger is the only watch in the Squale range, and one of the very few in the world, on which the two-way rotating bezel can be locked and released by means of a red button to prevent any potentially dangerous accidental shifts in its position.
The more-than-forty-years of hard work were rewarded in 2005, the year in which Squale watches reappeared on the international market following the return of vintage as a trend.
It was an immediate success. They realized that the public was still talking about Squale watches and was fond of this brand which had remained a point of reference in the diving world all of these years.
The Squale OCTOPUS is launched, a model dedicated to the Italian Police Diving Unit and named after the department logo, a small octopus. This watch is currently part of the official equipment of the CNES divers in La Spezia (Italy).
The Squale OCTOPUS is a unique iteration of the 2002 series and it was officially introduced at Baselworld 2017, the most prestigious trade show in the watch industry. The partnership with this police unit affirms the values that have always been at the core of our philosophy: quality and safety.
Neuchâtel 2019 – To commemorate the brand’s anniversary Squale launched a new watch inspired by the iconic early models of the brand. The 60-Year Special Edition introduces a design reminiscent of the 1950s / 1960s, while the rest of the collection takes its inspiration from designs of the 1970s / 1980s.
This timepiece, in a limited edition of only 150 watches, displays the launch date "July 10, 1959" in French on the dial. It is powered by a Sellita SW200 (Elaboré) movement, features vintage lume, a crystal insert on the bezel and has a 39mm diameter (40.8mm with bezel).
Mr. Andrea Maggi commented on the watch, "I love history. I want this (watch) to be linked to something. Best to honor tradition while trying something new at the same time. Step by step, I want to try something new, but always keeping in mind where I come from."
Every watch comes with a certificate signed by Andrea Maggi and Monique Von Büren. The two families were recently reunited at the CIP-NE to officially commemorate the brand’s anniversary. Maggi said, "I still want to have a connection to Neuchâtel, where Squale was born" and Monique Von Büren, who travelled to Neuchâtel straight after a diving holiday in Egypt to see the watch for the first time immediately added, "My father would have been very, very happy."
Andrea Maggi photographed in the old Milano office at Santa Maria Valle, 4.
Back to the origins
A transition process has been concluded. Squale has gone back to its roots and moved its business headquarters to Switzerland, where it all began more than 60 years ago. This decision represents a further guarantee of quality, improvement and innovation for all customers of an increasingly international brand. This move has allowed Squale to optimize production and to bring it closer to the other equally important phases of design, management and distribution. In this way a story of great accomplishments continues to be written.