Seconde/Seconde/ X Squale: 1521 “Watch Your Hand”6 December 2023
The most irreverent watch, from the n.1 irreverent outsider: Watch Your Hand!
The universe of Seconde/Seconde/ meets the underwater world of Squale. A collaboration that ironically overturn the canonical narrative of the iconic swiss diver with an Italian “heart”. The result is a new, fun and extremely limited edition of the 1521 Militaire model, available in only 100 pieces worldwide.
THE STORY OF SQUALE AND THE ICONIC CASE
From the history of cinema to the history of watchmaking. Von Büren S.A. Fabrique de Montres, later known as Squale, was founded in Neuchâtel in 1959 by Charles and Helene Von Büren. The independent brand soon became a stepping stone for the professional divers’ segment also as a supplier for other brands (think of the 1521 and 1545 case commissions for Blancpain, Tag Heuer, Doxa with their Fifty Fhantoms, Spirotechnique and Sub 250 Sharkhunter bearing the Square logo at 6 o’clock). Between the Sixties and Seventies, Squale was also the “icon” watch, the companion par excellence on the wrists of champions and legends of the freediving/diving world such as Giuliana Treleani, Jean Tapu, Enzo Maiorca and Jacques Mayol. The collaboration between the Von Büren family and the Maggi family, brand’s historic Italian distributor, began in the 1980s. This bond was consolidated thanks to numerous activities in Italy (such as the performance tests carried out on the island of Giglio) and led, over time, to a sincere esteem and friendship between the respective families. Times were difficult (coinciding with the renowned “quartz crisis”) and with the founder’s seniority, ownership was passed to the trusted Maggi family. Independence, Italian blood and Swiss heritage whisper the story of Squale and a part of diving folklore.
ORIGINS OF COLLABORATION
But before we go any further, let’s bring the curtain down, it’s backstory time!
During one of the most important events in the world of watchmaking, the Watches and Wonders, almost like “old friends” quoting De Gregori, Jacopo Giudici (Founder and Creative Director of WATCH INSANITY) and Romaric André (aka Seconde/Seconde/) have a chat about watches and specifically the Squale brand.
“By virtue of my friendship with Andrea Maggi and as an admirer of Made in Italy, I advised Romaric to collaborate with Squale. I think it’s a perfect opportunity to bring together the complementarity of Italy, France and Switzerland in a watch (with a touch of irony)”. Jacopo tells us
“The decision to go for Squale – continues Jacopo – is not accidental. I’m very attached to the brand because to celebrate 5 years of WATCH INSANITY we made an ultra-limited series of five (not for sale, because remember that passion has no price!). In Squale we find historicity, independence and originality, all aspects very close and akin to Watch Insanity”.
Romaric also tells us about the moment: “Obviously, I knew the brand long before I thought about it in terms of collaboration. Mainly thanks to the many great vintage diver pieces. I was obsessed with their iconic shark positioned at 6 o’clock on the dial. I took the hint, accepted the challenge, and when I thought about the collaboration, I knew I was going to make something to put that shark/squale “in movement” – he says winking”.
This friendly confrontation gave rise to collaboration and the first ideas, notes and reflections that would later lead to the creation of the most ironic Squale you have ever seen..
THE FRENCH “TOUCH”
The Squale 1521 “Watch Your Hand” is as unique, irreverent and unconventional as all previous Seconde Seconde creations. As an ironic piece, it too contributes, for Romaric, towards overcoming the canons and stereotypes concerning collaborations and personalisations.
And on the occasion of this new creative rush, we asked him:
Swiss heritage, Italian blood and French touch. What was it like working with Squale?
It was quite easy actually. I could feel they were ready to let me play with their DNA and were ready to let me go into directions that would not necessarily follow their usual narratives.
What references (art, films etc.) inspired you?
JAWS has shaped our collective mind when it comes to shark…necessarily…But I guess the main driver here is my joy and need to find a way for “distorting/deconstructing” the piece and its initial purpose and message. I’m not saying I belong to the “deconstructivism” art movement though! I guess I’m applying some irreverence that you can regularly see in the street-art movement.
Tell us about the process that led you to the final idea. In this case, were you more instinctive or pragmatic?
I found it very interesting that a brand like Squale, which has certainly marketed the “professional” aspect and has always emphasized the “tool” aspect, agreed to let me completely reverse the narrative and have fun with a watch that was initially “for professionals only”. They allowed me to visually distort and destabilize the “infallibility” of their watches…with a visible bitten hand! In doing so, I felt that the brand, by accepting that I diminished the “professionalism” of its watches, also showed the unpredictability of sharks… Which are not meant to be “caged.” So the shark I moved to the 1521 dial shows us that you can’t control a shark… sharks don’t listen, don’t take orders, and do what they want (even bite the hand that feeds them). I think this is a way, for me, to reconnect with a kind of primal instinctuality, an inherently untamed animality.
1521 MILITAIRE “WATCH YOUR HAND”
The limited edition features unique details that fully reflect the DNA of Seconde/Secnde/ and reinterpret the soul of the quintessential professional diver with subtle irony.
Specifically, the watch features a matte black dial with luminescent printed hour markers (in Superluminova C3), and near the spheres we catch the first of four “easter eggs”: the bitten hour hand! Which bears precisely the marks of a shark’s jaws. This detail is not the only one in fact, having freed itself from its usual position at 6 o’clock, the shark-shaped logo “emerges” from the water line and reaches 3 o’clock, allegorically refusing the space it has historically been assigned.
And as in any self-respecting work of art, the artist’s signature cannot be missing, which also coincides with the fourth and final element at play: the wording 50 ATMOS, which on the dial identifies the models of the 1521 collection, has in fact been “vandalized” by highlighting the final letter “S” in orange (a distinctive feature of second/second/).
For the rest it is always him, the timeless reference 1521 with: case diameter in 316L steel of 42mm, thickness of 12.5mm including flat anti-reflective sapphire crystal, lug to lug of 48mm and lugs of 20mm. Also unmissable are: the crown position at four o’clock and the non-slip, 120-turn knurled bezel that we know to be a great synonym for safety and visibility in the world of diving.
The automatic movement in its entirety is the robust Sellita SW 200-1 Elaboré, and the box includes: the Squale stainless steel “mesh” bracelet with polished finish and the exclusive Seconde/Seconde/ packaging also “wounded” by the Squale bite. The price is 1,1283 €, and will only be available via Squale’s official E-Boutique.
Are you ready to go “shark fishing”?
Surf as fast as you can, there are only 100 prices available in the world!
By Luca Barone