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July 23, 2021

Squale: 1521 Limited Edition X Watch Insanity “5th Anniversary”

Watch Insanity turns five. Captain James T. Kirk’s legendary spaceship Enterprise and his indomitable crew, in the same amount of time, explored “strange new worlds in search of other forms of life and civilization, to get where no man has gone before.” We, with more modesty but as much ambitious passion, have tried to do the same by dedicating ourselves to a single world: that of high-end mechanical watchmaking. With a special focus on two lines that are in some ways opposed. On the one hand, the more “insane” segment, namely that of independent brands, because they are the ones who usually have the courage to dare more when it comes to aesthetics – even in decorations and manual finishes – and to the most extreme techniques. On the other hand, paying homage to the icons of watchmaking: those models that have had the strength to go beyond their time and become cult objects in the collective imagination of enthusiasts, rising to the role of reference points in the vintage segment.

CELEBRATING “HEROIC” YEARS WITH A VERY LIMITED SERIES

They were “heroic” years because, with tenacity and luck, we built a beautiful community of “Watch Enthusiasts” around us, because we were able to transmit the passion and curiosity that first of all animates ourselves. And we faced some inevitable battles. Like the last one we had to take on just a few weeks ago, when we found our Instagram account hacked by a Turkish hacker (or at least someone who calls himself such). We did not lose heart, and after an incredible story we managed to regain control of our profile, because, as also happens in the aforementioned television series “Star Trek”, the good guys in the end cannot but win. That said, ahead of the important upcoming anniversary, we gathered Watch Insanity‘s old guard and asked ourselves: should we celebrate the event with a limited series? After an enthusiastic and unanimous yes, we drew up the necessary requirements that this Limited Edition has to possess, in line with our identity and our editorial policy.

THE INDISPENSABLE REQUIREMENTS TO CHOOSE OUR PARTNER

Taking into account the two primary souls of Watch Insanity, brand independence was the first prerequisite we identified, the second being iconic collections. Immediately after, the origin: obviously Switzerland, for even if it is true that the world has several interesting manufactures scattered in a handful of other countries, it is mainly from the Swiss land that the watches we love most, those that make us dream the most, originate. Italian blood running through the brand’s veins is also fundamental, because Italy is our home, where we were born and where we love to live. And, finally, the exclusivity of the limited series – which we have identified in only 5 models, one for each year of activity – and a rather unusual fact for similar operations: the choice that this special edition won’t be put on sale, in order to symbolically state that our passion is priceless and, consequently, cannot be sold.

A MANDATORY CHOICE: SQUALE

So we looked into each other’s eyes and we understood that the mandatory choice was Squale, an independent brand that is always healthy – founded in Neuchâtel by Charles Von Büren in 1959 and owned by the very Italian Maggi family for decades now – with Swiss mechanics and components that rely on a catalog of half a dozen models: among the most noteworthy, the 50 Atmos of the legendary Reference 1521, the 60 Atmos, the 101 Atmos and the various highly coveted special series for Folgore, Arma dei Carabinieri, Com.sub.in. and the Italian State Police, largely undisputed icons in the history of dive watches as they were always on the wrists of true freediving legends such as Enzo Maiorca and Jacques Mayol during their record dives. To the point that, between the sixties and the eighties, several famous names on the international scene used the cases designed by Von Büren, putting the Squale logo on the dial at six o’clock precisely to certify the waterproofness and reliability of their divers: just like for the famous Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 3H Bund and Fifty Fathoms, Tag Heuer Spirotechnique and Doxa Sub 250 Sharkhunter.

THE DISTINCTIVE FEATURES OF THE WATCH INSANITY LIMITED EDITION

We crossed our fingers and brought our project to Andrea Maggi, president of Squale, who with his usual savoir-faire accepted with enthusiasm, happy to play with us to customize our Limited Edition.

With the idea of preserving the identity of the brand as much as possible, we focused on the most recognizable details of the various collections. As a result, we chose the Ref. 1521, the historic 50 Atmos version, in its amazing micro-sandblasted steel version, which to the touch and sight looks like titanium. Go and see it live in official dealerships: you will fall in love with it instantly! The diameter is 40mm but, when worn, this case – which over the years has had, if possible, more imitations than the Rolex Oyster – is probably one of the most comfortable, when talking about “wearability”, of the entire contemporary dive watches panorama (but not only), and this thanks to the very original curvature of the lugs which perfectly follow the wrist lines. 

This reference’s water resistance is guaranteed up to 500 meters deep and the writing that certifies the figure is an intense orange, like two other details that we will mention shortly. The other two words next to the famous brand logo at 6 o’clock (“metri” and “professionale”) are in Italian, with the idea shared by Andrea Maggi to give as much space as possible to our origin.

The black bezel, respecting the professional diving standards, is obviously unidirectional; the same goes for the crown, also dutifully screwed down, strategically “hidden” – and protected – in the lower right curve at 4 o’clock, for another technical-aesthetic feature that has made the Ref. 1521 unmistakable and highly imitated.

The sapphire crystal with its internal anti-reflective treatment highlights the dial in a suggestive matte black. To keep it “very clean” and ultra-technical, we decided to eliminate the usual date window at 3 o’clock and the equally usual “Von” – from the preposition in the founder’s last name – which normally appears above the Squale writing at 12 o’clockThe choice of the indexes fell on the legendary round index treated with SuperLuminova, with a small tweak for the seconds hand which, compared to the rectangular SuperLuminova of the regular series, in our case has a rounded luminescence – in harmonious continuity with the design of the index.

Orange, as mentioned, returns in another fundamental detail: the minutes hand, which in this reference is usually thinner. We, on the other hand, for greater respect for geometric balance, opted for the “fat” hand of the 60 Atmos, which therefore results as wide as the hours handThe caseback is personalized with the number of the item while the reference to the anniversary and the mechanics is entrusted to the everlasting ETA 2824-2.

In addition, the packaging of our Limited Edition includes a refined leather case and two different straps to match with the watch. In this case as well we put the accent on the technical aspects of a professional dive watch by choosing a steel bracelet with a safety closure and the Milan mesh – the city where Watch Insanity is based – and a perforated rubber strap, where we find the last orange detail.

Such detail, it should be emphasized, belongs only to Squale. That is: at the final end, after the two loops, we have a “strap stop” that locks perfectly through the hole below, for a unique solution that testifies to Squale’s obsessive attention to detail.

At this point, inevitably, you will ask yourself: such a technical dive watch will be used for professional diving, right? The answer, to be honest, is no. Our goal will be to test it repeatedly in gin and tonics, by the sea, next summer, celebrating all together – in the hope that in July and August Covid will be just a bad memory!

IN CONCLUSION: THANKS TO SQUALE AND TO ALL OF YOU!

Thanking Squale for the precious celebratory partnership, we take the opportunity to send a big digital hug to our passionate community, promising many surprising news in the months to come, always characterized by independence and iconicity. And in the meantime, waiting for the gin and tonics dives, happy anniversary to us all!

By Michele Mengoli