Skip to main content

Andrea Maggi has plans to revive Squale’s position as a dive watch leader

Andrea Maggi, owner and head of Squale Watches.

The owner of Squale focuses on engaging clients to build a greater understanding of what they really want.

For many diving watch lovers of the older generation, Squale is a brand they’re familiar with. More than a watchmaker, Squale, in fact, produced dive watch cases for many other brands, including Blancpain, TAG Heuer, and even DOXA. Originally owned by the von Büren family, it was later sold to its Italian distributors, the Maggi family. Squale went through a period of quiet right up until this century, when Andrea Maggi refocused his energy on rebuilding the brand. He speaks with us to share more about his plans for the brand in the near future.

The Squale 2002 collection is one of the collections that remain in the brand today.
The Squale 2002 collection is one of the collections that remain in the brand today.

Tell us, when you were relaunching the brand, what were you expecting to see in the market?  
When we first began to develop models for Squale again back in 2005, we were surprised that many collectors still held it in high regard. At the time, we still had stocks of old cases for the 50 Atmos and 1521, and customers in the US and Europe were clamouring for them. So we reintroduced them but with some upgrades, such as sapphire crystal instead of mineral glass.

Squale Watches in the Lords of the Ocean series, surveying sharks off the coast of Brittany, France.
Squale Watches in the Lords of the Ocean series, surveying sharks off the coast of Brittany, France.

Reviving a brand is always a big challenge. What is your strategy today?
There’s a lot of respect for the brand’s historical models, so we are careful about how we evolve our products, but we also want to reinforce Squale’s identity as a developer of diving watches. We are doing this by working with relevant partners in the sector. Coming up this year is a collaboration with Sea Shepherd for a special edition. Proceeds from the sale will go to their work in conservation and ocean protection. And last year, we sponsored a project with Lords of the Ocean, pursuing research on and preserving the population of sharks around the coast of Brittany. As a dive watch maker, it’s natural that we want to support projects supporting marine ecosystem and ocean protection. At the end of the day, practising sustainability is not just for publicity; it’s also good for our bottom line as well.

Squale continues to supply partners such as Drass and the Italian Navy with diving watches.
Squale continues to supply partners such as Drass and the Italian Navy with diving watches.

Has Squale’s philosophy regarding dive watches changed today, given the modern options we have when it comes to diving?
Not really. Diving watches are tool watches, so there are some qualities that we cannot overlook when developing our products. Yes, we do have digital diving tools today, but we also still produce mechanical dive watches that are used by professionals as a backup in case the digital diving watch spoils or runs out of power. For us, reliability is crucial, along with legibility underwater. We test every single watch rigorously to ensure their precision. We also try to work with local partners in Italy [from back when our headquarters was in Milan] as much as possible for leather straps, watch boxes, and various other components.

A limited edition Squale watch for the Marina Militaire continues their partnership today.
A limited edition Squale watch for the Marina Militaire continues their partnership today.

Gnomon Watches has been your partner in Singapore since 2012 or so. How did that begin?
When we were relaunching the brand in 2005, I wanted to build up a strong network of retail partners, especially in Southeast Asia, where there is a strong diving community and lifestyle. So I was checking around to see which retailers were focusing on small independent watchmakers at our price range, and it was recommended that I speak with Anders [Tan, founder of Gnomon Watches]. So I did, and after speaking with him and his team, we began to explore how we could work together. They became a partner in 2011, and now we’ve been working together for 12, now 13 years.

The Squale Tributo Blue limited edition watch for Gnomon Watches, released in 2023.
The Squale Tributo Blue limited edition watch for Gnomon Watches, released in 2023.

You’ve created a special edition together to commemorate this.

It’s a tribute to our historical Professional Masters dive watch and has a guilloché dial in a vivid blue, inspired by the warm waters of summer. The hour markers are also larger at the top of the dial for visibility. We’ve taken a lot of ideas and thoughts from Gnomon and distilled them into this Tributo Blue, which is limited to just 23 watches to celebrate 2023.

Fitting the bezel to the guilloché dial of the Squale Tributo Blue for Gnomon Watches.
Fitting the bezel to the guilloché dial of the Squale Tributo Blue for Gnomon Watches.

Are there a lot of special editions like the Tributo Blue that Squale makes each year?
Our production today is relatively small; this gives us the agility to develop new products quickly and find unique partners to collaborate with. For example, one of our special editions features burin engraving, which is typically done on hunting guns. I managed to convince the best engraver in the world, whose work I personally own, to create a small collection of watches for me. Since this was done by hand, it was purely dependent on how many pieces he was comfortable producing. Every time we make something new, it’s an opportunity for us to learn what our customers desire. This is an ongoing pursuit: to make our next watch more captivating.

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR CHANNEL


Editor

Darren has been writing about, and admiring the craft of watchmaking for over a dozen years. He considers himself lucky to live in a golden age of horology, and firmly believes that the most difficult watches to design are the simplest and the most intriguing to discover.


End of content

No more pages to load