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Squale History

Neuchatel, 1959

Charles Von Büren established Squale, a Swiss Made brand specialized in the production of automatic diving watches, work tools capable of calculating compensation and immersion times. With the arrival of Squale watches, Charles Von Büren paved the way to what we know today as a Professional Diving Watch.

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 Van 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.

During this thriving time Charles Von Büren began searching for a trusted collaborator to help him further develop his products. It was then that he embarked on a prosperous partnership with the Maggi family. Thanks to this Italian family, Squale entered easily into the Italian market which was considered to have a high potential due to the countless kilometers of coastline surrounding the country.

The Island of Giglio (Tuscany) 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 Van Büren families. This loyal friendship went beyond professional ties and allowed for a natural and smooth transition of the company from the Van Büren hands to the Maggi family after Van Büren’s retirement. Since the 1980s the Maggi family has independently managed the Squale brand, continuously increasing its recognition. Charles Van Büren left his creation in good hands.

During the 1980s and 1990s the Maggi family developed several models that were widely successful in the Italian market. In concordance with the global changes affecting the market, they expanded the distribution to a worldwide scale. The Maggi family dedicated all their resources to give an international flair to the Squale watches: marketing the Swiss origin of the brand, the fact that they were the producers of the Professional Diving Watch with a long tradition of Swiss manufacturing excellence, and the fact that it was run by a family that put its passion for horology first. 

All those 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.

Nowadays, the objective of the Maggi family, one of the few remaining families in the horology industry in Switzerland, is to consolidate the values of quality and reliability unique to the Squale brand: quality in the materials and reliability in the advantage of a diving watch over a diving computer. Indeed, Squale watches don’t rely on batteries, can withstand higher thermal shocks than wrist computers, and are equipped with Swiss-made automatic movements that have been thoroughly and rigorously tested.

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