Retro Dive Watch Specialist Squale Unveils the 1521 Montredo

Pared back, "Bund" style.

Derived from Italian for “shark”, Squale was a maker of dive watches – as well as a supplier of dive watch cases to many notable brands – that had its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s. Like most of its peers, Squale went under during the Quartz Crisis, lying dormant until 2005 when it was revived by its onetime distributor in Italy.

The reborn Squale is focused once again on dive watches, with its current lineup modelled on the brand’s historical products. The flagship is the 1521, an affordable, no-frills dive watch that’s been pared back even further with the limited-edition Montredo x Squale 1521.

Initial thoughts

Retro dive watches are common today, especially in Squale’s price segment of under US$2,000. But Squale manages to set it apart by having historical legitimacy unlike startup brands.

The Montredo edition stands out for its minimalism. The outline of the watch has been retained, but the details have been reduced to the essentials, like the bezel with only five-minute markers.

The result brings to mind the military-issue dive watches of the 1970s and 1980s, most notably the Fifty Fathoms “Bund” that Blancpain supplied to the German navy – which coincidentally had a case made by Squale. In fact, the Fifty Fathoms “Bund” relied on the very “50 Atmos” case Squale used for its ref. 1521 diver, making the Montredo edition a tidy historical throwback.

Ref. 1521

The 50-piece run is a collaboration between Squale and Montredo, a Berlin-based watch retailer that operates exclusively online. While Montredo started out as a non-authorised retailer of new watches (“grey market” in other words), it has since evolved into an authorised retailer for some brands. And last year it was acquired by Les Ambassadeurs, a Swiss watch retailer that is very much old school and entirely brick-and-mortar. Both companies are now led by Philipp Budiman, cofounder of Montredo.

Based on the vintage ref. 1521, the modern-day 1521 has the same angular, stamped case in steel with the signature four o’clock crown. It’s rated to 500 m, or 50 atm, explaining the “50 ATMOS” marking on the dial.

A variety of 1521 models are offered, but the Montredo edition is based on the no-date 1521 Militare that takes its cues from the Fifty Fathoms “Bund”.

The Montredo edition takes the military inspiration further by replacing the standard bezel insert with an elapsed time bezel scaled in five-minute blocks, while also removing the second hashmarks from the dial. It also adds a “lollipop” seconds and retro, “shark” emblem to the mix.

Like the standard 1521 models, the Montredo edition is powered by a Sellita SW200-1, a clone of the ETA 2824. Fuss-free and reliable, the SW200-1 is a solid performer, albeit one with a short, 38-hour power reserve.

Key facts and price

Montredo x Squale 1521
Ref. 1521MONTRE

Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 16 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 500 m

Movement: Sellita SW200-1
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Hand wind
Power reserve: 38 hours

Strap: Rubber “tropic” style strap and an additional leather strap

Limited edition: 50
 Only from Montredo
Price: US$1,050, or €924 (prices exclude taxes)

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Correction February 3, 2022: Mr Budiman’s last name was spelled incorrectly in an earlier version of the article. We are sorry for the error.

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