Hands-On: The New Squale 1545 — Stepping Out Of The Shadows
Recently, I spent some time with the redesigned Squale 1545 on my wrist. I am a long-time admirer of Squale, and I even own two of the brand’s watches. The 1545 collection, however, was never really in my sights. It was a bit too deep in homage territory for my liking. I am happy to report that Squale has changed that. The obvious question is: would I recommend it now?
The 1545 is Squale’s most affordable collection. But does that result in compromises or great value? Let’s find out!
The Squale 1545 redesign
The new 1545 diver has been thoroughly dipped in Squale sauce. And that is a good thing. It used to be a bit generic and quite reminiscent of dive watches from other brands. Now, it looks like a Squale and nothing else. I am not against homage watches in principle. I just think they have a derogatory effect on an otherwise rich and original brand. Leave them to specialist homage brands and focus on a strong identity of your own instead. I am happy to report that Squale has gone that route with the new 1545.
The case has become a little more distinct through the removal of the crown guards in favor of a big crown. But the dial is where the real Squale flavors come to life. The quirky orange accents and the indices at 6, 9, and 12 o’clock exude that 1970s Squale vibe.
There are three colorways in the renewed 1545 collection. There is the black curtain dial we see here, a Payne’s grey variant, and a white version with gold accents. You can have your pick of a steel Oyster-style bracelet or a dial-matched rubber Tropic-style strap.
Like all Squale models, the 1545 is a veritable dive watch. It comes with 30 ATM of water resistance, so you really do not have to worry about getting this beast wet. We have a crowd-pleasing 40mm diameter, 20mm lug width, 48mm lug-to-lug length, and 12mm height. If you are wondering about the fit and cannot try one on before ordering, these are the same dimensions as a Rolex Submariner ref. 14060. I also can report that it wears very similarly in terms of size.
Behind the solid steel case back ticks a trusty Sellita SW200-1. And that is a good thing since this caliber is proven, reliable, and very easy to service. Topside, we find a flat sapphire crystal with AR coating. It is not specified, but by the looks of it, I would say it is on the underside only. And that is precisely how I like to see it.
Of course, we have a uni-directional dive-time bezel. It is fitted with a ceramic inlay and comes with a lumed pip at 12 o’clock. The dial lights up with C1 (green) Super-LumiNova, while the handset comes with blue lume, probably BGW9. The lume is good but not as bright as it is on the Squale 1521.
Wearing the Squale 1545
The Squale 1545 feels quite familiar on the wrist. That is probably thanks to the case shape and size, as well as the fact that my sample was the more introverted black model. It has that stereotypical dive-watch vibe in the way it sits on the wrist. If you enjoy the Fifty Fathoms, Submariner, Divers Sixty-Five, Pelagos, SuperOcean, and the like, you will enjoy this.
I was a bit worried about that curtain dial. Its broad vertical stripes are the result of overlapping passes of circular brushing, much like Geneva striping. In the press images, it looked a bit too ’70s to me. Luckily, it is actually quite subtle in real life. As you can see from my photos, the effect is hardly visible under most lighting conditions. I would prefer the dial to just be matte black, but at least this is a distinguishing style. The grey- and white-dial versions do not feature this effect.
All in all, the Squale 1545 is just a very easy watch to wear. It feels sturdy, yet it is compact and subdued enough to be worn on most occasions. This could quite easily be your only watch. It is well made, which gives you that reassuring feeling that a modern dive watch should. It is not a watch I fell madly in love with, but it did instantly feel like it had been mine for years, and that is a nice sensation.
A word on the 1545 bracelet
I tried the Squale 1545 on the steel bracelet. It is how I would order and wear it if I were to buy one for myself. The bracelet reminds me of the one on my 2004 Rolex Explorer II. It has the same slight jingly, jangly feel to it as Rolex bracelets from that era. And that is perfectly fine.
But there are two places where the bracelet reveals the modest price point of the Squale 1545. First, the end links are not great. The edges of the faux center links on them are too soft, breaking the illusion of it being a separate part. This might be a personal pet peeve, but I find that such end links do cheapen the look of a watch. What do you think?
Second, the clasp has a lip where your fingernail goes to open it. That lip scratches the bracelet. I see this time and again, even in high-end watches — parts of the clasp that eat into the bracelet. It is a design flaw that reveals itself within 30 minutes of wearing. That being said, at the price point, this is still a good bracelet. Typically, you do not find great bracelets at this price, so these slight flaws are excusable. Still, I would be remiss not to report them.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Squale 1545. It is an attractive everyday watch that feels very solid. Priced at €745 / US$728 on the bracelet and €654 / US$638 on rubber (ex. VAT), it is amazing value. You get a very well-specced watch from a brand with an impressive history and credibility in the diving world. I know many similar brands will charge a lot more simply because of the historic name on the dial. Squale has not taken that route yet, which is admirable.
Personally, I prefer the more outspoken Squale designs. The 1521 is an absolute classic to me, and the new Super Squale is another one that speaks to me more. The 1545 feels a bit more contemporary, despite the ’70s vibe of the dial. So if the other Squale offerings are a bit too “vintagey” for you, this could be a great alternative. The value is certainly there, and so is the unique Squale identity.
If asked, the Squale 1545 is a watch I would wholeheartedly recommend. I somehow feel it might speak to first-time watch buyers. And I do think it has a lot to offer in that sense. This could be a very good gateway watch for new aficionados. For seasoned collectors, I could certainly see it as a bullet-proof, worry-free holiday watch. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
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