Introducing: The Titanium Squale Master × Palombari Comsubin
Meet the titanium Squale Master × Palombari Comsubin. This is not a dive watch designed for your beach holiday. This is a dive watch designed for (and with) a special unit of the Italian Navy, the Comsubin. If you like Squale, you will love this. Because this is a Squale diver with all settings dialed up to eleven.
The Squale Master × Palombari Comsubin is limited to 500 pieces. Of these, 420 are for public release. The other 80 have gone into actual service with the Palombari (Italian for “divers”) del Comsubin. Let’s have a closer look at this new release.
Palombari del Comsubin
The Palombari del Comsubin are the elite divers within the Italian Navy, the Marina Militare. They are part of the Gruppo Operativo Subacquei (GOS), the subaquatic branch of the navy. To be a member of the Comsubin is to be part of a tiny but extremely well-trained team of tactical divers.
The divers specialize in underwater search and rescue as well as diffusing conventional and improvised underwater explosives. Of course, they are trained in the offensive side of military operations as well, all of this at depths of up to 300 meters. This, then, is not for the faint of heart.
All members of the Comsubin are also trained parachutists. They can be deployed from airplanes or helicopters, making the group an extremely versatile unit within the Italian Navy. The unit is held in high regard internationally, regularly training other underwater combat forces.
Making a watch for Comsubin
Just to be clear: it is possible to purchase a license to sell Marina Militare-branded products. This is different, though. Squale actually works with Comsubin to build watches that will see active service. This is something that they have done together since the 1980s.
The Squale Master × Palombari Comsubin came about in cooperation with the unit. The brief described a titanium dive watch that would be able to operate at great depth. A helium escape valve and a unidirectional bezel with a lumed triangle for the 60-minute marker were specified. And, naturally, it had to reflect the color of the Comsubin uniforms.
The design process was a collaborative effort between Squale and Comsubin. They settled on a sandwich dial construction to maximize the amount of BGW9 lume. This is not something you find on other Squale watches, which are no slouches when it comes to lume anyway. The minute hand is executed in orange to ensure legibility and a clear distinction between it and the hour hand. The company that makes the Comsubin uniforms also produced an additional leather and fabric strap for the watch. Naturally, it features the original blue camo pattern of the unit.
The Squale Master × Palombari Comsubin
So what we end up with is a rather hardcore diver built on the Squale Master platform. For the first time, however, Squale used Grade 5 titanium. The case measures just under 42mm across with a 49mm length and 16mm thickness. Yes, that is quite chunky, but it ensures the watch will survive 120 ATM of pressure. Of course, you get a thick sapphire crystal on top and a solid titanium case back.
Inside the Squale Master × Palombari Comsubin ticks the common Sellita SW200-1 in its Elaboré execution. That is precisely what you would expect from a watch like this from Squale. You operate it via the screw-down crown at the typical 4 o’clock position. This is a tad fiddly, but it does keep it from sticking into your hand while wearing the watch and is a sensible trade-off in the spirit of diving functionality. The blue dial features the Palombari del Comsubin logo at 6 and the date at 3 o’clock.
We have a unidirectional 120-click bezel with a brushed ceramic inlay. Comsubin requested it to be fitted with a lumed triangle only. Squale often lumes all bezel markings these days, but not this time. The watch comes on a rubber strap, with the camo strap included as an additional option. The certificate is specific for the 80 pieces for the Palombari del Comsubin and for the civilian versions. So if the issued ones ever come to market, they will be identifiable.
Wearing the Squale Master × Palombari Comsubin
Granted, I have only had a few hours with this watch, so this is not a full review. My first impression, however, is one of awe. As you may know, I own several Squale watches, but I have never ventured into anything more substantial than my 1521. This is the same shape, but it is considerably thicker.
It is safe to say, then, that this isn’t the everyday type of dive watch. Upon handling it, it’s very clear that it isn’t designed for desk divers like me. I think you will likely either be an actual diver or a collector if you are going for this watch (or both, of course). And this is what makes this watch so cool. It is uncompromising and unapologetic about what it is — a time-telling device to use deep underwater in the toughest of circumstances.
Another thing that jumped out at me was the use of color. Squale often uses bright blues, and this one doesn’t disappoint in that respect. Of course, the Marina Militare dictated the color, but it somehow suits Squale to a tee. Combined with the brushed ceramic bezel, orange details, and sandwich dial, this is something to behold.
I love seeing watch brands cooperate with professionals in the field, such as military units. It shows that mechanical watches are still very much alive, serving a purpose beyond mere collecting. To see units like the Palombari del Comsubin rely on Squale watches is downright impressive.
I am sure the 420 units for the general public will be snapped up in no time. But if you buy one, promise me you will not jump out of an airplane to dive down to some rogue mine at great depth, will ya? Just take it to the pool and let the Palmobari del Comsubin worry about all that action-hero stuff. Just enjoy the notion that you could if you wanted to. It will be safer for everyone. Trust me.
The Squale Master × Palombari Comsubin is priced at €1,990 / CHF 1,740 / US$1,790 / £1,690 and is available on the Squale website now.
What do you think of the new Squale Master × Palombari Comsubin? Let us know in the comments below!