When it comes to watches, round cases are perhaps the first thing that comes to mind – for both enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike.
It is not difficult to see the association. After all, we dare say that the majority of watches available in the market today, and even in the past, are mostly fitted with a round case. Only a minority of them feature a different case profile – including the square case.
Hence, for this week, we think that it might be a good time to celebrate watches with a square case. We believe that we should celebrate designs, and especially good ones. There are definitely some great square watches out there – with a few even attaining iconic status in the horological world. It will also be a great opportunity for others to be acquainted with such watches and perhaps even consider adding one into their collection.
So, what are some of our favourite square watches? Without any further ado, let us find out!
When SEVENFRIDAY first debuted in 2012, it took the industry by surprise. Here, we have a timepiece that not only refuses to conform to design norms with its rounded case and unusual dial, but it was priced aggressively below US$2,000 for most of its offerings. It definitely created a lot of buzz, and certainly did very well for the new kid in town.
Over the years, SEVENFRIDAY have continued to inject vibrancy into the scene through new designs, collections, and incorporated more striking colour schemes. The P3/07 Kuka III – made in collaboration with a robotics company named KUKA AG – is an example where the bright orange scheme was used in contrast to the black PVD-coated stainless steel case. The result is a bold, but conversational timepiece.
Priced at US$1,200 (approximately S$1,599), the P3/07 still retains the DNA that makes SEVENFRIDAY so unique and desirable amongst collectors. We reckon if you want something different in your collection, the SEVENFRIDAY P-series might just do the trick.
NOMOS Glashütte Tetra Petit Four
One of the brands that have attained some traction in recent years is NOMOS, a small watch manufacturer that is based in Glashütte. The brand focuses on producing simple, Bauhaus-inspired pieces with superb in-house movements. And sometimes, quirky pieces as well.
The Tetra Petit Four for example of an interesting timepiece done right. The manual-winding timepiece is a novelty from Baselworld 2018, in which it features a 29.5mm square case and an in-house movement. It is finished decently, and it boasts a power reserve of around 43 hours. The main highlight lies in the dial colours, in which it offers four different variations: Pearl, Azure, Grenadine, and Matcha. The colours are light, and they are definitely pleasing to the eye.
For those who have not owned a German watch before, the NOMOS Tetra Petit Four is perhaps an interesting watch that you might want to consider. The watch is certainly a conversational piece, with its interesting design and an excellent in-house movement to match. Prices begin at S$2,950, and the watches will be aptly paired with a supple Shell Cordovan strap.
Bell & Ross Instruments Collection
Bell & Ross, a company founded in 1992, is a watch manufacturer that is known for producing timepieces that were inspired by flight instruments.
The Instruments collection, as the nomenclature suggests, were highlighted by the various flight instruments that are found in an airplane’s cockpit. This includes – but not limited to – the clock, bi-compass, HUD display, and the altimeter. It was certainly refreshing, and one that had garnered a strong following since its inception in the last three decades.
Besides its dial design, the case is also something that made the timepiece rather unique. Again, taking cues from the cockpit instruments, it has successfully introduced the concept of square watches to the masses – especially within the entry-level luxury watches category.
The BR03-92 Full Lum, as seen in the picture above, is one of the latest offerings from the brand. It features an interesting concept, where both the rubber strap and dial are filled with luminescence material. The watch retails at S$5,700, and we reckon it is an interesting watch that further reinforces the cool factor of this manufacturer.
Gorilla Fastback GT Drift “Elise”
As the brainchild of Octavio Garcia and Lukas Gopp, Gorilla aims to target adventurous watch collectors with their unusual take on timepieces. The 44mm Fastback GT Drift “Elise”, notably, achieved this with the elusive “wandering hours” mechanism – typically seen on high-end independent brands such as Urwerk and H. Moser & Cie.
Powering the Fastback GT is an ETA 2824-2 movement, coupled with a Vaucher module. The use of such a combination ensures that Gorilla can keep its prices modest, and yet allow consumers to enjoy an unusual complication without compromising on the quality or performance. Additionally, the self-winding movement beats at 28,800 bph and it has a power reserve of around 36 hours.
The Gorilla Fastback GT Drift “Elise” is limited to a production of 350 pieces, and this special model has a case that is made up of four different materials: Ceramic, aluminium, titanium and carbon fibre. It is priced at S$5,088, and it is certainly a well-priced timepiece that makes it relatively more accessible for collectors who are looking for a conversational piece with an uncommon complication.
The Cartier Santos is yet another timepiece with an interesting story behind it. It is hardly believable that the highly fashionable Santos was originally created as a pilot’s watch, but the iconic timepiece from Cartier does have its roots embedded in the aviation world in the early 20th century.
At the first glance, it is pretty difficult to put two and two together. The Santos is known to be an iconic timepiece from an equally legendary brand, but the history of the watch is much more than that. The watch, notably, is known as the first pilot’s wristwatch that was ever produced. It is designed after a pilot friend of Louis Cartier wanted a timepiece that can be strapped on the wrist, and hence the Santos was born.
Over the years, the Santos had multiple subtle updates to its design. However, its DNA remains, especially with its signature rounded square case and exposed screws. The latest iteration of the model is the Dumont XL, an ultra-thin dress watch with a sleek and elegant case profile. Retailing at S$8,400 for the base stainless steel manual-winding model, the Dumont XL is a reasonably-priced timepiece that offers a great provenance and an iconic design that is both timeless and elegant.
TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Special Edition
We round up the article with yet another icon – this time, in the form of the TAG Heuer Monaco Gulf Edition.
The TAG Heuer Monaco is a cool watch, embodied by the fact that it was once worn by the King of Cool (and racing) Steve McQueen. But it is not just that. The design itself comes from the late 1960s, which is the golden era for the brand and watch designs in general (up till the 1970s, and arguably some part of the 1980s as well). For a collection to withstand the test of time, and still retain its relevance up till today, is by no means a substantial and major achievement.
Powered by the Calibre 11 movement, the self-winding Monaco boasts a chronograph and date function, as well as a power reserve of around 40 hours. This particular watch retails at US$5,900 (approximately S$7,861), and its bold colours and design will certainly be a conversational piece amongst enthusiasts who are passionate about both racing and horology.
Although it is highly unusual, today’s article seems to have shown that there might perhaps be a little more square-cased watches than we had initially thought. And this is not a bad thing.
We think that square watches, especially with its case shape, certainly bring in more vibrancy into the watch scene. It is perhaps not a coincidence that with the more unusual case shape, brands have also decided to incorporate interesting dial designs or introduce bold colour schemes to match the case profile. The combination is strangely satisfying, and it certainly provides a breath of fresh air in most cases.
So, what are your thoughts on square watches? What are some of the square-cased watches that you have in your collection? Let us know in the comments section below!