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The Squale Sub-39 GMT Vintage is a new model in Squale’s retro collection. Sister models already exist, but the dark green color of the dial is new. Nevertheless, this is reason enough to present a portrait of the Sub-39. These are the highlights of the model!
Sub-39: Vintage. GMT. New.
Squale’s Sub-39 collection is about to undergo major changes. The Swiss diving watch manufacturer regularly updates its series. As a retailer, you can quickly find out which references are being discontinued and which new models await us in the coming weeks. This Sub-39 GMT Vintage (reference number SUB-39GMGR) is brand new and has only been available for a few days. As I am an official Squale dealer, this also applies to my store.
Sub-39 with GMT complication? Anyone familiar with the Squale model range will know that this combination is not entirely new. Two references, SUB-39GMTV and SUB-39GMTB, have been available for some time – just not with a dark green dial and color gradient. We already know this look from the Squale 1521 Green Ray, an extremely popular model. I have already introduced you to the bestseller 1521. The new GMT watch from Squale’s retro series is therefore reason enough to introduce the Sub-39. In my opinion, the world timepieces in this collection are the most beautiful wristwatches in the Squale cosmos – oh yes, and they are also among the most expensive, let me say that right away.
Diver’s watches with GMT complications are extremely popular. Every self-respecting tool watch manufacturer will have one or other interpretation of this hybrid. How practical, since the diver’s watch and GMT watch share the same bezel, which can be used for both diving and traveling. 2 in 1, that sounds attractive, as does the prospect of (in theory) being able to swim and travel the world with it. Whether you really use and need both functions is a story for another time.
My first impression
But that’s not the point. Hey, the Squale Sub-39 GMT Vintage looks great – with a green dial as well as in the black or blue version. The name suffix ‘Vintage’, which says it all, is decisive. The reference is definitely a timepiece for the eye and is strongly reminiscent of the first diver’s watches of the late 50s and 60s. Dot indices that don’t seem to be bursting at the seams, kept in the brownish Old Radium shade, immediately catch the eye. They are also a distinguishing feature of diver’s watches that have aged gracefully. They glow in the dark thanks to SuperLumiNova luminous material. In general, the Squale Sub-39 GMT Vintage exudes a certain calm and elegance, without appearing overloaded or ostentatious. This may also be due to the otherwise uncluttered dial, which this time only features Squale lettering. The distinctive shark is missing, at least at this point.
Just over half a century ago, Squale was a recognized manufacturer of waterproof cases for other brands. It was precisely this shark logo that marked these cases as a kind of seal of quality and reminded people who was also involved in the manufacture of the watch, despite the different brand name.
Nevertheless, the shark lettering is a must. You can find it on the back, where it adorns the case back.
The Squale Sub-39 GMT Vintage on the wrist
Instead of the shark, a small crown can be seen above the Squale-S in the lettering, which in turn pays homage to the “VON” logo. As an independently managed brand, the company is rightly proud of its founding father Charles von Büren, who designed the first diving watches in the 1950s and played a key role in laying the foundations for today’s success. It is worth paying attention to such subtleties.
The name of the series, Sub-39, refers to the size of the case. The diameter of the Squale Sub-39 GMT Vintage is rather compact at 39 millimetres, which is not quite right. Its GMT bezel protrudes slightly beyond the edge of the case. With this (extra) calculation, Squale arrives at the 40 millimetres stated online and in the catalog. Either way, the timepiece is based on the dimensions that used to be standard. The fact that the Sub-39 GMT Vintage really is “vintage” can be seen in every corner.
Details of the case
Unsurprisingly, the case is made of 316L stainless steel. As usual, Squale relies on brushed and even more on polished surfaces, which are more susceptible to scratches. However, if you take care, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem, as I can report from experience. My Squale 1521 Classic, which I wear almost every day in my private life, is “carved” from similar wood or stainless steel. You could theoretically dive to depths of 300 meters with the Squale Sub-39 GMT Vintage. Other collections such as the 1521 or the 2002 outperform the retro series, but this remarkable value is still impressive.
The 24-hour marking on the bezel is typical of GMT watches. The bezel inlay features a finely serrated milling and is covered with K1 safety glass, i.e. mineral glass. This is a little surprising, as the traditional manufacturer otherwise makes generous use of sapphire crystal.
The large crown, which widens towards the top and can be easily operated thanks to its lateral grooves, is striking, even when it gets wet.
Why GMT is not just GMT
The Sub-39 GMT Vintage is powered by a Sellita SW 330-1, which comes in the Elaboré version. The Swiss manufacturer promises a rate accuracy of +/- 7 seconds per day. However, the caliber does not make the Sub-39 GMT a “flyer” GMT for frequent travelers. Here, the GMT hand indicates the time in a different time zone. In other words, the hour hand cannot be set to jump in both directions, which makes it impossible to quickly adjust the local time after landing. However, “Flyer” or “Traveller” GMT watches are characterized by precisely this feature. You should be aware of this important difference between the two common GMT caliber variants before buying your new watch.
The steel bracelet (22 millimetres), which is quite wide in the lug area, tapers towards the clasp. Its middle section is polished, which makes the watch look even more chic. A solid folding clasp ensures a secure fit. As an alternative to the stainless steel version, you can also order the green GMT with a rubber strap.
My conclusion on the Squale Sub-39 GMT Vintage
With a brand that only produces diving watches and offers several collections, it’s easy to wonder whether the series differ at all in terms of function and appearance. A diver’s watch is a diver’s watch, right? No, at least not with Squale, as the Sub-39 proves. As a representative of the series, the SUB-39GMGR reference tested here shows that it can be independent enough. Its retro design and GMT complication are a unique selling point within the Swiss brand world. The implementation does not disappoint either. High-quality materials are what you expect and what you get. But you can expect that at a price of CHF 1,750.00. After all, we are in the lowest premium segment. With a rubber strap, the price is CHF 1,600.00.
Pay attention to the type of GMT caliber before buying. If you insist on a “traveler” GMT, you will unfortunately not be happy with the Squale Sub-39 GMT Vintage. Setting up the new time zone in no time at all – that really doesn’t work with this timepiece. It is more interesting to use the GMT hand to keep an eye on foreign time zones, for example, when family members are on vacation or colleagues are on a business trip.
Additional diving qualities make the Sub-39 GMT Vintage a real all-rounder.
All further information and links about the watch and Squale in general can be found below. As I am an official Squale dealer, you can of course also buy the watch in my store.