We finally received an e-mail from Squale SA confirming our production schedule and we are proud and confident to say we are ready to launch our limited edition 'Subino Corso Italiano.'
In the age of smartwatches, trying to sell classic mechanical watches is a great challenge for a small watch shop like us. To succeed we believe in making quality timepieces instead of only focusing on business expansion. Rather than introducing 10 different models of watches, we focused on 1 model with a historically unique personality. Our project ‘Corso’ started with this belief in mind.
We are always grateful to our supporters and customers. In this article, we will share our love and knowledge of our watches. Please enjoy it till the end.
squale corso italiano
The watch industry has had 3 paradigm shifts throughout the years. There was an era of mechanical watches in the 1960s, and there was a big shift to quartz watches from mechanical watches 1980s. We now call this the Quartz crisis. Lastly in the 2000s, with smartwatches.
The 1960s were the golden age of mechanical watches and for us watch enthusiasts, we love the inconvenience and charm of mechanical watches. Although we live in a world where mechanical watches are no longer need to tell the time, a small group of people remains to find it indispensable.
To understand our love for mechanical watches, let’s go back in time to the golden age of mechanical watches in the 1960s. When we see a vintage mechanical watch, we can feel the nostalgia of the days when this little wristwatch was the device to tell the most accurate time. This was a period when a wristwatch was not an accessory but a necessity to tell the time.
If we look into the types of tool watches that represent the 1960s, B-Uhr is the most symbolic pilot watch of the era. For chronograph, it would be the Omega Speedmaster(moon watch) and for dive watches it would be Submariner and Fifty Fathoms.
Subino Corso Italiano was a collaboration with Squale SA. It was inspired by the dive watches of the 60s, particularly the Fifth Fathoms. In the past, there was a special type of Fifty Fathoms released by a French watch shop LIP. It was released for civilians and was supplied to the US Navy SEALs as a product of Tornek-Rayville, an American defense contractor.
The Fifty Fathoms released with a Subino case by the shops, namely, AquaLung and Baracuda records high bids in an auction. Beyond its honor as the first dive watch in 1953, it is being loved as a common heritage of the watch industry and diving industry. Although it seems complicated, all of these are based on its glittering history.
image ©european watch co
We firmly believe that the case of the Submariner 5521 from the 1960s has the most exceptional case proportion and functionality. This is why people who experienced or own a Submariner are not easily attracted to wear other dive watches.
For a long time, we were confident that no other watches could come close to the Submariner from this era; however, we were pleasantly surprised by the Subino case. This got us researching more about the Fifty Fathoms watches in the 1960s, because it was as remarkable as the Submariner.
image ©european watch co
We can still remember the time when we first saw Squale’s 60th Year Edition Subino. We were so surprised and realized we needed to dive deeper into Squale’s historic archives. The layered mid-case design demonstrates a genuine Italian design and we believe that it is a masterpiece case design.
image ©squale sa
Let’s examine Subino in the history of Squale. Subino, which means “Submariner” in Italian, was the most famous waterproof case of the period. The Subino case was indeed used as the waterproof case for many Fifty Fathoms dive watches in the 1960s. It was the best waterproof case in Europe back then. The soft iron gasket was made with precision and it sealed the case-back under compression. Although the case diameter is bigger, now at 39mm, it still retains the original proportion of the elegant classic watch from the original 35mm-diameter case, which was used for the Fifty Fathoms by Tornek-Rayville and LIP.
subino 3920 case
Last February, we visited the Squale SA headquarter in Switzerland. We designed the dial, case, accessories, packaging and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to bring the product to the global market.
We decided on reference number 3920 for our case design which was designed by us. We wanted to incorporate our philosophy that we learned throughout the years into this design. We reduced the lug width and ergonomically adjusted the position of the lug hole so the spring bar is not too far or close to the case for perfect strap changes. We even 3d printed out the case in advance and wore it on our wrist to test every aspect of the watch.
The first alteration from the original Subino 39 case was performed on the lug width. We reduced it from 22mm to 20mm. Considering that the original case had a diameter of 35mm and a lug width of 18mm, 21mm would be proportionally right. However, 21mm is hated by many enthusiasts for its uncommon size. For the easy strap change, most prefer the lug width of 20mm. With this small, but impactful change, owners can enjoy different strap options as this watch is a strap monster.
The second alteration was performed on the lug length. After many trials of testing, we realized by reducing the lug to lug size and the position of the lug hole from its international release made the lug to lug hole to be just close enough to the case to a nice strap on without having the strap rub against the case. This intentional change made the watch look great on any straps.
Lastly, we wanted to change the transversal angle of the lugs’ arch by 1 degree to an extent that it is unnoticeable in the eyes of the customers. However, we concluded that we would be deviating too much from the original case design and take away the beauty from the big head bezel and mid-case proportion design that Squale is known for.
high quality spring bars
We carefully selected the spring bars that are most fitting for our newly designed case with ergonomically placed lug holes. For casual buyers, the spring bars seem unimportant, but here at Whatawatches, we wanted a perfect size to match our improved design. We realized that solid proportionally thick spring bars made the straps fit onto the case perfectly without any play. After many trial tests, we decided on 20mm width spring bars with a thickness of 1.8mm and end pieces size of exactly 0.9mm for a snug fit.
We have seen various types of watches but only a few brands put this amount of attention to details on getting the spring bars just right for the case. Good-quality spring bars are fundamental to strap replacement. To maximize our enjoyment of the watch, every aspect of the watch must be utilized properly including the spring bars.
The spring bars that are provided for Corso watch are from Everest Horology. They are the only manufacturer of spring bars that has a similar quality to Rolex. We haven’t seen any aftermarket spring bars that are better fitting on our Corso watch.
Generally, spring bars are not part of the customer's key point to purchase. If this contrapositive is true, then a spring bar is a component of the watch that we can cut down on the cost. However, we believe in attention to detail and quality products so we invested in the finest spring bars that we could find.
The dial was inspired by the 1960s watch that targeted french civilians by LIP, equipped with a Subino case. The isosceles triangular shape markers with sharp piercing tips bring unique symmetry to the dial. Nowadays, dials with the Date function are common. However, in a timeless vintage design, we believe a simple and symmetrical watch dial design appealed to us more than the benefits of the date complication on the dial. In the end, we chose triangle markers on a dial without a date to capture the vintage feel of the 1960s. Maybe Corso will be the first and only dive watch with a triangular marker dial that our customers have throughout their watch collecting journey.
shell cordovan leather
For the strap, we used leather from Horween Leather Co. in Chicago, USA. Shell cordovan from Horween is made with an authentic method and only a small amount can be produced at a time. We are certain that the owners of Corso will love our unique strap design and feel. Korean artisan 'Edd Fitters' will make the straps.
The beauty of Horween’s Shell cordovan comes from the freckled stains with unique colors on the strap. The leather ages beautifully with use and it will hug the owner’s wrist with time. It is designed for a vintage look and is resistant to moisture.
All our Horween’s Shell cordovan are handmade straps. Unlike other workshops, we do not add leather to the inner part of the strap to change the overall aesthetic. We only use the Horween leather as it is even if it is a little thin.
acier tropic buckle
We named the buckle TROPIC, it is the acier buckle for dive watches. It was originally designed and used in the 1960s. The workshop that made this buckle had disappeared and it is impossible to acquire an authentic buckle. To solve this issue we sought after a factory that can make buckles using a traditional manufacturing method instead of manufacturing it by CNC system.
What we look for is a vintage look and feel for the buckle and that is why the buckles were not cut perfectly by the Computer Numerical Control system. They were pressed and made through a traditional method. This is why every buckle is not the same with some corners round and irregular.
We used the old method of drilling holes on the buckles and designed Push-type shoulder-less spring bars to fit the buckle like a glove. The taper of the leather strap is beautifully executed from 20mm to 16mm. With a tapering high-quality leather strap, your wrist will comfortable with a sophisticated look.
marine nationale nato (optional)
We optionally provide the MN Nato strap for the watch. It was made from parachute bag straps that were used during the Wars by the French Marin Nationale(MN). This strap is very comfortable and securely holds the watch on the wrist with its elastic fabric materials.
The strap is a collaborative work with Erika’s Originals based in Spain. We chose a buckle to be brushed to match the tool watch aesthetic and asked Squale for permission to use their logo on the buckle to match the watch. The color of the strap we chose is Sahara desert color for a unique look that matches ‘Corso’ collection. This Squale strap is exclusive to our shop.
'hinoki' portable watch case
For this collection, the packaging was co-produced with Toyooka Craft Japan. Mr. Yamazaki Toru, the CEO of Toyooka Craft commented that in a Private Rolex Museum in Japan most of the original boxes for the vintage Rolex are usually non-existent. However, they provide the highest quality wooden watch case to hold the special timepiece inside. We wanted to bring this kind of attentiveness to our products.
The Corso portable watch case is exclusive to our shop and it is made of a special wood called ‘Hinoki’. We only used the highly demanded bottom part of the cypress tree, which is regarded to have the highest quality of wood. A translucent black lacquer was applied 4 times with the traditional Japanese lacquer technique. This brings out unique patterns and reflections under natural light.
Hinoki wood emits a naturally antibacterial phytoncide scent. It will be more durable than your average wood case. In Japan, the bottom part of the Hinoki wood is considered to be the best in the country. The quality of the wood is at such a standard that the Japanese woodworkers will cringe at applying any lacquer over the Hinoki wood.
With investment from the Japanese government, Toyooka Craft developed a special lacquer painting technique on Hinoki wood. This took 4 years to develop, but it was well worth the trouble as the special lacquer technique allows the color to sink in with the slight translucent property.
After quietly observing the watch industry. Although it may be controversial, it seems like watches with mediocre performance and quality have a very aggressive marketing budget. They compensate for their lack of quality by packaging their watches in bigger and heavier boxes.
Here at Whatawatches we firmly believe that a watch box should be on your desk and carried with you storing your timepiece, not stored in the closet and never to be seen. We spent 8 months designing and co-producing our portable watch box. We devoted our time and effort to produce the highest quality case that will last a very long time. We only hope our customer cherishes the case with love.
eta 2824-2 movement
The movement inside Corso is ETA 2824-2 movement. Most of the international editions from Squale use Sellita movement, but we were able to secure the last supplies of the ETA movement. It is a proven workhorse movement that will not fail in the years to come.
launching of corso italiano
There will be only 500 pieces made in the world. It will be first released in South Korea and to the world. Corso was designed to be a vintage-inspired watch. We hope the watch will age with the user with sentimental memories for the years to come.
Corso embodies the quality and beauty expected from watch enthusiasts around the world. As a project planner of this project, here at Whatawatches, we hope Corso finds an owner who shares our passion and love for the watch.
We are thankful for all our customers who helped us on our Corso project. Without our supporters, we would not have been able to finish our project. We realize it is a difficult time in our lives at the moment due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It seems like the vaccine for Covid-19 is coming soon and we hope everyone is safe. We thank you to anyone who made it this far reading our love story.
Our name is engraved on the inner part of the case-back. We wish this engraving will be overwritten by the signatures and marks of maintenance in the years to come.
SQUALE SUBINO 3920 CORSO ITALIANO
WHATAWATCHES ™ Exclusive
Architectured by Hartist / South Korea
Co-produced by Squale SA / Swiss
Co-produced by Horween Leather Co / USA
Co-produced by Eddfitters / South Korea
Co-produced by Toyooka Craft / Japan
Co-produced by Erika's Originals / Spain
Procured Spring Bar from Everest / USA
We take pride in every element of Corso.
The customers are the greatest teachers.