It's been a rather interesting 1 and a half months for me, no thanks to Gnomon and Squale. For those of you who have been following my posts on WUS and my reviews on the Squale 20 ATMOS, you can probably gauge my interest in this line-up from Squale. A total of five, well, ok, five and a half or 5 + 1 models were introduced to date, with the first released on 2-Nov 2012.
As this rather memorable year draws to a close, I am rather doubtful that the Squale and Gnomon will be planning any new releases for this range for now. Anders looks like he needs a breather really, really bad. Therefore, I reckon it's apt that we should do a review and a recap of this range. Yes, I'll be doing a review of the latest offering - the DLC Classic in this post.
For the uninitiated, I'll just do a quick run down of the range, to date, with reference to the picture above (from left to right). First on the left, we have the Vintage, which was released together with the first release Classic on 2-Nov 2012. Next, we have the second release Classic. The third, and possibly the most popular model to hit the showroom is the Root Beer. The fourth is the Maxi and the latest and last of the line up, at least for now, is the DLC.
Why call it the Golliwog? I don't know about you but I see a slight resemblance. The shark logo at the bottom enhances it, imho. I hope no one is offended by this reference as there isn't any racist implications or intentions in my reference at all. For the record, I've always liked the Golliwog since I was a kid.
Now, let's talk about these watches.
Firstly, they all come in 40mm cases. The bracelets are tapered from 20mm-18mm. The bezel completes a full circle in 120 crisp clicks. There's hardly any free play so it's rather reassuring. Each click locks the bezel firmly into place.
The cyclops date window offers a 2.5x magnification and does a pretty decent job, unlike those on Steinhart's Ocean range which makes the magnifier seem more like a boob job that was not worth the effort. Pardon the comparison.
The screw-down crown is very reassuring and takes 5-7 turns to complete the lock-down and sequence. Furthermore, the threads are hidden from view. It's probably located at the top of the stem housing.
These watches come with diver's extensions. The later releases have extensions that look more modern. the Golliwog has DLC coated extensions as well. The Vintage and Classico models have more utilitarian looking extensions.
Another major difference is that the models released after the Vintage and Classico are fitted with screwed-in link bracelets while the former are fitted with split pin links.
Another difference is the clasp. The twin-lock clasps on the screwed-in links have the logo on the main clasp. Even the Golliwog has it nicely etched on it. While the earlier models fitted with split pin links have the logo on the secondary locking clasp.
I personally prefer the clasp on the Vintage and Classico as they are easier to remove. Unclipping the clasp on the later models is literally a nail-breaking experience. The end of the clasp seems to be bent further inward then the earlier models'.
The case backs of the first two models and the later 3 are also drastically diffeent. The earlier models (Vintage and Classico) have polished case backs with the Squale logo imprinted on it while the latter models have a burnished centre case back with serial number indicated on it.
Lume ranges from mediocre to average at best. But depends on the model.
The Individual Scrutiny
The main difference between each model is the dial. As such, the following section will focus mainly on this.
The Golden Oldie - The Vintage
This is the one I like most after the Root Beer. It uses a NOS (New Old Stock) dial and production is limited to a mere 20 or 30 pieces. This was launched with the Classico and was sold out within a few days of launch. The vintage look of this piece is unmistakable. The gilt markers and hands harks back to the glory days when the glitter of gold adds a certain level of classiness to the goods in question, particularly a timepiece.
As a testament to it's popularity, I have received 3 offers for my Vintage on 2 forums. The first two offers were received within a week of my purchase.
The Queen of the Pack - The Root Beer
Next, is my absolute fave - the Root Beer aka Brownie. This redhead stunner is easily the most popular of the range. The first batch of this sold out faster than the Vintage. Words can never describe it's beauty adequately. It's an absolute visual feast. It attracts attention like moths to a fire. It's not loud but yet attracts praises by the truckloads.
The Big-Eyed Boy - The Maxi
Firstly, the markers. They appear bigger than the rest of the range. This is because of the white borders surrounding them. The other unique feature is the colour of the dial. It's charcoal-grey hue swings hints at it's vintage inspiration. This, imho, is the most masculine in my collection. It's subtle yet bold at the same time. The colour of the dial is not that obvious until you place it next to a Classic.
A Classical Offering - The Classico and the Classic
I'd like to apologise for two things. Firstly, the pic above is very different from the earlier ones and the one to follow later because I had borrowed this watch from Anders for this review last week and I have since returned this to him. In case you're wondering why I have kept the plastic wrappers on the watch. Well, this is a loan set from Gnomon and I'm obliged to treat it with the utmost TLC. Secondly, I do not have any pic of the Classic to place alongside the Classico as Anders is completely stocked-out of it. Once again, my apologies.
I personally prefer the more serious, professional and grown-up look of the Classico. This is enhanced by the line of text above the 6 o'clock position. The design gurus at Squale have replaced the lines of text with the company logo. I personally feel that this is unnecessarily excessive. I feel that they have made the watch a little more casual with this approach.
The Golliwog - Classic DLC
The nickname Golliwog came to mind as just a couple of hours ago and this is explained earlier in the review. But to be honest, Stealth would have been a befitting nickname as well. I will attempt to spend more time on this piece as this has yet to be reviewed.
As it's all black, it looks rather small compared to it's stainless steel siblings. However, it feels a tad heavier than it's siblings. Probably due to the DLC coating? It also looks a bit chunkier from certain angles.
As its official name suggests, it uses the same dial as the Classic. Special mention has to be made about the coating. Comparing it against Steinhart's offering, I reckon this looks much better than Steinhart's. Surfaces are really smooth. The highly polished black surface of the case is satin-like visually.
My biggest gripe about this watch is the exposed, uncoated end at the clasp. This sticks out like a sore thumb thanks to it's black surface.
I recently discovered that Davosa has a similar range of watches in their Ternos Diver range. However, they are priced at almost doublt the sisze of the Maxi.
More pics for your viewing pleasure.
Case : 40mm
Lugs : 20mm
Movement : ETA 2824-2
Variants : Vintage, Classico, Classic, Root Beer, Maxi and DLC
- Price, affordability.
- Good finishing.
- Reliable movement.
- Beautiful Dial (Root Beer).
- Huge demand. Easy to get on at bargain basement prices.
- tight clasp that is hard to remove.
- Screw-in crown - takes 5/6 turns to completely screw down.
- Casual/ kiddish looking dial with two logos on the dial.
- Huge demand- even on the pre-owner market.
- Links are pretty hard to remove braselet link as too much loctite was used.
- Weak to average lume.