If you take a look through your watch storage you will probably notice a few trends. Lots of black dials, maybe, or several divers; maybe you are a fan of chronographs or vintage watches. One trend that might not be obvious right away is that of round watch cases. Most of us with more than a few watches in our collection will probably notice a lack of alternative watch case shapes. This post is an attempt to shake that up a bit and introduce some squareness to your watch box. Here are ten options, from $50 to $5000 to make your time square. (All prices in USD.)
Movement: Japanese Quartz
Starting at the simple end is this quartz powered square Pulsar on a bracelet. It has a nice size at 41mm with 22mm lugs making options for a strap very customizable. It has a Hardlex crystal protecting the brown dial to keep things safe in the event of a crystal bump. The brown dial has some nice texture in the center of the markers and the text is kept simple so as to not be overly distracting. Overall the watch has a nice mix of sporty and dress looks with legible markers and hands and 100M water resistance. A nice introduction to square watches for those on a budget.
Movement: Citizen Eco-Drive Quartz
The second watch on the list is also a quartz like the Pulsar, but this time it is an Eco-Drive eliminating those pesky battery changes. This sick, racy looking Citizen sports a chronograph along with a 24 hour hand and date on the dial. The case size is a modest 40mm, however the lugs are a bit odd sized at 27mm which means it may require some hunting for an alternative strap. The dial is a nice blue-gray color with a matching strap; the case and strap have yellow-green accents for a hint of extra color, but not overwhelming to the senses. Citizen builds solid watches that last making this chronograph a smart choice.
Movement: 21 Jewel Automatic
Bulova provides an alternative look on the square watch with this black IP offering. The black case and strap make it a stealthy looking piece yet with a still legible dial. The watch has 22mm lugs and clocks in at 13.5mm thick. Arrow hands are lumed at the tips and the seconds hand stretches right to the hash marks with the Accutron tuning fork at the end. The dial does have a cut-away to show the “heartbeat” of the watch, which some may find breaks up the dial and detracts from the watch. Still, even with just this small porthole it can be fun to see the moving parts. The question is what specifically is the “21 Jewel Automatic Movement” inside the 98A130. Given that Citizen owns Bulova a good bet is that a Miyota Citizen movement is inside. In any case it is an affordable and attractive square watch with a name on the dial with a long horological history.
Movement: Orient automatic caliber 46S56
Our first automatic watch on the list is the affordable Orient Noble, model CFHAD004B0. The watch features an exposed movement at 9 o’clock for those that like to see things ticking away inside (also good to show to your non-watch nerd friends). It almost seems an Orient trademark these days for their watches to have a power reserve and the Noble is no different: the watch has a 40 hour power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock. Some may argue against the need for a power reserve on an automatic watch but if this is not a daily driver and there is no watch winder available the power reserve then becomes useful. Seconds are tracked via the sub-dial at 6 o’clock over a centered seconds hand. The Noble is a bit more dressy than our first two watches and would slip nicely under the cuff of a dress shirt for your 9 to 5.
Normally our list of suggestions include current model watches that are presently in production; an exception is being made for this very fine Tissot. Although not currently in production there are several sources still for this fine, square timepiece. The Tisso Quadrato automatic is 34mm square with a length (from lug to lug) is 37.5mm; as square watches tend to wear larger than the are the dimensions of the Quadrato would make it look perfect on the wrist. The hands are thick yet stylish and the seconds hand forms the Tissot “T” at the end. The movement can be seen through the interesting display back and the watch has a water resistance rating of 100M. The bracelet on the Quadrato looks solid and clearly pays tribute to the TAG Heuer Monaco bracelet. One piece of information that was not as easy to track down is the exact movement inside; most sources say just “automatic”. While the watch is labeled as Swiss Made it would still be nice to know exactly what is ticking away inside. The watch can be found from reputable sellers for a nice price for this wonderful looking Tissot.
Movement: ETA 2824-2 Automatic Movement
Hamilton’s Jazzmaster line has included a number of model variations all with similar style elements, including a model with a square case. The 38.5mm by 38.5mm case has a sapphire crystal and 24mm lugs. The dial contains stylish numerals and stick markers along with the date. Additionally the dial is kept clean with minimal text on the dial. The 100M water resistant watch is available with a few strap and bracelet options as well as black and silver dial colors. The Jazzmaster is clearly in the more dressy vein of watches but would still work well with a casual shirt and jeans. Another winner from Hamilton.
Movement: ETA 7750 Automatic
If you want to be technical the Steinhart Aviation Chronograph is not 100% square, but for a Swiss automatic chronograph under $1k USD we’re going to let it slide into the list. The model is based upon the same case used in their Aviation Automatic watch line which take their design cues from plane cockpit instruments. The case does have a slight round to it but mostly retains a square figure with four clear corners. The movement is the Swiss automatic ETA 7750 chronograph movement with the day of the week option removed from the dial. The chronograph minutes and hours subdials are halved with dual colored hands to indicate which track of numbers to reference. It’s a unique look for the 44mm x 44mm watch, which also has a sapphire crystal and display back with engraved rotor. Steinhart makes great watches backed up by great customer service.
Movement: ETA 2892-A Automatic Movement
As with the Steinhart the definition of square is being bent a bit with the AM2 Automatic. However, even though not 100% square the March LA.B AM2 has a place on our list nevertheless. The AM2 comes in several combinations of dial colors and strap/bracelet choices. The slightly rounded case is only interrupted (in a good way) buy the beefy screw down crown. The watch has a retro feel to and might remind some of watch designs from the 1960’s or 70’s. The case is 38mm with the aforementioned screw down crown and 100M water resistance. The date wheel is customized and is white on black with a border on the dial. It makes the date visible and one aware of the function without the date wheel standing out by being black on white. A simple dial and ETA movement round out the impressive package that is the AM2.
Movement: NOMOS calibre a (Alpha)
The Nomos Tetra is clearly a square watch with a distinctive look and style. It is a bit smaller than other options at 29.5mm x 29.5mm but is only 6.3mm thick. The crystal is sapphire, including the display back which is affixed with four screws. The movement is the NOMOS caliber a (Alpha) movement which is an in house hand wind movement with 43 hours of power reserve. The dial is simplistic and classy in its design and legibility. The watch is available in a number of dial colors as well as case materials. It is a wonderful square dress watch with an in-house movement.
Movement: TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 12
No list of square watches would be complete without the iconic TAG Heuer Monaco. The watch is well known for being on the wrist of actor Steve McQueen (which instantaneously shot up its already high “cool rating”) in the 1971 film “LeMans”. The watch has a 39mm square case, classic blue dial and 20mm lugs. The watch is a chronograph with a 30 minute register at 9 o’clock and running seconds at 3 o’clock; it clearly has a racing inspired look to it. Truly a classic of modern watches, the Monaco should be on any watch-nerd’s wish list.
There you have it, ten square watches from $50 to almost $5,000. If you have any others that come to mind mention them in the comments!