The new Squarestreet Aluminum isn’t square but it is the lightest watch I’ve had on my wrist since my first Swatch in the 1980s. A Sweden-born designer living in Hong Kong has produced a fashion watch worth wearing and weighing.
When it arrived in the mail, I immediately realized the photos I saw in the press release didn’t do it justice. This watch has a delicate dial design with concentric rings pressed in the aluminum dial from the center of the watch to the outer chapter ring. Its use of small numerals contrasted with its larger, 42mm case. But most of all, this thing was a light as a handful of quarters.
The T6061 Aircraft Grade Aluminum case sounds impressive, and if you wanted to learn the chemical compounds of this specific alloy, you’re reading the wrong article. What I took from my research was that it’s light weight, strong and is resistant to corrosion. Since the one on my wrist is a test drive, I haven’t taken outside to do yard work or chased the kids around the house with it on my wrist. This is not that kind of watch, anyhow. This is a sleek professional looking watch that you will forget is on your wrist. In fact, you will not notice wearing it, but those around you will.
The 42mm diameter is a pretty standard, contemporary size watch and on my wrist it wears very well. I’m partial to the 38-40mm range but really like the way this one occupies the space on my wrist. It keeps a low profile at 8mm and weighs a nothing 30g, which is about the weight of four to five U.S. quarters. The weight is really incredible, but if you are accustomed to the heft of a dive watch, be prepared for a shock and the feeling that the watch is empty.
The Squarestreet Aluminum has a mineral glass crystal and does not have any anti-reflective coating on it. As I write this, and check the time, I see it catches the light and throws it all over the dial. The anti-reflective coating might be something that would enhance the visibility of the dial, since it has few contrasting features that stand out over the glare. There are no significant markers on the white (or is it silver?) dial, except for the Arabic numerals from 1-60 on the outer-most ring. The hour markers on the next closest ring to the center are bolder and easier to find and align nicely with the hour hand.
There is no lume on the watch and depending on how the light hits these hands, they sometimes appear black and not the polished look you’d expect. The dial-to-hands contrast does challenge those who struggle to see in low light. (You know who you are.)
The numerals appear to be pressed and painted on the dial which provides a subtle outline between the numbers and the grooves in the dial.
The two additional functions are nicely arranged on the sparse face with the sub second register at 6’oclock and a date window at 3 o’clock. The register has just four Arabic numbers marking the 15, 30, 45 and 60 seconds and are legible enough. The same style for the date numeral exists but is larger and more legible size.
The movement for this watch is the Swiss Ronda Normtech 6004.D with date, small second and two hands. This is slim quartz movement with a typical battery life of 40 months.
The aluminum satin finish covers the entire case from the bezel down the fixed lugs to the back of the watch, which is home for the subtly printed brand and battery information. The crown smiles with three rows of aluminum teeth for the gripping and is perfectly sized for the dial. It’s a shame you don’t have to wind this watch, because I like the detail on the crown and found myself winding it with the empty turn of a battery-powered watch.
The case back is attached at four points by screws which are visible on the back. The 18mm black Italian leather strap sounds more special than it appears, but it does wear well and includes an engraved fastener. It does seem proportionally smaller than the lug-width require, and I could see this redesigned to bump up the strap to 20mm at the least. Regardless, it’s a sleek, smooth strap and after a few wears, it made itself at home on my wrist.
Time and daily wear will tell how this aluminum watch holds up to normal wear. Other colors may hide or highlight wear, so consider that when you see the other versions with grey and black dials, in gold and black cases. Be on the lookout for a mechanical version too, but in the meantime, I consider this a carefree-quartz with a sharply designed, super lightweight case with a fashionable style for $275. http://www.squarestreet.se/
- Brand & Model: Squarestreet Aluminum
- Price: USD $275
- Who we think it might be for: This is for your young designer friends who hasn’t discovered vintage watches and who wants something a little different from the Target display shelf.
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: I would consider having this watch, but would wait for the mechanical movement.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: I would consider adding some anti-reflective coating to the mineral crystal and wider lugs with strap.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: I love aluminum and appreciate the weight-to-price-ratio compared to other material like titanium.
- Brand Model: Squarestreet Aluminum SQ31 AS-04
- Movement (technology): Swiss Ronda Normtech 6004.D with date, small second and two hands D
- Size of case diameter (mm): 42mm
- Height of case: 8mm
- Weight: 30g
- Case material: T6061 Aircraft Grade Aluminum case
- Case Back: T6061 Aircraft Grade Aluminum
- Crown: T6061 Aircraft Grade Aluminum
- Crystal/Glass material: Mineral glass
- Water resistance (m/ft/atm): 50m/5ATM
- Strap/Bracelet material: 18mm Black Italian Leather Strap
- Warranty: Two year warranty
- Illumination: None