Squale 20 Atmos Vs. Rolex SubMariner Review

(Last Updated On: July 20, 2019)

If Price Matters

Ahhh, The underdog Squale 20 ATMOS up against one of the most historic watches by Rolex, the Submariner. They may look almost identical at first glance. You may not be able to tell them apart from afar. But the materials and time put into the creation of each watch differ drastically.

Let’s get this out of the way really quick. If you are in the market for a Rolex, more specifically, Rolex dive watches, I am sure you are seeking a watch that is either made by Rolex or similar quality. If you love the style of Rolex dive watches, but can’t seem to find enough money in your wallet, then Squale may open up a new door into the realm of affordable watches. When you are judging a watch based on quality, history, durability, and craftsmanship, there is no doubt that the Rolex Sub Mariner is a better watch than the Squale 20 ATMOS.

This conclusion does not mean that the Squale 20 ATMOS is a bad watch. It is, in fact, a very appealing watch for the price point. To be fair, it is hard to go up against a Goliath brand like Rolex. Now, without further delay, onto the REVIEW!

Feature Comparison

Rolex Submariner  Squale 20 ATMOS 
Rolex Swiss 3130 Movement Swiss ETA 2824-2 Automatic Movement
Flat Sapphire Crystal Flat Sapphire Crystal
Stainless steel Oyster Bracelet

with three piece links

Steel bracelet with Screw Links
40mm Case 40mm Case
Unidirectional 60-minute Bezel 120 click Bezel
2.5 Magnifying Cyclops 2.5 Magnifying Cyclops
Black dial w/ luminescent hands Black dial w/ luminescent hands
300m water resistance 200m water resistance

 

Squale 20 ATMOS

History of the brand

You may not have heard of the Italian watchmakers, Squale. But they have been creating watches since 1959. The founder of Squale, Charles Von Burren, started making watches since 1948 under his own name in Switzerland. At this time in history, dive watches were becoming a popular piece to have. Von Burren took notice of the trend and decided to create a dive watch of his own. He came up with the name Squale, which means shark in Italian. With that, he added the signature shark logo to his dials.

In 1959, Von Burren released the Squale Master. Although the watch was uniquely designed and a great, durable timepiece. It never became as popular as the competition such as Rolex and Omega. Today, Squale is an affordable substitute compared to many watches on the market. But are still widely unknown to those who are not Dive Watch “Enthusiasts.”

Movement and functionality

Squale uses a well-known movement for the timepieces they create, ETA. ETA movements are one of the most widely used movements and definitely known to be reliable. Inside the Squale 20 features an ETA 2824-2 movement.  An ETA 2824-2 has a 25 jewel movement running the watch. This gets the watch going at 28,000 vibrations per hour, offering a pretty smooth running piece. Overall, this is a great movement that is used in many watches today. When compared to Rolex Caliber movements, however, it falls short.

When used for diving, the Squale is a good watch for the price point. Up to 200m of water resistance and a waterproof, screw down crown. Just ENSURE that your crown is screwed down tightly. The luminescent hands offer great lighting to be easily read at depths that start to get dark.

Durability

When it comes to durability, the Squale 20 ATMOS is reliable. I would say compared to other watches around the same price range, the Squale is one of the more durable watches. Contrastly, when up against high-grade models like the Rolex Submariner, it is not as great.

The bracelet on this piece feels light and almost a bit too loose on the wrist. Usually, a dive watch should have a bracelet with a strong and somewhat heavy stainless steel bracelet. The Squale disappoints in this aspect. Besides the bracelet, Squale has a thick Bezel and bigger case that can handle an occasional fall. The crown boasts deep grooves for a better grip, which means more durability when diving so you can ensure your piece if fully screwed down.

Scratches are easier to obtain on this watch. So be wary when you wear the watch out in tough terrains or while participating in labor work. Altogether I would say the Squale 20 ATMOS is solid when it comes to durability. With a rating of 3.5/5.

Design and Style

A very good attribute of Squale watches is that they are very attractive. They basically mimic the Rolex Submariner look, with a few unique differences. The case is a great size at 40mm, my favorite case size for a watch, and looks great on the wrist. Partnered with the rotational thick Bezel insert, the watch provides great size and comfort when worn. Because of the unique traits and a style similar to the Submariner, I give this watch a 4.5/5 style rating.

*Another great watch around this price range is the Seiko USA III added this watch because Amazon is not currently selling any watches by Squale. So I thought I’d add a watch around the same price point for your convenience.

Value

IF YOU ARE IN THE MARKET FOR A MID GRADE WATCH, THIS WATCH IS WORTH IT! I can not stress that enough. Do not buy this watch expecting a Rolex or Omega in quality. You can not get that quality at this price point. But because this watch is so much cheaper; literally insanely cheaper! You are getting a great timepiece for the market price.

Not many watches of this caliber and style are as affordable as Squale, so you can be sure that you a getting a good deal. I am unsure if these watches hold their value over time since they are not as known as other brands. But at the time of purchase, that being right now, you are getting a great value for the price.

Because of all of these factors, I rate the watch a 5/5 for value.

Rolex Submariner

Old legends state that the Flying Dutchmen used to collect Rolex Submariners from the souls of sailors and divers…. Ok, the Submariner doesn’t hold that kind of history, but it does go back quite far in the past. Submariners are one of the original dive watches as is its close counterpart the Rolex Sea Dweller. Submariners are true classics in the dive watch game and continue to hold the title as one of the best!

Movement and Functionality

Rolex is surely known for creating some of the best and most reliable movements of all watch brands. I mean, there are brands out there costing tens of thousands of dollars that may use better movements; but come on, the prices are ridiculous. The submariner uses a 3130 caliber automatic movement with 31 jewels. This offers slightly more vibrations per hour than the Squale, at 28,800 vph! That being said, it runs even smoother than the Squale 20 ATMOS. The 3130 caliber movement is more than reliable. It is reliability and precision merged into one perfect timepiece!

Combined with the 300m of water resistance, waterproof screw down crown and 48-hour power reserve; this is a perfect watch for serious divers!

Durability

It is no question that the Rolex Submariner is durable. In fact, it may be one of the most durable dive watches. I’d say the Rolex Sea Dweller is a bit more trustworthy for diving, but everything about the Submariner is just as reliable. A strong stainless steel bracelet with a good weight keeps the watch secure. The aluminum Bezel is thick and rotational. And the sapphire crystal is scratch resistant, so don’t worry about pesky scratches.

The Submariner can be worn anywhere. You can feel confident that your watch will perform well and stay in great condition whether you are diving in the Pacific or hiking in The Smokies. The Submariner gets an outstanding rating of 4.8/5 durability score.

Design and Style

Pure classic, stylish, yet perfectly casual are words I would use to describe the Submariner. It is definitely a watch that can be worn in such diverse settings. It will look just as great in a business meeting as it will look 500 feet under the sea. The 40mm case looks great on the wrist. And the black dial with expertly crafted wording inside, keeps the watch looking like a work of art. No dive watches, in my opinion, compare to Datejust models or other fashion watches when it comes to looks. Submariners are simply solid, classic looking watches and can be worn anywhere. Style of the Submariner gets a 4.6/5.

Value

The value of Submariner watches is undeniable. These watches are much more pricer than the Squale 20 ATMOS, but for a reason. Historically, Rolex watches keep their value over time. Orginal Submariners will cost you quite a few paychecks; unless you are the CEO of Amazon or something.

You can feel comfortable when purchasing a Submariner, knowing your money is going to a luxury piece. If you are in the market for a high-grade watch, you can not go wrong with the Submariner. It is definitely worth the price you pay and will remain at a high price if kept in good condition. I give the Submariner a rating of 4.5/5 for value.

*The reason this watch does not get a 5 for value, is because there are other dive watches by Rolex that are just as valuable (or more valuable) than the Submariner. 

Which Watch Should I purchase?

As I said earlier, hands down, the gold goes to The Rolex Submariner. But as I also mentioned these are expensive watches. Squale, on the other hand, is an extremely affordable watch. Everything about the Squale is worth its low price point. So if money is not an issue buy the Rolex Submariner. If your pockets are not “fat” as many rappers say today, then stick to your budget and go with a Squale. Please do not spend your life savings on a watch.

As always, be cautious when buying expensive watches online. Make sure you purchase from a reliable source like Amazon!

2 Replies to “Squale 20 Atmos Vs. Rolex SubMariner Review”

  1. I love hearing people’s opinions on timepieces, however, a “review” should have more fact than opinion.
    The Rolex 3130 and ETA 2824 movements operate at the same frequency, 28,800 – check your facts.
    When you say the 3130 is a better movement, why is is it better? Design? Material?
    The list goes on.
    Someone once said, “the Sub is the best $1000 watch you can buy for $10,000” and he/she is correct.
    Both watches are equally at home in the water by design.
    I own both Squale and Rolex (among others), and both do what they were designed to do.
    It’s hard to compare to the Rolex Sub because of the class it is in.
    Submariner enthusiasts, and collectors, are passionate (read crazy), and vehemently defend the sub.
    At the end of the day, it’s just a watch.

    1. Hey Patrick,

      Thank you for the excellent comment!

      Regarding the 3130 and ETA 2824, I have to agree with you that they are on par in terms of accuracy and reliability. ETA movements are more than acceptable for most uses and it helps that it’s a lot less expensive. The 2824 has become the benchmark, the standard. As a result, people consider it as a sign of inferiority which is not the case at all. However, since the ETA movements are mass-produced, it defined the expectations about what makes a movement “good.”

      On the other hand, it’s hard to deny the emotional value of a movement that’s unique to the manufacturer. We are watch enthusiasts and nerds, of course, we care about the prestige that comes with in-house movements like the 3130. For a collector who has dove into the deep end, it’s not surprising for him to value in-house movements over ETAs.

      At the end of the day, it’s just our preference. However, most people will likely have a problem paying for Rolex pricing that offers an ETA.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *