9 Square Watches That Will Set You Apart This Spring - Men's Health Magazine Australia

9 Square Watches That Will Set You Apart This Spring

Why it could be time to take the square route for your next watch.

Round and round they go. In fact, you could call it a vicious circle. What I’m referring to is the traditional shape of watch cases that still largely try to avoid the straight and narrow in favour of the circular form.

There are a host of good reasons for this horological round trip. The earliest wristwatches were essentially pocket watches converted to a more practically accessible form on the wrist. Pocket watches were built to slide into a waistcoat’s slim pockets and a round, flattened shape with no sharp edges offered a more seamless fit. In addition, the gears and springs inside a watch movement also tended to be spherical by default and so were easier to slot into a similar–shaped home. But perhaps the clinching detail was the way the hands on the dial of a watch perambulated to complete a 360° rotation, thereby lending themselves intuitively to a circular shape. From a practical perspective, too, making a round timepiece water-resistant was less of a headache, because the case could more easily be tightened to ensure a firm seal. 

Despite all this, a plucky handful of watch brands were determined to stay ahead of the curve and, er, corner the market. Some of these were duly rewarded for their boldness by becoming iconic watch designs in the process. In the early 1900s, the Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont bemoaned to Louis Cartier that he didn’t want to keep fumbling around for his pocket watch while flying his primitive plane. Cartier subsequently came up the Santos, a square shape with rounded edges and exposed screws – a design that remains popular today. In 1917, the brand then followed up with the Cartier Tank, another square-cased watch whose shape was based on a bird’s-eye view of the Renault FT-17 French tank used during World War 1. 

Another watch whose design has endured as a modern classic is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso. It was first developed in 1931 in response to British army officers in India who sought a watch that could withstand the flying mallets and whizzing balls during a game of polo. Jaeger-LeCoultre subsequently dreamed up the Reverso’s signature case that can swivel around to protect the dial. Effectively one of the world’s first sport watches, the Reverso is still going strong today. 

In 1969, came the TAG Heuer Monaco, the world’s first automatic square-cased chronograph. Visually unmissable, the square watch became popular after appearing on the wrist of Steve McQueen in the 1971 racing movie Le Mans with this big-screen endorsement from “the King of Cool” cementing the Monaco’s place in the watch-world pantheon.

Get it right with a square watch, in other words, and you could have a lifelong hit on your hands. And the latest brand to take up the challenge is Hublot. This year, they released the Square Bang – a collection with a brand-new case design. The Square Bang offers a starkly futuristic aesthetic. These high-tech vibes stem largely from the transparent dial, made predominantly of sapphire crystal through which you can enjoy a view of the in-house movement. The Square Bang is already available in a number of guises. Hublot will be banking on its designs to follow those other edgy classics and hopefully become the shape of things to come. 

Bell & Ross square watch

Bell & Ross 03-92 Military Type ($5600)

Raymond Weil Toccato ($1800)

Raymond Weil Toccato ($1800)

TAG Heuer Monaco Heuer 02 Automatic square watch ($9800)

TAG Heuer Monaco Heuer 02 Automatic ($9800)

Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Monoface Small Seconds Collection ($12,600)

Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Monoface Small Seconds Collection ($12,600)

Cartier Santos De Cartier ($11,200)

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Rado True Square Automatic Blue Face ($3350)

Glashutte Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date ($21,950)

Glashutte Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date ($21,950)

Citizen JG2103-72X square watch ($575)

Citizen JG2103-72X ($575)

Longines Dolce Vita ($2525)

Longines Dolce Vita ($2525)

Luke Benedictus

By Luke Benedictus

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