Squale-2002 Series-101 Atmos Polished Blue-Blue Dial-Front

Hands-On Review: Squale 2002 Series 101 Atmos – Ready for the deep sea

The Squale 2002 Series was developed as a professional deep-sea diving watch back in the late 1960’s and has continued to be developed and improved to this day. In this review we take a closer look on the latest Squale 2002 Series 101 Atmos – Blue Dial with polished case and blue bezel.

In addition to the 1521 50 Atmos and Matic 60 Atmos case, Squale is particularly known for it’s special 101 Atmos case, which comes with a characteristically rounded pillow-shape and without the classic lugs, a design which has a strong 1960’s/1970’s flair. At that time, the case was one of the first to be water-resistant to more than 1000 meters, which was well above average then and now.

Squale-2002 Series-101 Atmos Polished Blue-Blue Dial-Case side

The second invisible helium escape valve

Unlike other famous deep-divers watches such as the Rolex Sea-Dweller or Omega Seamaster Ploprof the first Squale 2002 watches did not need a helium gas escape valve. Until this day the 2002 series has a special stored 3.5 mm thick sapphire crystal, which let the helium molecules escape while keeping the case waterproof without the need of a special helium escape valve.

In 2016 the Italian State Police Divers chose Squale as the official supplier of professional diving watches. The unit asked specifically for an additional helium gas escape valve for the 2002 Polipetto. From that production on Squale decided to build also all other 2002 models in the collection with an additional helium escape valve.

Certainly the presence of the second valve is another improvement and a backup-valve so to speak, as if it were not there the structure of the case (and glass) would also work.

Squale-2002 Series-101 Atmos Polished Blue-Blue Dial-Helium Valve

Why is a helium escape valve necessary at all?

Professional saturation divers who work at unimaginable depths need to breathe a special helium-oxygen mixture. The human tolerance limit for oxygen is exceeded even before reaching 100 meters of depth, then oxygen becomes toxic to the diver. While breathing the non-toxic mixture of helium and oxygen, the helium molecules penetrate even through the seals into the watch, as they are among the smallest molecules of all.

While oxygen did not enter the watch during the saturation dive, helium did and during decompression, the helium molecules exit the watch only very slowly. This results in an overpressure inside the watch, which must be led out or the glass threatens to jump out. The specially stored sapphire crystal and the additional helium valve of the 2002 series prevent this event. You will find further interesting facts about saturation diving here.

A multitude of finishes

You can find the perfect match between different kind of finishes on this watch: Sunburst dial, polished indices and case and PVD matte coated hands increase not only the beauty, but also the readability. Especially the matte hands stand out perfectly from the rest of the watch, which makes them easily recognizable at first glance. The dial is surrounded by a subtle shiny bi-directional, push-to-release sapphire bezel.

Squale-2002 Series-101 Atmos Polished Blue-Blue Dial-Close Up

Squale 2002 Series 101 ATM Blue on the wrist

It is undoubtedly a large watch, but despite its large dimensions of 44 mm in diameter, 51 mm lug-to-lug and 14 mm in height it wears surprisingly comfortable on my 18 cm/7″ wrist. This is thanks to the “lug-less” pillow- or barrel shaped case, which creates an overall fluid shape which clings to the wrist.

The 2002 series has a distinctive presence on the wrist, yet it is not uncomfortable. If you like large watches and if you have a wrist that can handle the diameter, the watch is very wearable with its half past 4 o’clock crown and smooth lug-less case.

Squale-2002 Series-101 Atmos Polished Blue-Blue Dial

Squale – 2002 Series – 101 Atmos Polished Blue – Blue Dial with 44 mm diameter on an 18 cm / 7″ wrist

Positioned between 4 and 5 o’clock is a large, about 5 mm long, screw down crown. This is an ideal position on a case this size, so it does not press into the back of your hand. The large crown is very easy to grasp, which is a crucial feature for a professional divers watch. Before each dive you should make sure that it is properly screwed down, even if you’re wearing neoprene gloves. The crown also features the classic Squale logo.

Squale-2002 Series-101 Atmos Polished Blue-Blue Dial-wrist shot side

Seen from the side, the case nestles perfectly against the wrist (Wrist circumference 18 cm / 7″)

Push-to-relese bezel

Usually a dive watch features an uni-directional bezel. This is important as you measure the dive time with it and thus your oxygen supply that is necessary for survival. If you accidentally adjust the bezel while diving, you can at most shorten the diving time, but not increase it, since you can only turn the bezel anti-clockwise.

The operation of bezel of the Squale 2002 Series 101 Atmos is different from most dive watches, as it features a built in locking system and can be moved in both directions. If you want to rotate the bezel, you have to push it down while adjusting it. When it is pushed down it can be rotated in both directions without any “clicks”.

Squale-2002 Series-101 Atmos Polished Blue-Blue Dial-Crown

Swiss SuperLuminova luminous mass is not only applied on the hands and small rectangles on the outer edge of the hour markers, but also inside the bezel.

This is an extra that only a few diving watches have. With an extreme deep-sea diving watch like the Squale 2002 Series, however, it is essential because darkness prevails at the latest from 60 meters, since the blue short-wave light cannot penetrate that far through the water anymore.

Squale-2002 Series-101 Atmos-lume shot

Swiss SuperLuminova creates a strong lume, even on the bezel

The watch is powered by the famous, precise and reliable Swiss Made Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement underneath the screw down case back. A movement that provides reliable and accurate timekeeping under the toughest circumstances, even in 1000 meters depth.  The case back features etching with the Squale typical wave pattern and shark logo, as well as various specifications about the watch.

Squale-2002 Series-101 Atmos Polished Blue-Blue Dial-Case Back


The Squale 2002 Series 101 Atmos is an interesting tool watch, that unites luxury- and technical design of a classic dive watch from the late 1960’s. Squale has maintained and improved the design and technical specs of the original since more than 60 years, which speaks of it’s great heritage and tradition in professional dive watches.

Considering the named specifications (3.5mm sapphire crystal, two helium gas escape valves, multiple finishing processes, a reliable Swiss Made Sellita SW200-1) it is not an expensive watch.

The look of the watch is particularly unique. The lug-less case case is looks and wears smooth, shiny polished and blue surfaces as well as matte white and orange hands are refreshing and cool. If you are looking for a watch with the certain 60’s/70’s style and if you can sport 44 mm diameter, the Squale 2002 Series 101 Atmos might be a great choice for you. This unique and genuinely Swiss Made professional dive watch with a price point of 1.593 € / $ 1,788 incl. 19% VAT it is a challenger and fair opponent to divers like e.g. the Rolex SeaDweller or Omega Ploprof.

Squale-2002 Series-101 Atmos Polished Blue-Blue Dial-Dial Macro

Squale 2002 Series 101 Atmos Strap Guide by Watchbandit

  1. Classic Style Rubber Strap – Blue
  2. Classic Style Rubber Strap – Orange
  3. Tropical Style Rubber – Blue
  4. Tropical Style Rubber – Orange

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