Havaan Tuvali Squadron One
I can’t recall how many times I’ve mentioned in the past how much fun it is reviewing watch from brand new watch companies. I truly admire when new companies try to make an impact in a market that quite frankly can be quite ho-hum in terms of uniqueness. I’m always pleased, regardless of the release venue, when a watch company provides a fresh design or places a great spin on something previously seen. The Squadron One from Havaan Tuvali grabbed my attention and is quite pleasing with a few twists here and there providing a fresh look for an aviation inspired timepiece. The design and specifications are not overly ground-breaking, however, the combination of the great specs and reasonable price should really draw a ton of attention from those that love cushion case style watches with an aviation theme. The watch model comes in several different dial variations so if the version which is featured during this review doesn’t immediately grab your attention check out the others at their website in the link below.
Havaan Tuvali Squadron One Specifications:
- Movement – Swiss Made Automatic
- Case – Surgical grade 316L stainless steel case
- Case Diameter – 43mm
- Lug to lug -52mm
- Crystal – Sapphire
- Bracelet/Strap – 22mm surgical grade 316L stainless steel strap / Genuine calf leather
- Water resistance – 450 Meters / 1500 Feet
- Price $399 USD
When I think of aviation style watches the first aspect that comes to mind is that better be very legible. Does the Squadron One meet my expectations in that regard? Do I feel like it is the perfect aviation watch? Those are the questions I will focus on as I go over the areas that could be improved upon for this watch model. I continue to believe discussing the areas which could be improved upon a watch as the easiest place to start for a review. The dial is very legible. Large numerals and excellent luminous properties will please the wearer. Where the legibility issues arise surround the slide rule bezel which is used to complete a wide variety of aviation necessary calculations. The outer ring has a black aluminum insert similar to what is found on many watches. The problem is with the inner high polished stainless portion of the bezel. I have found it extremely difficult to read the small numbers unless the watch is held at an angle. As long as you can devote time during making calculations it will not be easy on the fly. If the wearer can get past this legibility issue then there is very little to complain about on the Squadron One. I’m not going to be performing any calculations any time soon, so I can let it slide.
I can’t let the watch get away that easily as there is one other aspect that irks me just ever so slightly, the bracelet. Personally, I only use leather straps on my pilot style watches, however, if I would opt for a bracelet I have to have solid end links. The Squadron One does have end links at all. I am just not a fan of the look. The quality of the bracelet though is very good. The leather straps provided are nice as well.. The stitch work and material are both excellent quality and I highly recommend wearing the Squadron One using the leather strap.
Is there a purpose for a display case back? Of course a highly decorated movement, such as a top grade ETA or some sort of custom automatic, showing off the complexity and beauty of the movement can be fun. The vast majority of the time, only the wearer is going to see the case back. The Havaan Tuvali Squadron One houses a fantastic Swiss Made Sellita SW-290-1 automatic movement but outside of engraving on the rotor the movement is similar to a base grade ETA in appearance which is quite plain. How about a nicely stamped case back? A really cool aviation themed case back would have been outstanding. Just pet peeve of mine but doesn’t make me like the Squadron One any less.
What’s to like about the Squadron One? Quite a bit. Price point of the Havaan Tuvali Squadron One jumps off the page immediately instantly making the watch a superior value in my book. So what do you get for $399 USD that makes the watch such a superior value? A combination of the specifications and components not often found in this price range. In my opinion it starts with the very nice Swiss Made Sellita SW-290-1 automatic movement. It’s not fancy but nonetheless any time a watch is offered with a Swiss Made automatic movement for under $500 any watch enthusiast will probably take notice. I’m a extremely impressed that a new watch brand chose Swiss Made over the very capable NH and Miyota movements such as the Miyota 9015. I am a huge huge fan of the Miyota 9015 but as a personal preference I will opt for the Swiss Made whenever possible as long as the price is right. As with any Sellita movement I have owned over the years, the 290-1 has been highly accurate as I have not been able to notice any significant deviation at all.
I am an absolute sucker for cushion case watches. I prefer divers with the cushion but a cushion case pilot would be choice 1b for me over anything round. The case is also perfectly sized at 43mm in diameter, 14mm in thickness and around 52mm from lug tip to lug tip. The sizing is going to be perfect for just about any wrist. Sitting atop the case, regardless of the variation, is a large 30+mm sapphire crystal that is a very adequate 3mm in overall thickness. The anti-reflective coating is top notch as the dial is always quite legible regardless of angle.
All models of the Havaan Tuvali Squadron Onehave C3 superluminova on the markers and hands which is great feature that will glow for hours with an adequate charge so no worries about having this watch in darkened conditions and not being able to tell the time. I love the modification of the small second hand designed like a gauge on a flight instrument panel. Extremely cool little touch. I also can’t forget to mention the cool crown placement. Most watch crowns are found at the 3 or somewhere around the 4 or 5. The Squadron One 7mm crown is positioned at the 2 and is recessed ever so slightly into the case. It may not be the easiest crown to get a hold of but with it being recessed though knocking it on something will be less likely.
If you are looking for a pilot style watch with some good specifications at a what I consider a good value then the Havaan Tuvali Squadron One could be one for your short list. Without a doubt the watch is not revolutionary but it takes the classic cushion case we see used so much with dive watches and transforms it into a pilot watch. It is different while familiar. The watch also provides a highly legible dial, sapphire crystal, quality bracelet (minus end links), outstanding leather strap and a top notch Swiss Made Sellita SW-290-1 automatic movement. I am pleased with the overall value that Havaan Tuvali Squadron provides. I look forward to seeing what they come up with next.