Thinking Inside The Box: Six Of The Best Square Watches

Thinking Inside The Box: Six Of The Best Square Watches

Late summer days are best spent laying on the grass, looking up at the clouds and pondering life’s big questions. Like, what are the best square watches?

By Rhonda Riche

Earlier this summer, Swatch launched the What If?, a collection of square watches inspired by an early prototype that was never produced. While the launch didn’t quite reach the hype for the latest, limited-edition MoonSwatch, it did touch off a debate about square watches. Namely, what are the most memorable models?

We’re talking truly square timepieces – no rectangular tanks, no tonneau-shaped cases – just four equal straight sides and four right angles.

While every brand has made a square watch at some point in their history – the ’60s and ’70s were a heyday – circular styles are still the dominant shape. Which makes the following six favorite four-sided timepieces an elite group.

Swatch What If?

Let’s start with the Swatch What If? because it kicked off this discussion. The brand is synonymous with round watches, but in the early stages of its development, a square version was considered. The new What If? collection of timepieces imagines what the original would have looked like if the collection had evolved out of this shape.

These four models come in 33mm x 33mm patented bioceramic cases (just like the Moonswatch case material) in either black, green, blue, or beige. Each has a different dial layout that references early Swatch design cues but feels very new thanks to an integrated strap system with a biosourced strap. The crystal is edge-to-edge, elevated biosourced glass, and the battery covers on the casebacks reference dial designs of Swatches past. Best of all, these timepieces are priced at an accessible $110.

TAG Heuer Monaco

Speaking of what-ifs, the movie Gran Turismo: Based on a True Story tells the tale of a gamer who becomes a real-life racecar driver. In the film, the character Danny Moore, a motorsport executive played by Orlando Bloom, wears a TAG Heuer Monaco because nothing signifies serious auto racing like this classic, square chronograph.

The latest iteration is the Monaco Chronograph Racing Blue, which comes on a cobalt blue strap to match the subdials. It also features pops of yellow on the seconds counter and the 12 o’clock marker. This limited edition has a 39mm x 14.3mm titanium case and is priced at $9,200.


As we noted, square watches had a heyday in the 1960s and ‘70s. This means that even the most modern designs have a touch of retro flair. Case in point: The minimalist NOMOS Tetra.

The newest collection consists of four 29.5mm models – Die Kapriziöse, Die Wildentschlossene, Die Fuchsteufelswilde and Die Unerreichbare – all in edgy shades of gray and pink. Priced at $2,080, this quartet of Tetras also represents an excellent value proposition.

Santos de Cartier

Sure, the corners are slightly rounded but how can we not count the Santos de Cartier in our collection of square watches? The Santos is one of Cartier’s signature models because its screwed square bezel epitomizes one of the most appealing aspects of a square watch – that it can feel both sporty and formal at the same time.

Because the Santos family comes in an array of sizes in both quartz and mechanical models, it’s also an excellent example of accessible luxury. Priced at $7,050, our pick would be the medium-sized automatic model with eye-catching graduated dial in deep green, introduced at Watches & Wonders 2023.

Rado True Square Skeleton

Like Cartier, Swiss watchmaker Rado is proud to make square watches a constant in its collection. And like the Santos, its True Square collection also features soft-cornered square cases. What makes these models worlds apart is their use of ceramic monobloc cases and expressive dials. The brand’s newest and most eye-catching design is the True Square Skeleton.

Launched last April, these 38mm timepieces are offered in three colorways: plasma gray, white, and signature black. The plasma gray and black both feature anthracite-hued top plates and bridges, while the white version comes accented with nickel and yellow-gold tones. All three are priced at $2,800.

Hublot Square Bang Unico

The beauty of square watches is that each watchmaker’s interpretation can reinvent the not-a-wheel. At Watches & Wonders 2022 Hublot launched the Square Bang, a collection of ceramic timepieces that take the signature features of the brand’s Big Bang Unico – the sandwich-like construction and the use of next-gen materials – and channel them into a square-shaped package.

For 2023, Hublot pushed the concept even further with the Square Bang Unico Sapphire with a multi-layered, see-through 42mm case. This absolute ice cube is complemented by cool titanium hardware and a translucent rubber strap. Limited to 250 pieces, it is priced at $95,000.

And receive each week a custom selection of articles.

New Flames: Four Of The Best Salmon Dial Steel Sports Watches So Far In 2023

By Henri LeeContributor
More unique than standard blue, black, or gray dials, salmon is a color typically reserved by brands for special editions. We look at four highly sought-...

Summer Rewind: Our Favorite Pilot Watches of 2023 (So Far)

By Watchonista
When it comes to watches for those who dare to soar to the highest heights, more traditional design cues are now being joined with thoughtful, modern...

Summer Rewind: 2023’s Most Compelling Watch Collabs (So Far)

The best watch collaborations present an opportunity to own something that is not only relatively unique but also something that, as a whole, is greater than...
By Watchonista