Squarestreet SQ38 Plano Watch and Suplon Strap

I hate summer. Not everything about summer, mind you. I like warm weather, bright colors, and the beach. It's just that summer in Washington, DC is particularly oppressive. It is only June 22 and I am already sick of the stifling humidity, swarms of mosquitoes, and temperatures in the 90's. I was contemplating my next three months of self-imposed, air conditioned confinement when the fashionable folks at Squarestreet told me about their lightweight Planto watch and breezy Suplon strap. It looked like the ideal summertime accessory, so when they offered a loaner for review, I eagerly accepted. 

Squarestreet Plano on Suplon Strap

The Plano is an elegant unisex watch that measures 38mm wide and 6.7mm thick. These proportions are on the small side for a modern men's watch and ideal for my 6.5" wrist. A broad dial that stretches to the very limits of the case prevents it from appearing too dainty. Inside this svelte stainless steel case is a Swiss made Ronda 705 three-hand quartz. This 5 jewel, gold plated workhorse has a date wheel, long-lasting battery, and an end-of-life indicator.


Squarestreet Plano on Suplon Strap

Squarestreet offers the Plano with black, gray, or gold PVD cases, and either black/gold, white/black/gold, or white/black dials. Strap options include Italian leather, reindeer, or Suplon nylon in a variety of colors. The review sample's matte gray case was a dark graphite color. There is a flat edge around the perimeter that sharply reduces to a much smaller case back, further minimizing its already scant profile. Slim lugs with rounded ends extend from the point where the edge and the slope meet and hook downward. The 3 o'clock crown is flat, coin-edged, and signed with the distinctive two-box Squarestreet logo. Surprisingly, the lugs feature screwed bars instead of spring pins. The watch does not come with a screwdriver, but it accepts a standard flat head. 

Squarestreet Plano on Suplon Strap

The dial is an intricate affair, featuring a textured pattern of concentric rings that are tightly spaced at the outermost edge, broadly spaced at the indices, and tight again in the center. A second, smaller set of grooves surrounds the 3 o'clock date window, overlapping the primary rings. It is not immediately apparent at a casual glance, but it is delightfully trippy up close. Two-digit numbers in a radial arrangement mark the hours while another tiny set below them marks the seconds/minutes. It has long, slender, faceted dauphine hands and a second hand with a loop counterweight. Long hash marks extend through this index and into a second that at first look, appeared too finely demarcated to use. Upon close inspection, I realized that it was marked in 5-minute intervals, so if your eyes are sharp enough, you can read the time using only the hour hand. Very cool. 

Squarestreet Plano on Suplon Strap

Overall, it is a clever and pretty dial, but I have a hard time recommending this gold-on-black color scheme. There is just enough contrast to get by during the day, but it is nearly impossible to read at night. There is only a single spot of lume at 12 o'clock and none on the hands, which strikes me as a rather odd and impractical choice. Finally, the black-on-White date wheel sticks out like a sore thumb. My suggestion would be a white dial with black printing and hands. That combination ensures sufficient contrast for readability under most lighting conditions and has the added bonus of matching the date. 

Squarestreet Plano on Suplon Strap

As I wore the Plano, I found myself wondering if it was more of a dress watch or a sports watch. Its small size, fine lines, and absence of lume are hallmarks of a dress watch, but the screw bars, busy dial, and 50 meters water resistance lean more towards the sporty end of the spectrum. In sum, I'd consider it to be a versatile everyday watch that won't mind the occasional dip in the pool. 

As interesting as the Plano may be, I was actually more curious about the Suplon strap. Suplon (for "super nylon") is a synthetic material knitted into a basketweave, two-piece strap that is 20mm wide and secured with a signed buckle and a single floating keeper. Squarestreet claims Suplon is machine washable, hypoallergenic, flame retardant, and eco-friendly. I can attest that it is wonderfully soft - far more comfortable than the nylon commonly used for most NATO straps. The material is breathable and the strap's open, diamond patterned weave ensures maximum air flow and almost infinite adjustability. I made no effort to destroy it, but it seems to be quite strong and had no loose edges or threads to unravel. 

Squarestreet Plano on Suplon Strap

With all these features, the Suplon strap is an almost perfect summertime watch accessory. I say "almost" because while I appreciate the utility of the fabric, the style leaves me cold. I generally don't get hung up on the proper gender of watches, but this really looks feminine. If they make one in a heavier weave and a different pattern I'll be all over it, but in its current lacy state, I'll have to pass. 

Overall, I liked the Plano, although my first choice would be a black-on-white version both for legibility, and better integration of the date wheel. The Suplon strap is a good idea, and possibly well suited for woman's watch, but the design was a bit to 1970'd crochet for me. You can buy a Plano direct from squarestreet.se. for $265 USD on either a Suplon or a reindeer leather strap. Individual Suplon straps are $35. ⬩

Squarestreet Plano on Suplon Strap

Squarestreet Plano on Suplon Strap

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