Glashütte Original Sixties and Sixties Panorama Date
A bit of history – that common thread between Glashütte and Pforzheim
The Glashütte Original Sixties and the Glashütte Original Sixties Panorama Date are the modern re-enactment of the Spezimatic -reliable watches from the 60s that used to be manufactured back in the days, when the factory was still called GUB "Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe" (the Glashütte watch factory) and they used to be characterized by smoked dials and, in the rarer version, decorated also. It is interesting to note how, during a very difficult historical period for East Germany, when, after WWII the country completely isolated itself from the rest of world, Glashütte Original was able to develop a very successful watch that, still today, is very sought-after.
The Spezimatic was launched in 1964 and some of these models were equipped with dials that were not entirely manufactured by GUB itself, but rather produced in a special factory in Pforzheim. The production quality of these dial was undoubtedly the main reason behind the Spezimatic's success and its current collectible value. Moreover, although the finishes of the time are far from what we can find today, the technical solutions adopted to protect the movement from bumps and the sandwich-type architecture of the calibre made these watches virtually ‘eternal’, thus making them very much sought-after by fans of the vintage style. In 2006, the Swatch Group purchased the Pforzheim factory and placed it under the direct supervision of Glashütte Original – the original partnership that started 50 years earlier was therefore re-established. Since 2010, Glashütte Original has periodically launched re-editions of the Spezimatic.
Both watches are made of steel with a polished finish, a black leather strap and a pin buckle, they, however, differ quite a bit when it comes to their size. The Glashütte Original Sixties sports a diameter of 39mm and is the most similar version to the original Spezimatic, while the Glashütte Original Sixties Panorama Date sports a more masculine diameter of 42mm with the big date located in the centre of the watch. The calibres hosted within these timepieces are, the 39-52 and the 39-47, respectively and they are movements with a typical Saxon architecture featuring a 3/4 plate (a characteristic that is shared with A.Lange & Söhne too and that indicates the long common history between the two manufacturing companies). Both watches sport mirror-polished elements, a skeletonized rotor with an additional gold mass and the Glashütte logo, beveled corners and the unmissable fine adjustment of the balance wheel through a swan neck regulating system.
Thank goodness there is still someone, and they are almost always coming from Glashütte, who still remembers how to craft a real watch. If compared to the original models, the quality of the finishes and the calibre has undoubtedly improved and reached the levels of a high-end watch-making factory. So far, it seems as if almost everything were the norm for those familiar with the Saxon brand, but is there anything else we should be aware of?
Why choose (or not choose) this Sixties?
Why should a customer be interested in a Glashütte Original Sixties? The answer lies in the name "Pforzheim" and it translates into a "dégradé dial". This year, in Glashütte, they came up with quite a few creative ideas that brought us a green dégradé dial with a truly fascinating patter never before seen. Different techniques were used to obtain these special effects – they all start with original mouldings and a 60 ton press that could create the pattern that you can see on the dial.
The dial is then immersed in a galvanic bath that prepares it for the subsequent laying of several layers of green lacquer and then it is finally baked at a high temperature, so as to adequately fix the colour on it. The final step is the laying of a last layer of black lacquer through a spray gun at a very precise angle that creates the hypnotic dégradé effect that you can enjoy in these pics. This last process is strictly hand-made and thus makes every single quadrant unique, because there will never be one dial that is the same as the other.
The final effect is extremely interesting and unusual. The orientation of the lines along with the nuances, which turn from black to light green converging towards the centre of the dial, seem to hypnotize those who watch the timepiece, while they are trying to focus their attention on the points that change with the movement of the wrist or the variation of the light source. The polishing and the uniformity of the shapes amplify this feeling even more because there are no other focus points outside the dial that can catch the attention of the beholder. Finally, I would like to point out the particular font used on the indexes carved at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock (a typical feature from the mid-fifties) that reminds us of the sharp and pointy shapes of the dial’s workings that integrate beautifully. This is the last in a row of fine dials made in Pforzheim, another beaiutiful example being the Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer Blue Dial.
The Glashütte Original Sixties and the Glashütte Original Sixties Panorama Date represent, more of other timepieces, the history and the roots of the Glashütte Original brand. They retail at a price of 6,500 and 8,000 euro, respectively - they are not numbered editions, but they are only available for purchase this year. This is quite a smart marketing strategy in my opinion. The presence of two versions targeting different customers (one for the vintage purists and a more modern one) is quite appreciable, because it allows us to respond to two different types of potential customers and to make people appreciate a type of crafting and styles that, unfortunately, we are no longer used to seeing.
These are processes that should be used more often in high-end watch-making, and that dramatically raise the overall quality level. It is definitely a good thing that there are brands, such as the Saxon ones, that do not ‘copy and paste’ like the Swiss do, when they try to improve their models, but that actually continue to promote their school and traditions!
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Andrea Frigerio @Horbiter®