No. Watchmaking is not only Swiss. Several countries had been involved into watches or are still manufacturing watches: France for a long time, UK with brands like Roger Smith, the Netherlands with Gronefeld or Japan with Seiko. Another one however has to be seen quite apart from the rest, a small area located in the Saxonian mountains: Glashütte, the house of German fine watchmaking, hosting A. Lange and Sohne or Glashütte Original. Traditions and Haute Horlogerie is fully part of the latter’s DNA. Let’s discover the German way to do watches with the superb Glashütte Original PanoLunar Tourbillon.
The German watchmaking style, also know as the Glashütte School, has several typical features that Glasütte Original uses with talent: off-centered dials, large date, engraved cock bridge, hand-finishes… Small details that all together creates a very unique and easily recognizable design. We showed you before some watches that are typically Glashütte, such as the brand new Senator Chronograph Panorama Date or the PanoMaticInverse. Those are very interesting and beautiful watches, but the one we have today adds something more, something linked to the history of this manufacture: the Flying Tourbillon. It may be used by multiple manufactures now but it was invented in 1920 by Alfred Helwig, a former student of the German School of Watchmaking in Glashütte and then technical instructor of this same institution.
Rather than being supported by a bridge, or a cock, at both the top and bottom, the flying tourbillon is cantilevered, being only supported from one side, by a single axis. It seems that the cage is floating upon the movement rather than being hold in place by a solid bridge. On the Glashütte Original PanoLunar Tourbillon, we can see this regulating organ in a dedicated aperture on the dial (that is also used as a small-second sub-dial), with its large size and very thin cage, of course mirror polished and beveled by hand. It is not the only feature of this face: off-centered dial for the hours and minute, large date at 4 (with 2 discs that are not overlapping and thus displayed on the same level) and a moon-phase indicator at 2. The face could very well be seen as unbalanced at first sight but once in front of it, it gives a real personality and some charm to this timepiece. The dial itself is finely grained, except the hours sub-dial that comes with a concentric guilloché finish.
The case is made of 18k red gold and reasonably sized at 40mm x 13.1mm. It comes with a superb matte brown alligator strap with a velvet finish. The Glashütte Original PanoLunar Tourbillon is really pleasant on the wrist. Due to its size, it can be considered as a proper dress watch, perfectly suitable with a suit and tie outfit. Too many complicated watches comes with oversized cases and its an interesting choice from Glashütte Original to keep this 40mm case. Then, it helps the watch to be comfortable and quite discreet. Of course you’re wearing a complicated and expensive object, but it is never showy. The face is classical (it has all the typical German features) but not boring. The PanoLunar Tourbillon emits a warm and luxurious atmosphere together with an elegant feeling.
Talking about mechanics, the Glashütte Original PanoLunar Tourbillon comes with an automatic movement, the Calibre 93, that boasts 48 hours of power reserve. It features an off-centered rotor with a the double-G logo and 21-carat gold oscillation weight. The main plate is hand chamfered and adorned with Glashütte stripes. We can also see blued screws, bevelled edges and polished steel parts. A screw-mounted stainless steel plate, bevelled and brushed by hand, indicates the wording “Flying Tourbillon” engraved in gold. As the balance wheel is located on the top (without any aperture on the back of the main plate), the back may seem quite empty and cold compare to the front of the watch. However, the finish is superb.
The Glashütte Original PanoLunar Tourbillon is a very traditional German timepiece that comes with a real charm and an interesting movement, complicated and very well finished. It’s an elegant watch for those seeking for both discretion and technical features. It is priced at €95,800 Eur.
- Case: Ø 40 mm
- Height: 13.1 mm
- Material: 18 ct red gold
- Strap: 20/18 mm
- Waterproof up to: 5 bar
- Glass: sapphire crystal, on both sides anti-reflective
- Bottom: sapphire crystal
- Dial: Ø display 34.8 mm, galvanized silver with gold appliques
- Hands: gold with Super-LumiNova
- Dimensions: Ø 32.2 mm, height 7.65 mm, above tourbillon cage 8.45 mm. Balance: screw balance with 10 weighted screws and 8 regulation screws. Oscillating Frequency: 21,600 vph, equivalent to 3 Hz. Power reserve: 48 hours (+/- 5 %)
- Balance spring: Anachron with breguet overcoil. Jewels: 48 jewel bearings + 2 diamond endstones on the tourbillon
- Additional details: Automatic movement, Flying Tourbillon with second hand, off-centre hour/minute, Panorama Date, moon phase, exquisitely finished movement, bevelled/polished edges, polished steel parts, blued screws, plate with Glashütte stripe finish, skeletonized rotor with 21-ct gold oscillation weight, fine adjustment by regulation screws