Unless I’m mistaken, we hadn’t seen any Glashütte Original Seventies Chronograph models since its debut in 2014. Despite having a distinctive, original presence on the watchmaking scene (and it is, admittedly, one of my favourites watches), this steel sports watch had been relatively discreet. Luckily, the Saxon brand has decided to bring back its TV-shaped watch on the forefront and these two new Glashütte Original Seventies Chronograph Limited Editions have broken the silence in the best possible way.
THE STEEL SPORTS WATCH FROM GLASHÜTTE ORIGINAL
Before introducing the watches, I’d like to share my thoughts about what the Seventies line should represent. When the collection was presented, the manufacture promoted the product as a design that was inspired by the watches produced by the GUB during the German Democratic Republic. Although this is true, it limited the watch to almost a mere historic curiosity. A mistake, I believe, since its design was daring, different and perfectly contemporary.
Knowing the current hype of luxury sports watches, the GO Seventies should be much more appreciated.
We can all agree on the great execution of Glashütte Original watches, a brand that is the same league as many top players, German or not (take for example this Senator Chronometer Tourbillon). And the Seventies enjoys the same high level of execution as other famous family members at GO. In fact, I have always thought that the Seventies could (and should) be competing in the luxury steel sports watch category, an ever-expanding segment in which the Seventies could participate with ease, thanks to its credentials: distinctive personality, shaped case and integrated bracelet, superlative finishes, a manufacture calibre, and in the case of these Glashütte Original Seventies Chronograph Limited Editions, spectacular dials.
I was fortunate to be invited by Glashütte Original to visit the area that inspired these new Seventies models: the impressive Bastei rock formation in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains (southeast from Glashütte) which rises with its jagged claws 195 metres above the valley of the Elbe. A tourist attraction since the beginning of the 19th century, the views from the Bastei Bridge are truly breathtaking.
The day I visited Glashütte Original, it rained, it hailed, and there were even spells of sunshine. The ever-changing sky added drama to the scenery and the colours of the scenery changed constantly – it’s not surprising that GO’s designers turned to the majestic Bastei rock formation and park for inspiration.
Another source of pride at Glashütte Original – and absolutely merited – is the fact that it has its very own dial manufacture, something very few brands can boast. The dial manufacture is in Pforzheim, about 600km from Glashütte, and is where the spectacular dials of the Seventies Chronograph Limited Edition were crafted.
Up until now, the Seventies Chronograph had a classic sun-ray brushed decoration on the dial – available in grey, silver and blue. These limited editions have gone one step further and feature dégradé (or gradient) dials with the colour gradually intensifying as it reaches the perimeter (almost black, in the case of the model with the grey dial).
Creating this effect is not easy. The lacquer has to be placed in the centre and then the dial has to be spun at a certain speed for a certain amount of time so that the lacquer is distributed across the surface of the dial to obtain the desired effect. A high level of expertise is required because even the slightest imperfection means starting the process from scratch.
The result is absolutely stunning: the sphere has a spellbinding sensation of depth and it is practically impossible to choose one over the other. Depending on the light, the serene grey dial can even look beige while the green is more vibrant, more in tune with a 1970s-inspired chronograph.
The dial of this Glashütte Original Seventies Chronograph is perfectly balanced. These watches are bicompax chronographs, which is, in my eyes, the most elegant layout for a chronograph. The 30-minute chronograph counter is at 3 o’clock and the small seconds at 9 o’clock. The 3-day power reserve indicator – a function that often disrupts the aesthetics of the dial – is housed in the upper section of the small seconds counter, a design choice that minimises the disruption.
GO’s large date window is located at 6 o’clock. One of the brand’s most renowned developments, the digits of the date function are placed on the same level eliminating the need for a physical barrier between the two. Directly above, just below the brand name at 12 o’clock, is a curved aperture indicating the elapsed hours of the chronograph.
The hands are not as sporty as you might expect on a chronograph, but this is a good choice since it makes the watch suitable for all situations, even more formal ones. The hands and dots over the hour markers are covered with Super-LumiNova.
1970s TV-shaped CASE
The shape of the case is what really gives the Glashütte Original Seventies Chronograph their 1970s vibe. The rounded-square or TV-shaped cases were all the rage during the 1970s but eventually succumbed to changing fashions and were abandoned along the way (except for the Nautilus). The case of the GO Seventies Chronograph Limited Edition measure 40mm x 40mm with a height of 14.10mm.
You could argue that the height is exaggerated, but on the wrist the watch is perfectly proportioned. The crown is well-protected and the water-resistance is of 100m. The thick sloping bezel is polished, along with the crown and pushers to contrast with the fine brushed finish of the other surfaces of the case.
AN EXCELLENT IN-HOUSe CALIBRE
The new GO Seventies Chronograph Limited Edition is equipped with calibre 37-02, a movement that can compete with the very best. We’d already seen the calibre 37-01 in the Senator Chronograph Panorama Date, which became version 02 when the traditional 12-hour counter of the Seventies was substituted with a disc. The specifications, however, are the same, and rock solid.
An automatic flyback chronograph movement with column wheel, the diameter is 31.6mm and the height 8mm. The movement oscillates at 28,800 vph/4 Hz and is equipped with stop-seconds and manual wind. As opposed to using a base movement and adding a module on top, the calibre is integrated, which is why the crown and chrono pushers are all at the same level. The variable inertia balance is regulated with gold screws and the swan-neck fine adjustment, a distinctive feature of Saxon watchmaking, is used to regulate the rate.
The movement is patiently decorated by hand and features Glashütte ribbing, polished surfaces, bevelled edges and blued screws. The skeletonised oscillating mass has a section in 21k gold and almost all the details of calibre 37-02 can be seen through the sapphire crystal. It’s rare to see a chronograph in this price segment with such a finely decorated movement.
Availability and Price
This GO Seventies Chronograph is a limited edition of 100 units per dial colour and retails for EUR 12,500 (incl. VAT), a low production volume and a decent price, which means it’s going to be pretty hard to get your hands on one.
The watch comes with a nubuck leather strap, although it is also available with a steel bracelet and a price of EUR 13,700. Prices may vary from country to country but the watches are already arriving to boutiques, so speed is of the essence. More details at glashuette-original.