A couple of years ago Glashütte Original decided to spice up some members of its vintage-style Sixties collection with lively colours and textured dials. Fuelled by the success of the 2015 colourful Sixties models, GO went one step further and came out with even more radical dial colours that would not have looked amiss at a 1960s Rock Festival. In 2018 we saw the groovy green version of the Sixties followed in 2019 by the blazing hot Fiery Orange Sixties rendition. Known as Annual Editions, these bold dials proved that even a traditional maker of refined Saxon watches can have some fun. Although they are not limited editions, the Annual Editions are only produced for one year. For 2020, Glashütte Original cools the temperature and goes for a more subtle glacier blue tone that might just be our favourite to date. Using the 39mm time-only Sixties model and, for the first time, a 42mm Sixties Chronograph, let’s take a closer look at these ice-cool watches.
Ice Ice Baby
Less polarising than the green or fiery orange dials of the past two years, this glacier blue colour is more serene than its predecessors and is probably a colour you won’t grow tired of in the long run. Although the watch looked good in the press pictures, during the time we spent with the models we got a feel for the chameleonic nature of the dial. Changing from a silvery blue to a more intense and almost mauve tonality, I would venture to say that its shimmering, ever-changing dial is even more hypnotic and beautiful than the former models. It captures the ambient light in a fascinating way, sometimes cold, sometimes warm.
Having your own dial manufactory is a plus when it comes to experimentation and the dials of both these models were made at Glashütte Original’s Pforzheim establishment. The first step is the application of the sunray finish to the dial blanks before they are pressed into the characteristic domed shape. The next step involves a galvanic nickel coating which is then sprayed with dark blue lacquer. However, to achieve the dégradé or gradient effect, – with the colour appearing lighter in the centre and intensifying at the perimeter – the dial makers apply a second coat of lighter glacier blue lacquer on top of the dark blue lacquer. The dial is then heated in an oven to burn in the colours.
The fact that this process is done by hand means that each dial will have a unique colour gradient. The convex shape of the dial accentuates the gradient effect as the colour seems to run off the dial from the centre and pool inside the wells created by the dome.
Another feature that adds interest to the dial is the incision of the hour markers. Placed just below the surface of the dial, the incised silver indices sit alongside the printed numerals and accents of Super-LumiNova in the shape of a dot applied on the minutes track to highlight the hours. With its accentuated dome profile, it’s only natural that the minute and central second hands follow suit and they too are bent to follow the contours of the dial.
The first Sixties model made its debut in 2007 and was intended as an elegant 39mm time-only rose gold dress watch. Inspired by a vintage Spezimatic timepiece made during the GDR chapter of Glashütte, when the state-owned company was known as Glashütte Uhreb Betrieb (GUB), the Sixties picked up on practically all the design cues of the original model including the period-correct Spezimatic font used for the Arabic numerals and the prominent domed dial and curved hands.
Sixties Chronograph Annual Edition 2020
Housed in a 42mm stainless steel case with a height of 12.4mm, this Sixties Chronograph Annual Edition with the glacier blue dial looks absolutely amazing. Available in more staid combinations of steel with either white or black dials, this is the first time the Sixties Chronograph gets the colour treatment and in my opinion, it soars. The combination of icy blue and steel is pitch-perfect and I wouldn’t be surprised if this watch becomes as popular with women as it will be with men. The vintage-inspired pump pushers, the clean layout of the inserted sub-counters on the dial (small seconds on the right, elapsed minutes on the left), the domed dial and hands conspire to create a highly desirable package, especially for fans of retro watches who appreciate the solidity of a GO movement.
Another very desirable feature of this watch (and the time-only model too) is the curved caseback, which allows an uncluttered view on the movement – even the sides of the movement – but also greatly participate to the comfort of the watch. This prominent sapphire box virtually slenderizes the profile of the case and make the watch very soft to the skin.
Powered by a modular chronograph movement based on GO’s calibre 39 architecture, the automatic calibre 39-34 beats at 28,800 and offers an autonomy of 40 hours. Decorated to GO’s high standards, the sapphire caseback reveals the classic Glashütte stripe finish on the three-quarter plate, balance cock and rotor along with bevelled edges, the swan-neck fine adjustment and the skeletonised rotor with its double-G oscillating weight with a solid 21k weight.
Sixties Annual Edition 2020
Smaller in size, the time-only Sixties model comes in a compact 39mm steel case with a lean height of 9.4mm The short lugs and the curved sapphire crystal caseback, which creates a domed surface, make the watch exceptionally comfortable to wear. A more laid-back, informal interpretation of the Sixties three-hander (available in regular production models with black, white and blue dials), the glacier blue dial and the buffed Nubuck calfskin strap rejuvenate the watch noticeably.
The Sixties is fitted with GO’s in-house calibre 39-52 automatic movement with a 40-hour power reserve and classic Glashütte finishes.
Like a bucket of invigorating icy water, these Sixties models with glacier blue dials are our favourite of all the Annual Editions so far. Rejuvenated yet still retro, the chameleonic glacier blue colour of the dial is a winner and unlikely to tire you anywhere in the near future. So, if you’re a fan of vintage-style watches, love the impeccable quality of Glashütte Original’s movements and finishes and are hankering for a touch of cool colour, these might well fit the bill.
Availability and price
The new Glashütte Original Sixties and Sixties Chronograph Annual Edition 2020 Glacier Blue will be only produced for a year and is already available at some Glashütte Original Boutiques and selected retailers worldwide. The Sixties 39mm will be priced at EUR 6,600 and the Sixties Chronograph will be priced at EUR 8,100.
More details at www.glashuette-original.com.