From the 11th of February through to the 21st of February German city Berlin once again played host to the 67th edition of the Berlinale International Film Festival, culminating with the star-studded Award Ceremony on Saturday evening. This year German watch-maker Glashütte Original shared the spotlight as principal partner of the Berlinale for the first time (although it has already been involved as a sponsor for several years), hosting the Golden Bear Lounge and presenting the inaugural Glashütte Original Documentary Award complete with a 50,000 Euro Award. The Saxon manufacture also took the opportunity to show off its new Sixties Iconic Square collection featuring five distinctively colourful dials.
Launched with the tagline “it’s hip to be square” the new Sixties Iconic Square collection celebrates the unique style and flair of the swinging sixties. Colourful, loud and just a little bit eccentric, these new models really capture the essence of what was happening in the world at the time in terms of music, fashion and self-expression.
It’s actually a kind of cool when you think about it as the Sixties Square chronograph collection – of which these new models now form part – was inspired by the ‘Spezimatic’ models the brand was producing during the 1960’s. The influence of those times can certainly be seen in the retro-style cushion-shaped cases and the sunburst pattern on the dials.
The five different models, produced in a limited run of 25 pieces each, feature colourful dials that have been produced using traditional techniques in the Saxon manufactory’s own dialmaker in Pforzheim, Germany. This relationship is of particular significance as a number of the original Spezimatic models – which were first introduced in 1964 – were made using dials manufactured by dedicated dialmakers in Pforzheim (which was West Germany at the time). In 2006 GO’s parent company the Swatch Group bought the dialmaker, which Glashütte Original subsequently assumed direct ownership of some 50 years after the original relationship had begun.
The Sixties Iconic Square collection
As I mentioned before the new Sixties Iconic Square collection is comprised of five different models. There’s Fire (red), Ocean (blue), Graphite (grey), Forest (green) and Tangerine (orange). Although each model shares the same case design and movement, each has its own distinctive personality and I found myself drawn more to some than others however I think this is very much a matter of personal taste.
Although it would be easy to dismiss the Sixties Iconic Square collection as just another set of watches with colourful dials this is simply not the case. Made using original tools and traditional methods from the 1960’s, the dials are really something quite special. Highly labour-intensive, obsessive attention to detail ensures that each dial comes out perfect. Particularly striking is the way the coloured lacquers are applied to the dials – which have already received a galvanic base coat – to achieve just the right hues and shading. For the final step, black lacquer is carefully applied to the dial using a special spray gun. The colour gradient varies depending on the angle at which the gun is held, otherwise known as the dégradé effect, which renders each watch unique and results in light centres slowly giving way to dark perimeters. Photographs just don’t do them justice.
It’s worth noting however that the techniques used are not identical for all five dial variations. For example the unusual colour of the Tangerine dial was achieved thanks to the inclusion of an additional lacquer colour, meaning the initial galvanic coating in gold gets combined not only with a layer of black, but also red lacquer.
Of special note is the dial of the Graphite model, which required the use of a different method altogether to the other four dials. Whilst the other four models feature a sunburst finish that really amplifies the impact of the “dégradé effect”, the Graphite model features an elaborate imprint instead. Prior to galvanic nickel plating the dial blank is imprinted, with the help of a 60-tonne press, with the intricate filigree pattern of a guilloche stamp from the archives of the Glashütte Original dial manufactory. It sounds cool and it looks even cooler, especially when you examine the details under the loupe.
All five models in the Sixties Iconic Square Collection are presented in Glashütte Original’s distinctive square cushion shaped stainless steel case, measuring 41.35 x 41.35 mm and are powered by the in-house automatic Calibre 39-34 chronograph. All are fitted with a matching Louisiana Alligator leather strap: brown for the models featuring forest green or tangerine coloured dials, black to complement the models with graphite grey, ocean blue or fiery red dials. They wear extremely nicely on the wrist but they are certainly do not make for discreet dinner companions. Expect to get a lot of attention when you wear one of these beauties out and about.
The Berlinale Film Festival
Speaking of which, the festive atmosphere and nightly list of events of the Berlinale provided the perfect backdrop for the colourful style of the Sixties Iconic Square Chronographs, and indeed the watches took centre stage at numerous presentations and events in the Golden Bear Lounge throughout the ten days.
This was helped along by a very clever idea Glashütte Original had which involved establishing, for the first time, an exclusive watch loan service. In a suite in the Festival hotel the German watchmaker’s team offered interested guests a hands-on introduction to its current collection; which meant there were always a number of its watches to be spotted on the Red Carpet and in movie theatres around town. Including – not surprisingly – on the wrist of Glashütte Original’s CEO Thomas Meier.
Dieter Kosslick (Berlinale Festival Director) and Actress Sibel Kekilli, both with Thomas Meier, CEO Glashütte Original – “©Glashütter Uhrenbetrieb GmbH” All rights reserved
Production of the five models in the Sixties Iconic Square Collection is limited to 25 pieces each, and they are available in Glashütte Original Boutiques and selected retailers worldwide. For more information please visit www.glashuette-original.com