This is something we’ve already said in the past, but it appears that Glashütte Original is becoming more and more… original. By that, we mean that the brand tries new designs, creates things that we clearly didn’t expect from a German watchmaker and comes out with bold, colourful designs. What started in 2015 with the Sixties Iconic Collection is now becoming an annual tradition. After green versions last year, here’s our review of the 2019 Glashütte Original Sixties Panorama Date Annual Edition “Fiery Orange” (yes, very orange).
The Sixties Annual Editions are here to show that Glashütte Original can be original, and look at a less known part of the brand’s history.
Common consensus tends to associate Glashütte Original with a watch like this, a classic, technical-looking, mechanically superior watch inspired by the German School of Watchmaking. And in fact, people are right to think that… but only partially. The Pano and Senator collections by Glashütte Original echo the ancient vision of watchmaking in Saxony. But this would be simplistic because during the 1960s and 1970s the manufacture once named GUB (Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe) was producing a totally different kind of watch, that we’ve explored here. This vintage timepiece that was made during the GDR period was the inspiration behind the GO Sixties collection and if most of the models come in silver or black, the brand has recently decided to add a bold splash of colour to these watches – which is a back-to-basics move because during the 1960s these watches already came in dozens of colours.
The so-called Sixties and Sixties Panorama Date “Annual Editions” was a concept launched in 2018 with (great-looking) green models and renewed in 2019 with new “Fiery Orange” watches. Yes, it is bold, funky, colourful, unusual and very 1960s indeed. And today we take a closer look at the Panorama Date model.
Case and design
If we start by only looking at the case of this Glashütte Original Sixties Panorama Date, there won’t be much to discuss… And, bear with us, this is a deliberate move. And bear with us #2, there’s, in fact, more to tell than you imagine at first glance.
The case – the metal parts – of the Glashütte Original Sixties is deliberately simple and clean because it is not meant to detract attention from the bold dial. As such, we have a classic round case with short, curved lugs crafted in stainless steel and finished with classic polished surfaces. All the parts are simply designed – just like the original 1960s model – with a thin, flat bezel, straight case bands and a rather large crown. Nothing exuberant in terms of case here, but a very clean, precise execution with tight assembly.
Where the Glashütte Original Sixties becomes more original – and thus much more interesting – is when you look at the crystals, both dial-side and movement-side. On top of this Sixties Panorama Date Annual Edition “Fiery Orange” is a highly domed sapphire crystal, which follows the curvature of the dial. Even more original is the crystal on the caseback, also highly domed and following the shape of the movement, which is 1. visually striking, 2. quite rare, 3. very comfortable and 4. is a very clever trick to visually reduce the thickness of the watch. Because of the high domed sapphire caseback, you get a real view INSIDE the movement – and not just over the movement.
This Panorama Date version of the Sixties is on the large side, with a 42mm diameter and 12.4mm height – this model is also available without the date, in 39mm. Still, thanks to the short and curved lugs, the watch wears comfortably on my 16.5cm wrist and thanks to the sapphire domed caseback, feels much thinner than what the specifications claim. A nice, modernly sized watch that has the several clever tricks up its sleeve and has the good idea to remains discreet on this side… Because the dial, on the other hand, is where things become much bolder!
If Glashütte Original’s ability to create great movements is common knowledge, it dial-making capacities shouldn’t be underestimated – far, far from that! GO is one of the rare manufacturers to produce its dials in-house, in a Pforzheim-based facility. There, GO creates dials with nice silvery textures and deep blue galvanized colours, but also the dials of these Annual Editions. And the brand has some great skills in this area.
The dial of the Glashütte Original Sixties Panorama Date Annual Edition “Fiery Orange” is THE talking piece of this watch. Bold, textured, colourful, detailed, nicely shaped… It is a thing you want to look for hours. Now, this new Fiery Orange colour will probably be too extreme for some, but knowing that this annual edition will be produced for a year only, it will find its audience, just like the 2018 Green model, no doubt about it.
This Fiery Orange dial is bold, colourful, full of details and gives the watch an incredible personality (like it or not…)
The dial of the Sixties Panorama Date is highly domed, just like the crystal that protects it. It starts its life as a flat blank, which is pressed to give its shape and texture – a sunray, rough pattern reminiscent of a gold nugget or a stone. Second step is to give the dial its colour. Starting from a golden yellow at the centre, the colour flows across the curved surface changing to fiery orange and red before reaching the black perimeter. After a galvanic bath gives the dial its golden yellow hue the dial-makers carefully apply a series of layers in red and black lacquer. The result is a rich, metallic colour with changing tones depending on the ambient light.
Another step is to create the hour markers, which aren’t applied on top of the dial, but diamond-cut into the surface of the dial. While not easy to spot at first sight, this detail plays with the light and gives this dial some depth.
The hands and the stylized numerals printed on the dial rely on the signature design found on the 1960s watches. Small luminous dots and thin hour markers with stylized white Arabic numerals at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock allow for decent legibility in the dark. The hands are simple polished batons, which is perfect considering the boldness of the dial.
The display of this Panorama Date version consists of 3 central hands for the hours/minutes/seconds and the signature Panorama Date at 6 o’clock. Displayed on two discs, it comes on a black background with white printed numerals.
Under the “box” sapphire crystal and visible under multiple angles is the calibre 39-47, a movement produced in-house by GO and known to be the standard time-and-date engine of the manufacture. Relatively simple but precise and robust, it ticks at 4Hz and boasts a 40-hour power reserve. Being relatively small, the movement is encased with a metallic ring on its periphery, engraved with “Sixties” and “Automatic”.
Even though an “entry-level” movement for Glashütte Original, which is capable of manufacturing ultra-complex and highly decorated calibres, this 39-47 remains pleasantly decorated with a 3/4 plate adorned with Glashütte ribbings, diamond-cut bevels, polished countersinks and a double-G rotor with a 21k gold peripheral mass. The swan-neck regulator is a nice, traditional detail. Altogether, a clean, nicely decorated movement.
The Glashütte Original Sixties Panorama Date Annual Edition “Fiery Orange” is delivered on a brown Louisiana alligator leather with a rather original choice of for its pattern. On the contrary to most watches that rely on large, square scales, this watch takes advantage of the small, rounded scales to emphasize the slightly vintage design of the watch.
The strap has a rich brown colour and is very supple. It is secured to the wrist by a classic stainless steel pin buckle.
This new Glashütte Original Sixties Panorama Date Annual Edition “Fiery Orange” is a very emotional piece that won’t be to everyone’s taste. On a personal basis, I’m really amazed by its lively, warm, bold, textured dial – in fact, even more than the green version of last year. This watch, besides its technical aspects and the great execution you can expect from GO, is unique and desirable… Depends on who is looking at it.
This watch is a rather segmenting product, whose goal isn’t to appeal to a wide audience. As such, it is clever from GO to offer such bold dials on these Annual Editions. I’d personally prefer the time-only 39mm model, having a smaller wrist. Still, the Panorama Date fits perfectly in this context.
Price and availability
The Glashütte Original Sixties Panorama Date Annual Edition “Fiery Orange” (reference 2-39-47-09-02-04) is a special, non-limited edition watch that will be produced only in 2019. It is priced at EUR 7,800.
More details at www.glashuette-original.com.