What makes a watch stand out to those not interested in horology? It’s an intriguing question and is one I sought to answer as I received the Glashütte Original Panorama Date in Green (Ref. 2-39-47-04-02-04) for review before I left for my hometown over the holidays. I’m originally from an area of the United States that, other than the few obvious contenders, is not exactly known as watch country. So what would my family, some who I only see once a year, think of a watch from a small German town called Glashütte with a provocative and enchanting green dial that seems to reverberate with motion thanks to the dégradé effect?
First some background on the historical importance of the Sixties collection for Glashütte Original.
The Glashütte Original Panorama Date in Green was released at Baselworld in 2018. It quickly became one of the highlights of the fair for many attendees and shared equal time with the technically impressive Senator Cosmopolite in stainless steel as the brand’s hero piece throughout the year. While the reason I called the watch in was to spread some horological cheer across the United States, I soon found the watch to be extremely wearable thanks to its 39.1 mm by 9.93 mm build as well as surprisingly subtle given its distinctive traits.
The Glashütte Original Sixties received its name from its historic inspiration, the Spezimatic, a timepiece released by VEB Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe (GUB), the conglomerate that absorbed the rest of the German watch industry in the early 1950s. As part of the brand’s contemporary “Vintage” category, the Sixties lineup has become a platform of experimentation for the German brand. Just check out a few of the previous releases over the years here. Some key similarities between the Sixties line and actual ’60s Spezimatic models are the stylized hours markers, the shape of the case, and, surprisingly enough, the unusual pattern; however, there are also some major differences in the current collection: the clear caseback, beautifully skeletonized automatic movement, the attention to finishing and polishing throughout the watch, and the sturdy crown that makes setting the time a joy.
The dial is constructed at Glashütte Original’s dial manufactory in Pforzheim, Germany. Its construction involves a mixture of pressure (over 60 tons is applied to the nickel-silver material), laser engraving, galvanization, application of black lacquer (for the dégradé effect), and finally hand-applied Super-LumiNova C3. The gradual green-to-black transition is further enhanced by the small bezel and slightly domed crystal. One small detail that I really appreciated and is only visible with a loupe or a zoomed-in camera lens is the fact that the indexes, rather than being painted on or applied, are actually diamond cut into the dial to showcase the nickel silver base plate (see below image).
Inside the watch is manufacture Caliber 39-47, an evolution of the historically important Caliber 39 that was originally released in 1997 as one of the first in-house produced movements from the newly-privatized Glashütte Original (It was eventually purchased by The Swatch Group in 2000). It’s a sturdy caliber that showcases all the expected finishing from a Glashütte-based brand, including a swan-neck fine regulator, sunburst polish, and an openworked rotor with 21-karat gold oscillating weight. The sole complication here is the Panorama Date, another classic Glashütte characteristic. However, the same watch is available sans big date for approximately $2,000 less.
So how did my non-horologically inclined family and friends react when I showed off the Glashütte Original Sixties Panorama Date? For one thing, it was something none of them had ever seen before. It helped me realize that one of the best entry points into this closed-off world of ours is through the usage of color. It might be difficult to explain the effects of a tourbillon to the layperson who doesn’t know the difference between quartz and mechanical timekeeping, but an attractive design and a striking colorway is a much more digestible approach to showcase how varied and interesting horology can be. After that slight interest is sparked, it makes it so much easier to flip the watch over and show off the movement. I explained how an automatic watch worked to over 10 different family members and friends during the week and a half I was visiting that had previously never shown an interest in what I wrote about every day.
Wearing a watch like last year’s Glashütte Original Sixties Panorama Date, with its bold usage of tones and texture, was not only a joy to wear, but it also served as a talking point for people that are interested in watches as well as those that aren’t. Among watch collectors, it’s common to cherish the value in subtlety. Many carefully select their timepieces based on the idea that the least amount of people that recognize the manufacturer behind it the better. It’s something that I agree with to an extent, but thanks to my short time with the Glashütte Original Sixties Panorama Date, I found it easier than ever to share my passion with horology with others.
The Glashütte Original Sixties Panorama Date is priced at $9,300. If you’re a fan of the watch’s dial texture but perhaps green doesn’t suit you, not to worry. I was recently told that, after the success of this release, we can expect a new color option with the same dial texture later this year.