Glashütte Original continues the time-honored tradition of the famous German watchmaking city with the Senator, Vintage and Pano collections — along with its ladies’ watches, the brand’s three major timepiece families. Here’s a look at some standout models from each collection.
The Senator collection, which includes the Senator Chronometer, shows that Glashütte Original’s watchmaking tradition extends back to the era of pocketwatches and ultimately to 1845, when Ferdinand Adolph Lange first established a factory in Glashütte, Germany. This marked the beginning of a process that would see the little town in the Ore Mountains gradually develop into a mecca of the watchmaking industry. The words “Glashütte Original” first appeared on the face of a timepiece in 1916, when master watchmaker Karl W. Höhnel, who owned the Workshop for Clockmaking, Precise Lathe Turning and Precision Engineering, put them on the dials of his domestic clocks.
Roman numerals, poire-shaped hands, and the German words “Auf” (up) and “Ab” (down) on the power-reserve display on Glashütte Original’s modern wristwatches recall the city’s historical pocketwatches. Hand-wound manufacture Caliber 58-01 also upholds the traditions of Glashütte’s art of watchmaking in its components and in their finishing. These Glashütte-style details include a swan’s neck fine adjustment mechanism, a manually engraved balance cock, a screw balance, jewels set into screwed gold settings, and a double sunburst on the ratchet wheel.
Glashütte Original added a complication from the company’s recent history: the Panorama Date. This big date indicator consists of two concentric rings at the same height and, therefore, needs no vertical bar to separate the two digits. With a German chronometer certificate and a 42-mm rose-gold case, the Senator Chronometer sells for $30,300.
The Vintage line consists of the Seventies, which has a square case with rounded corners, and the Sixties, which is reminiscent of a watch style popular in the 1960s, when millions of automatic wristwatches were produced under the “Spezimatic” brand name in East Germany. This is particularly appropriate because, unlike with A. Lange & Söhne, for example, this bygone period in German history is an integral part of Glashütte Original’s biography. After World War II, all watch companies that still existed in Glashütte were merged to form a state-owned entity known as “Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe,” which was sold by the administrative trust four years after Germany’s reunification. From this point on, all efforts became focused on the fabrication of high-quality mechanical watches – and the brand has been known as “Glashütte Original” ever since.
The direct predecessor of the Sixties is a Spezimatic watch that was first manufactured in 1964. Today’s Sixties model includes several authentic design elements from the original: the crystal above the dial and its counterpart in the caseback, which protrudes far from the narrow center section of the case; the dial curved downward along its periphery; the hour markings milled into the face; and the numerals’ typography that has a somewhat playful character. The dials are made exclusively for Glashütte Original by the firm’s own dial factory in Pforzheim, Germany. It takes as many as 40 individual steps to complete one dial. Automatic manufacture Caliber 39-52 amasses a 40-hour power reserve. With a 39-mm steel case, the Sixties costs $7,500.
The third line, which is named “Pano,” features asymmetrical dials that gave a new look to Glashütte Original’s watches after Germany’s reunification. In the PanoMaticLunar, the hour and minutes subdial is shifted to the left, while a smaller subdial for the seconds is positioned just below it. This frees space for a moon-phase indicator and a big date display on the right side of the dial. The division adds character to this classically styled timepiece.
In Caliber 90-02, the manufacture takes a somewhat freewheeling approach to its interpretation of Glashütte’s traditions. A three-quarter rotor provides the movement with power and the swan’s neck fine adjustment mechanism is duplicated. Therefore, instead of a conventional balance cock, a hand-engraved balance bridge provides stability. Glashütte’s rules state that the city’s watch brands must make at least 50 percent of the value of their products in Glashütte to be able to write the name “Glashütte” on the dials of their timepieces. Glashütte Original has no problem fulfilling this requirement because its factory even manufactures its own screws, which contributes toward a total creation of value of over 90 percent within the city limits. The PanoMaticLunar has a 40-mm rose-gold case and costs $23,900.