Crown & Caliber’s Watchtoberfest celebration of the best, most storied German timepieces continues with a look at one of the country’s most popular and best-known brands.
Over the course of more than 170 years, Glashütte Original developed a reputation for accurate timepieces — Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, the first man to reach the South Pole, reportedly relied on one. The fact that some of the most rugged individuals relied on the company’s watches to navigate the icy wastes, however, didn’t prevent the timepieces themselves from engendering a sense of elegance.
As with all high-end German watch manufacturers, Glashütte Original’s current production process blends tradition and innovation, artistry and manufacturing. The brass brushes used on the dials of the Seventies Panorama Date, for example, give them a “sun-brushed surface.” On some dials (including those of the Senator Observer and Senator Chronometer), numerals and scale lines are printed using the “pad printing” method,” in which a silicon or rubber pad presses ink onto the dial—similar to the way a rubber stamp leaves a mark on paper. All dials undergo roughly a half-dozen different quality checks during production.
Many Glashütte Original watches have a timeless look, albeit one leavened with touches of modernist steel and silver. The ballet of complications beneath the dial enables the wearer to keep track of time and date across multiple zones.
Although Glashütte Original offers timepieces along the lines of its Sixties Chronograph or Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date–which look every millimeter the quintessential twentieth-century watches, down to the leather straps, square faces, and prominent bezels–the company is also known for hardware that veers into the realm of the fanciful.
Within its polished red-gold case, for example, the Senator Manual Winding Skeletonized Edition features a skeletonized dial with a view of the watch’s finely engineered internal components. Here is Glashütte Original’s watchmaking on display for all to see—gold lettering, hand-engraved plates and gently curving components.
Another timepiece, the PanoGraph, includes an asymmetrical dial design with interlocking hour, minute and second dials on the left, and a Panorama Date on the right. Not complex enough? There’s also a chronograph with three 10-minute scales above the date. The watch’s sapphire crystal backing offers a view into the inner workings that enable this device to function so effortlessly.
Glashütte Original, in other words, offers something for every variety of timepiece aficionado. The more reserved traditionalists have their classic wristwatches, while those who desire a little more flair can strap on a PanoGraph or some other feat of horological engineering.