Glashütte Original: Hands-On with the new Sixties Annual Edition 2020 ‘Glacier Blue’
The lovely vintage-inspired dress watch gets an ice-cool new dress.
The Glashütte Original ‘Sixties’ collection represents the entry level for the German manufacturer, and draws its inspiration from the brand’s rich own history. The models are always colourful, and in recent years also came with structured dial.
With the Sixties, Glashütte Original took an interesting approach to limitation: instead of a certain number, the production is restricted to a given year. For this year, everything is a bit cooler than the years before: welcome to the Annual Edition 2020 ‘Glacier Blue’. As usual, there are two versions, a 39mm time-only and a 42mm chronograph, both in stainless steel:
(The Glashütte Original Sixties Annual Edition 2020 ‘Glacier Blue’)
The overall design is simple yet efficient: a round case in reasonable sizes, a heavily domed sapphire crystal over an equally domed dial, straight hands and stretched art déco numerals (at the even indices) or polished diamond-cut slots at the odd ones – these make for an elegant watch that still shows character – and a recipe which has worked already some 50 years ago:
(A vintage Glashütte Original Chronometer, seen in the brand’s museum)
It is the purity of the time-only watch which attracts me particularly to this version, and I would like to base the bulk of this presentation on this version: all the elements are presented in their essential form.
(The Glashütte Original Sixties Annual Edition 2020 ‘Glacier Blue’ Time-Only)
Core to the appeal of the Sixties is the dial – new now in an aqua-colour like blue called ‘Glacier Blue’, slightly degraded to the outside, and applied over a sunburst-finished dial. It’s starkly domed shape makes for interesting effect comes light onto it:
Sidenote: the ‘Glacier Blue’ colour is not exactly new to Glashütte Original: already in their ‘Seventies’ Collection (severely underrated as far as I am concerned!) from 2017 they had such a piece – and a lovely one I still cannot forget, with the bolder elements playing very well with the blue hues:
(Glashütte Original Seventies Panarama Date)
The execution of the dial is simple, domed baseplate, sunburst finishing, degradé lacquer, diamond cut slots and index printing, and the execution is flawlessly precise:
(Dial detail showing the perfectly crafted elements)
On the back, Glashütte Original elected to continue the curvature of the dial into the sapphire case back – allowing an almost exhibitionist view on and into the movement:
Base calibre is the tried and trusted automatic Glashütte Original Cal. 39-52, originally developed already under communist rule in Eastern Germany. For me, it exemplifies the qualities I hold dear for the second manufacturer in Glashütte, i.e. chronometric performance, ruggedness and reliability.
The watch comes on a brown-grey calfskin nubuck strap and a simple tang buckle, which for me fits nicely into the overall package: totally adequate with a twist!
(The nubuck strap and the branded tang buckle)
As far as I am concerned, the Glashütte Original is an everyday companion with a twist, fun to wear but not overbearing:
The same also applies to the slightly larger chronograph, which is a touch sportier due to the larger diameter and the ‘sporty’ complication. The subdials add a bit more detail to the dial surface, albeit – for me at least – at the expense of the glow that the vast uncluttered dial area of the smaller version offers.
Overall another fine offering, with the small ‘module’ fly in the ointment: the chronograph is a Dubois-Dépraz module added to the base movement, transforming it into the Cal. 39-34 – a sensible choice at the given price point.
For a few more impressions check here:
Overall, there is a lot to like here: in-house watchmaking and design pedigree, fresh interpretation without sticking too close to the rails of the past, all elements combined into a package which feels holistically rounded: they defy the in-house vs. outsourced discussion because the substance is just there. They also don’t simply rehash and upgrade a historic watch, but take them as a canvas for modern cues.
For the upwards moving collector, a tempting opportunity to obtain a solid piece of German watchmaking at a fairly affordable price point, with movement and design offering a direct, credible connection to the past.
On the opposite end, for collectors who already own several higher end pieces of Swiss and German manufacturers the Sixties is not uninteresting either: as an everyday watch, a travel or work companion perhaps which does not come with the burdens of carrying a significant piece of investment, but again comes with considerable ‘in-house’ credibility.
So, with the Glashütte Original Sixties Annual Edition 2020 ‘Glacier Blue’ we arrive at a classless timepiece which you wear for fun, but when it comes down to it, all the serious aspects are covered.
That’s not the worst proposition, and for my feeling, we should see such watches more often!