In Pforzheim, Germany, this past fall I watched a technician peer into a scope built into a decades-old dial-cutting machine. With utmost precision, the technician proceeded to apply a whirring, diamond-tipped round blade into a blue dial, carefully cutting a series of tiny grooves around the diameter of the dial.
That dial was to be placed into a Glashütte Original Sixties Panorama Date watch, just one of several models that comprise the firm’s wildly successful Iconic Designs collection of 20th Century Vintage watches.
Glashütte Original creates all its retro-designed models with similar attention to details. And as a manufacturer with a rich vein of watch designs steeped in a very specific history, this once East German watchmaker has been careful to retain the spirit of its historic designs within each new Iconic Designs collection.
Last week Glashütte Original again revealed a collection that recalls that past. The Glashütte, Germany,-based watchmaker introduced a collection of five Sixties Iconic Square chronographs, released in sets of twenty-five of each color, with dials made by its own dial maker in Pforzheim.
These chronographs, like last year’s round-cased Sixties Iconic collection, again recall the firm’s “Spezimatic” models produced in the 1960s. And as it did with that reborn collection, Glashütte Original will again defer to many of the same original machines and dial-making procedures that made the original models so vibrant and, eventually, collectible.
Many of those Spezimatic watches incorporated typical 1960s design elements, including a square cushion shape, domed dials, curved hands and unusually shaped Arabic numerals.
All these elements can be seen in the new models, which also feature dial colors inspired by the era. Where you see green, blue, grey, orange and red, Glashütte Original sees Forest, Ocean, Graphite, Tangerine and Fire. Regardless of their names, the dials are certainly the focal point of these new models. At the firm’s dial making facility, I watched as skilled technicians carefully applied colored lacquer with a steady hand in order to reach the precise shading known as the dégradé effect (light center, darker perimeters), a procedure again used to create these new dials.
And while four of the watches also benefit from an added sunburst finish, one of the five watches, the grey (Graphite) model, offers yet another finish that adds a second dimension to that initial effect. Prior to galvanic nickel-plating, the grey watch’s dial blank is imprinted (via a 60-ton press) with an intricate filigree guilloche pattern using a stamp pulled from the archives of the Glashütte Original dial manufactory. The result is stunning.
The five steel models in the Sixties Iconic Square Collection measure 41.35mm x 41.35 mm, and are powered by in-house automatic chronograph caliber 39-34. All are fitted with a matching Louisiana alligator leather strap: brown for the models featuring green or ‘tangerine’ dials, with black on the grey, blue and red dials. Production of the five models in the Sixties Iconic Square Collection is limited to twenty-five pieces each, available February 9 in Glashütte Original Boutiques and selected retailers worldwide. Price: $9,700.