You would have thought that a brand like Glashütte Original (GO) with roots stemming from 1843 would have done it all, but apparently not because it has released a new pair of watches that serve as a first for the brand. The brand has named the new watches as PanoMaticCalendars, which is simple and concise and also a naming convention that more brands should adopt.
This new pair of watches sit in the brand’s “Innovative asymmetric watches” series otherwise known as the Pano collection and feature an annual calendar complication. While this is not the top tier of complications like a minute repeater, or a flyback chronograph, annual calendars are only the second most complex calendar (requiring only one date change a year on 1 March) after perpetual calendars and they are certainly far more useful in real world situations than either of the aforementioned complications. When arranged in its relatively unique asymmetric layout, these watches offer a differentiated one-of-a-kind option for annual calendars. Let’s get into it.
Design &Watch Specifications
42mm diameter x 12.4mm height, Red Gold or Platinum, display case back, 50m water resistant.
Red Gold – Silver opaline dial, Red gold hour & minute hands, blued steel small seconds hand.
Platinum – Skeletonized, galvanic black dial, blued steel hour & minute hands, steel small seconds hand.
Both – Matching (to case) applied indices, big double date @ 4 o’clock, month indicator along 3-6 o’clock & moonphase display @ 2 o’clock.
Louisiana alligator nubuck leather strap (brown or black)
As the website so aptly describes, these watches feature asymmetric dials, which places the main hour and minute dial off-centre, at around the 10 o’clock position. Counter intuitively, this actually cleaned up the dial, and allowed GO to fit in the small seconds, big double date, moonphase and month indicator legibly without any appearance of clutter. In particular, the inclusion of the month indicator along the outer track of the dial from 3 to 6 o’clock worked brilliantly to capture the information that it had to, while looking completely different from most other annual calendars out there.
While this allows the red gold version stands out sufficiently in its own right, the platinum takes the visual identity of its asymmetric uniqueness and runs with it. It features openworked dials on its hour & minute, small seconds and big date windows, that are beautifully framed by each of these complications which would not have been possible if not for the asymmetric nature of the dial layout. The result is an extremely cool looking watch that highlights the brand’s watchmaking prowess from the front.
Although the dials are killer, the proportions of the watch makes the overall identity somewhat confusing at least in my opinion. After all, they are casing what would normally be classified as elegant dressy dials, in a case size that trends more on the sporty side. Couple that with lumed filled hour & minute hands and we have a pair of watches that should naturally be dressy, but are not allowed to imbibe that personality all the way, at least to me. That is exacerbated by the water resistant being a non-committal 50m and the watches coming on alligator leather straps. To me, the brand should have leaned fully either way; make the watches full on dress watches which the dials make easy for you, release these as thicker, 100m water resistant watches on rubber straps. To be fair though, perhaps the case width was a movement limitation, since A Lange & Sohne’s own Lange 1 Perpetual Calendars also come in larger 41.5mm case widths.
In-house Calibre 92-10/Calibre 92-09, Automatic with off-centred rotor, double swan-neck fine adjustment, silicon balance spring, 4Hz, 100 hours power reserve
Speaking of the movement, GO had to develop a brand new movement to allow for the addition of the annual calendar movement. This movement is something to behold, with its ¾ plate divided by its signature off-centre double G rotor and completed with a double swan-neck fine adjustment. The finishing is top-notch, featuring Glashütte stripes, blued and polished screws, polished anglage and hand engraved gold text. It is also as durable as it is pretty, with an antimagnetic spring balance, and mounted with an impact resistant bayonet mounting, coupled with a longer power reserve of 100 hours, all while allowing the movement to be enjoyed via a display case back.
Price & Availability
Red gold – Eur 27,600, Regular Production.
Platinum – Eur 40,400, Limited to 150 pieces
A new movement and new complication housed in precious metals certainly don’t come cheap. That said, GO still offers tremendous value given the complications, watchmaking and finishing capabilities that it offers. After all, you would be hard pressed to find many alternatives in a similar price range with an equal level of finishing choice of complications. The new movement also has the added benefit of not having a equivalent alternative from A Lange & Sohne. In other words, if you appreciate the beauty of asymmetrical watches, and want brilliant watchmaking to go with it, this might be your only option. You certainly could do worse for more.
Overall, these are handsome looking watches. Unlike the Seventies Chrongraph that they released a couple of weeks ago, these are far more classic watches. They also offer you a choice of a traditional looking dial (as traditional as an asymmetric dial can be) and a cooler, more sophisticated dial. And for all my complaints about the identity crisis that the watches have, that is really more of a nitpick than and actual problem with the watch. I am certain that most of those who have the wrist for it would not be bothered in the least when strapping these beauties on.