Glashütte Original The secrets of unique retro dials
Twenty-five separate steps are required to create the unique green dials of the Sixties and Sixties Date Panorama models.
Since first presented in March 2018 the green Sixties and Sixties Panorama Date have proved very popular with watch connoisseurs and fans of vintage around the world, thanks primarily to the distinctive green dials.
A 60-tonne press
With its Sixties line Glashütte Original takes up the traditions and heritage of legendary watches like the “Spezimatic” dating back from the 1960s. Original dials and archival technical drawings remain a source of inspiration in the development of new dials today, for the designs in Glashütte and the dialmakers in Pforzheim.
Glashütte Original is one of the very few manufactories to make its own dials – and this critical element of timekeeping must meet quality standards as stringent as those governing all other components of its watches. Exceptional quality starts with the precise punching of the German silver blank, the first step in the production of a Sixties dial for the 2018 annual edition. The following step creates the elaborate embossed surface, with historic watches serving as a model. A 60-tonne press stamps the striking pattern onto the blank – the same process was in use more than 50 years ago in Pforzheim, when dials were already being produced there for the Glashütte manufactory. The embossing punch used today, with its filigreed decoration, dates from this period.
Punching of the German silver blank © Glashütte Original
Embossing dial blanks © Glashütte Original
The blank is then cut to its definitive diameter, and a hole is inserted at the centre for the hands. A second pass under a press lends the disc, which is only 0.5 mm thick, its characteristic domed perimeter. Whereas in the 1960s the domed shape served to mask the height of the movement – much thicker at the time than today's movements –, today the curved edges are a characteristic element of the Sixties line's vintage design. In the meantime, contemporary automatic movements like the three-hand model's Calibre 39-52 now fit easily into a case barely 10 millimetres high.
Curving dial blanks © Glashütte Original
And with that, the size, shape and structure are fixed. In the subsequent steps, several coats of green lacquer are applied to the previously galvanised dial before it receives its “dégradé” finish. This effect is achieved by spraying on black paint, with great care and in such a way that the dial perimeter takes on a much darker hue than at its centre, resulting in an individual colour gradient that renders each dial unique. The lacquered dials are then heated in a kiln to burn in the colours.
German silver, white and green
A diamond soon cuts through these layers to form eight of the twelve hour indexes. This renders the raw material visible once again, so that the hours in the Sixties Annual Edition are counted in German silver and in white. As was the case for the historic reference models, the numerals 3, 6, 9 and 12 are printed in white in the remaining gaps, using a pad printing process. The same holds true for the Glashütte Original logo and the logo-scripts “Glashütte i/Sa” (Glashütte in Saxony) and “Made in Germany”. The final step consists in the application by hand of green Super-LumiNova on the small dots on the hour indexes. Together with the radiant bars on the hour and minute hands, they ensure that the Sixties models are perfectly legible by night as well.
Printing numerals and logos © Glashütte Original
Various stages of the dials © Glashütte Original
There's not much time left to try on one of these Sixties models, at Glashütte Original boutiques or authorised dealers around the world. When time runs out, they will be replaced by a new annual edition that references, in a new and unequivocal way, the design of dials from the nineteen sixties.
Sixties Date Panorama © Glashütte Original
Sixties © Glashütte Original
Glashütte Original is the rightful heir to Germany’s 170 years of legacy in the art of watchmaking. Glashütte Original is an authentic high-end manufactory that outfits all of its watches with in-house developed and made movements.Find out more >
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