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Glashütte Original - The odd one out

Glashütte Original The odd one out

It's square but not boring. German but warm. Cool but seriously made. This Glashütte Original Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date draws looks and envy.

A special edition of the Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date, this watch has spent a week on my wrist and I had been looking forward to that for a while. I must confess a favorable bias for Glashütte Original, whose products are not given their fair share of attention in my opinion. This limited series is fitted with what the brand call a gray dial with dégradé effect. In fact, its a warm gray to the point of feeling brownish, and the dégradé is very strong. It comes on a dark beige calf nubuck leather strap and this colourway is the brand's seasonal signature. 

The layout is quite unusual. There aren't that many chronographs with a big date out there, and both are very appealing. Especially since Glashütte Original have managed to retain a bi-compax look. The 12-hour chronograph counter is in a small arch window instead of its own sub-dial. The watch's overall balance comes out stronger. Indeed, there has always been something about the Seventies. It's square but smooth, sturdy but elegant, quite the mix actually. And the bezel does a lot in the way of ironing out angles and everything that could have felt rigid here. The funny thing is, the very obvious 70's feel of the three-hander Seventies is almost completely gone from the chronograph, even with this version fitted with a brown-gray dial. It's a shame because that design is overlooked, underestimated and definitely worth closer consideration.

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© WordTempus / David Chokron

The movement is GO's caliber 37-02, an automatic integrated chronograph with column wheel, a 22k-gold-rimmed rotor, with large date and flyback function. It offers 70 hours of power reserve and an indicator to go along, discreetly lodged inside the small seconds at 9 o'clock. It is a beauty, and runs with satisfying accuracy. After 5 days on the wrist it was running around 45 seconds late, in keeping with current chronometric standards.

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© WordTempus / David Chokron

The Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date sure stands out. For one, it's a shape watch, and they're few and far between. Glashütte Original has had the Senator Seventies line around for year, but it's still not the norm, not by a long shot. Not half of all high-end brands do watches other than round, and even then, it still is one line out of six or even ten. Plus the Seventies Chronograph Date Panorama is a square watch. People are used to rectangular watches, mainly because Cartier's and Jaeger-LeCoultre's  feel familiar. But the square is the odd one out. Then there's the colour. Who owns a warm-gray-brown dial that's lighter at the center and darker around the edges ? No one! 

So the general impression the watch gives out is one of awe. It inspires comments, and definitely is a conversation starter among watch fans...but then again which watch doesn't do that with that crowd. The thing is it appeals to a broader audience... up to a point. Because however attractive the watch is, it has its limits. Actually, one. Thickness. The Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date towers 14 mm above the wrist. Numbers by themselves mean nothing, you'll say. But the watch is thick for another reason. The 37-02 movement is thick. In order to fit it into the original design of the Senator Seventies, GO have preserved the beautiful caseband and extended its undercarriage. The caseback therefore sits lower than the lugs. The thing is, the original design is an integrated bracelet one, so the one lug on each side of the case is meant to start a steel band. Not a leather one. What happens is there's a gap between lugs and skin, which makes the watch wobble. Tt never sits on the same spot two minutes in a row. So is the Glashütte Original Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date a watch for a bigger wrist than mine? Indeed I confess to being of light frame. But even on a bigger lad, the watch still shifts.

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© WordTempus / David Chokron

Another issue is one I have pointed out many times. The leather strap is great. It's thick yet flexible, the colour goes perfectly with the dial and the general mood it sets, both low key and cool in an Italian mix and match frame of mind. But the folding buckle Glashütte Original uses is a two blade one. Very long blades, that end up pressing against the bones instead of resting in the middle of the inside of the wrist, like a 3-blade buckle would. And that's an easy fix, that still needs to happen. 

The Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date is definitely a man's watch. In an era of genderless watchmaking, this one is for the males, although it isn't a wannabe tough guy timepiece. It is subtly done, with great colours. It just needs a little more concern for basic ergonomics. 

 

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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.

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