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New and hands-on review: Glashütte Original Sixties Chronograph Annual Edition 2020

by Peter Chong on April 22, 2020
Overview
Brand

Glashütte Original Sixties Chronograph Annual Edition 2020

Complication / Type of Watch

Automatic, column wheel chronograph

Recommended Retail Price

Sixties Chronograph Annual Edition 2020 S$ 12,900)

We reviewed the Glashütte Original Sixties automatic Annual Edition 2020 earlier, and now bring you this review of the Glashütte Original Sixties Chronograph Annual Edition 2020.

The watch was released as a two piece series for the 2020 Annual Edition, and comprised of a time only automatic and this chronograph.

Glashütte Original Sixties Chronograph Annual Edition 2020

The Annual Edition is an interesting concept. Unlike a Limited Edition, which is an artificial limit to the number that can be produced, the Annual Edition is only limited by production capacity and time. So far, we have seen three editions. The first in 2018 is in green, and the 2019 edition was an orange red. And finally this year, a glacier blue. All with the signature dégradé dial.

The case, dial and hands

The 2020 Annual Edition of the Glashütte Original Sixties Chronograph retains the same case and dial layout as the other Sixties Chronographs. The case shape is similar to the regular Automatic Sixties watch, but the case is slightly thicker at 12.4 mm instead of the svelte 9.4 mm in the automatic to house the chronograph module.

The dial has a beautiful dégradé effect, gently fading into deep blue from the light, almost violet hued glacier blue. This is unlike the fumé found on Moser watches which are supplied to them, GO makes the dials in-house in their facility in Pforzheim. And they get the colour just right in a process which requires high skill and not unlike what a spray painter might. The process is performed by applying several coats of glacier blue lacquer to a 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 dial layout is the classical bi-compax layout, with running seconds on the sub-dial at 3 o’clock, and a chronograph minute totalizer to 30 minutes at the 9 o’clock sub-dial. Both sub-dials are slightly sunken to create a clearer demarcation. The hour markers are appliqué bar markers except for the 6 and 12 which are pad printed in a fancy typeface, consistent with the Sixties collection. Minute markers are bars, and transfer printed, punctuated at 5 minute intervals by SuperLuminova dots. Hands are standard stick hands, with SuperLuminova infill, and the chronograph hand is a long, slender, pointed shape which goes well with the overall aesthetic.

Legibility is very good. And those who always cry foul when a watch, especially a chronograph has a date, can take a break from any excitement as the Sixties Chronograph is not equipped with a date.

The movement: GO Caliber 39-34

The movement is the GO Caliber 39-34, which is a module chronograph over the base in-house GO Caliber 39-32. The 39-32 is an old movement, one of the first introduced by GO, and have proven to be very reliable and hardy.

In the 39-34, the chronograph works is a cam activated module designed by Dubuis Depraz and is located under dial and not visible from the case back. A tell-tale sign is the location of the pushers are not level with the crown, in this case, offset towards the dial. From the caseback the watch looks exactly like the automatic only version.

As the chronograph module is not visible without dismantling the watch, we cannot comment on the finish, As a proxy, the feel of the pushers provides a good alternative. And they certainly work well. Each activation, whether start, stop or reset is a light push with a positive feedback. The pressure to activate each function is judged to be firm, but light with good positive feedback, and with a similar feel for start, stop and reset. This indicates the chronograph works are nicely polished with little friction as the levers slide over each other.

Movement finishing is standard for GO – it is nicely decorated, but not the same level as its higher priced brethen, like the PanoGraph which we reviewed recently. In the Caliber 61-03, the finishing is top drawer and stunningly beautiful. All the haute horlogerie elements addressed very well. Here on the Caliber 39-32, the descriptive elements are present, like Glashütte stripe finish, bevelled edges, but the execution level is not nearly the same. Plus, the hand engraving on the balance cock is omitted.

Competitive Landscape

The Glashütte Original Sixties Chronograph Annual Edition 2020 sits in a rather interesting landscape. The pricing is set to be rather competitive at S$12,900, and will compete directly with the various Omega chronographs – including the Speedmaster (many variants from the basic starting at S$6,850) and the Seamaster (S$9,900 in SS with rubber strap).

However, we think the most direct competitor is the Breitling Premier B01 Norton (S$11,900) or the base Premier B01 (S$11,200) or the new Chronomat B01, inhabits the same landscape. Two counter, automatic chronographs. However, Breitling B01 chronographs run on a totally in-house designed and manufactured column wheel chronograph. Movement finishing is perhaps about the same level as it too competes at a similar price point to the GO Sixties Chronograph. Aesthetically, the Breitling designs are perhaps louder, and stronger in contrast to the GO’s sedate, laid back look. The Breitling chronographs also have a stronger heritage tracing back to the first automatic chronographs in 1969 – the Swiss consortium of Heuer, Breitling, Buren and Dubois-Depraz. Interestingly, perhaps in an oblique way, the GO is also able to claim a bit of that heritage through Dubois-Depraz who makes the chronograph module.

Concluding Thoughts

The Glashütte Original Sixties Chronograph Annual Edition 2020 is a beautiful watch. Very discreet, and understated, especially with this year’s sober glacier blue. The main attraction is the gorgeous fumé style dial, which GO calls dégradé.

The case is classical, and the crown and plunger type pushers are very traditional, and sits comfortably on the wrist. The movement is nicely done, though not at the extreme levels that GO has shown us they are capable of, but sufficiently well enough to compete at this price point.

Glashütte Original Sixties Chronograph Annual Edition 2020 Specifications

Models with calfskin strap nubuck brown-grey
REF. 1-39-34-04-22-04
Case: Ø 42 mm
Height: 12.4 mm
Material: stainless steel
Strap: 20/18 mm stainless steel buckle 18 mm
Waterproof up to: 3 bar
Glass: sapphire crystal,
anti-reflective both sides
Bottom: sapphire crystal
Dial: glacier blue, varnished with dégradé effect, white Arabic numerals,
diamond-cut hour markers with luminous dots
Front view Ø: 36.2 mm
Hands: partially with Super-LumiNova

CALIBRE 39-34

Dimensions: Ø 30.04 mm, height 7.2 mm
Balance: smooth balance rim
Oscillating frequency: 28,800 vph, equivalent to 4 Hz
Power reserve: 40 hours (+/- 5 %)
Balance spring: Anachron
Shock protection: Incabloc
Jewels: 51 jewel bearings
Additional details:
Automatic winding, hour/minute (central), small second (off-centre), second stop, chronograph with stop second (central) and 30-minutes-counter, exquisitely finished movement, polished steel parts, polished screws, plate/balance cock/rotor with Glashütte stripe finish, bevelled edges, skeletonized rotor with 21-ct gold oscillation weight, swan-neck fine adjustment

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