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Review: Glashütte Original PanoGraph

by Peter Chong on April 1, 2020
Reviews
Overview
Brand

Glashütte Original PanoGraph

Complication / Type of Watch

Column wheel chronograph with flyback

Recommended Retail Price

S$ 46,400 inclusive of GST

The Glashütte Original PanoGraph is a handwound, column wheel chronograph built in the grand tradition, which has stood the test of time, and still in the current collection. The watch was first introduced in 2000, and still goes strong. Here is our hands on detailed review.

Glashütte Original PanoGraph

Glashütte Original PanoGraph. Current collection. Review sample.

The Glashütte Original chronograph history is one which is well illustrated by some great watches. The modern GO Chronograph began with the PanoRetroGraph, which was introduced in 2000 (Limited edition of 50 in platinum and 150 in white gold). The watch was released in Red Gold with either a silver in 2002, and in a black dial in 2004, but has since been discontinued. This was an interesting watch, and one which we would love to feature in an episode of Rare Watches, so if you have one and would like for it to be featured, give us a shout.

The original PanoRetroGraph from circa 2000.

The PanoRetroGraph features the asymmertical dial, and an unprecedented retro chronograph mechanism. The movement is a tour de force. It was a hand-wound, column-wheel-controlled, 30-minute countdown counter with a chime, struck on a cathedral gong, to indicate the end of the timing interval, as well as a flyback chronograph.This retrograde count down chronograph was a novel concept then, and possibly still is now. The 50 piece limited edition was sold out quickly.

And from there, an entire Pano line was launched. The PanoGraph was the immediate successor, first presented in 2002. The PanoGraph features a very similar dial layout, but sans the retro countdown chronograph, and hence no gong as well.

The case, dial and hands

The case is the now familiar Pano collection case, a round three piece case, with soldered lugs. The shape is very classical and suits the high aspirations of the PanoGraph. The bezel and front surface of the lugs are high polished, while the sides are brushed. A deep, polished chamfer runs along the edge of the lugs, and the juxtaposition of these finishing techniques make a good aesthetic.

The dial is not cluttered, but an example of clean, clear, legible design in a chronograph.

Dial layout is similar to the PanRetroGraph, with an asymmetric design with the hour and minutes carrying the chronograph seconds hand, with the subsidiary sub-seconds forming a figure of 8 on the left. The right side of the dial is a sector display showing the elapsed chronograph timing. The GO signature panorama date is at about 4 o’clock position on the dial.

The concentric rings on the hour minute and seconds subdials may show moire in your screen.. If you see this, it may be caused by compression by your browser. To fix this, open the image and view at 100% on a separate tab.

The hour/minute subdial and the seconds subdial are counter sunk from the main dial. The main dial features a frosted style of finish, while the subdials have concentric circles. Hour markers are faceted bar markers in gold appliqué, while the minute markers are transfer printed.

The overall face side of the watch feels rather balanced, even though the design called for an asymmetric layout. The dial remains very legible, and is clear. However, Superluminova is only applied to the hour and minute hands, so while the time can be read in the dark, the chronograph functions are not.

The movement: GO Caliber 61-03

The movement is the remarkably well finished GO Caliber 61-03. The movement plates and bridges are in maillechort, while the chronograph parts are in steel. This movement has been in the GO stable since the introduction of the PanoGraph in 2002, but it still looks rather refreshing.

The Caliber 61-03 is a beauty from the back – the contrasts between the maillechort plates to the steel chronograph parts, the gold chatons, the blued screws and the rubies is a sight to behold.

The caliber features a column wheel to coordinate the chronograph functions and uses the traditional horizontal clutch arrangement. As such, there is a small amount of judder which is noticeable when starting the chronograph. But this is rather mild, and the effort required to start, stop, reset, and flyback is crisp, even and smooth with good positive feedback.

The column wheel, and levers which control its action and the levers in which the column wheel coordinates.

The Caliber 61-03 features a black polished cap for the jewel of the fourth wheel, and gold chatons held by blued screws. The balance cock is also finely decorated with a beautiful swan neck adjustment system and is hand engraved.

The balance cock on the PanoGraph is hand engraved.

All finnisage elements are done par excellence. And the finishing can stand to scrunity.

The competitive landscape

The landscape is a hot one, with as many entrants from high watchmaking houses as more modest maisons. However, at S$ 46,400, the GO sits right smack in middle ground, and hence can make claim to the median as a territory it owns.

At higher price points, we have the A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Ab/Auf is the obvious competitor. This illustrious chronograph is manufactured in the same town, no more than 50m from the GO. The Datograph matches the PanoGraph feature for feature, including the large date display, and includes a power reserve indicator. Some observers will argue that the Caliber 951 in the Lange pips the Caliber 61 as its movement has more dimensionality, more depth, and many say more beauty. The Datograph also holds a pedigree like no other. Read this article to understand its place in history. However, it retails for more than double the PanoGraph’s asking price at € 75 700 / S$ 118,500 in pink gold

And also the Vacheron Constantin Corne de Vache (US$ 54,000 in pink gold and US$39,000 in SS) is another. We also see the Patek Philippe Ref. 5172g, though both lack a date display. The asking price for the 5172 in white gold is S$ 97,100 or just over US$ 73,000.

At a lower price point, Chopard LUC Chrono One Flyback checks in at CHF26,100 (S$ 36,000) in SS but is also available in a Titalyt version – at CHF28,200 (S$ 38,900). The Chopard sports a date display, but is not a large date.

Concluding thoughts

In conclusion the Glashütte Original PanoGraph is a well designed and well executed chronograph. Details are well thought out and the watch just works well without any issues. The aesthetics are rather beautiful from both the face side as well as the case back, and the 40mm case sits nicely on the wrist with a good presence.

The PanoGraph used to be available in stainless steel, and that would have been a steal of a watch, but at just a tad over S$46k retail in pink gold, the only version available now, it is still rather good value for a well designed, magnificently executed, in-house column wheel chronograph with flyback.

Glashütte Original PanoGraph Specifications

Reference 61-03-25-15-05 Case material 18 ct red gold Strap Louisiana Alligator Leather/Nubuk strap

Case diameter 40 mm Height 13.7 mm Waterproof up to 5 atm Glass Sapphire crystal, anti-reflective both sides Bottom Sapphire crystal

Caliber Manual winding movement, Caliber 61-03 Dimensions Diameter 32.2 mm, Height 7.2 mm Oscillating frequency 28.800 A/h, equivalent to 4 Hz Power Reserve 42 h (+/- 5%) Jewels 41 Balance screw balance with 18 weighted screws

Features Hours and minutes (off-centre), small second (off centre), Chronograph, Second stop, Flyback, 30minute counter, stop second, Panorama Date; exquisitely finished movement, bevelled edges, polished and brushed steel parts, screwed godl chatons, blued screws, swan-neck fine adjustment, balance cock engraved by hand.

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