The Glashütte Original Sixties Chronograph Annual Edition 2023 is a subtle tribute to the Swinging SixtiesBorna Bošnjak
The Sixties collection is Glashütte’s playground for being a little bit quirky, taking design cues from the watches they could’ve made, were it not for the happenings of post-WWII Germany. The main inspiration is the Spezimatic model of the 1960s, including its funky space age numerals and engraved stick indices, though this year’s Glashütte Original Sixties Chronograph Annual Edition is a little different from what we’ve become accustomed to. Alongside the regular production offering, Glashütte has become known for their vibrant, textured dials that coincided with each Annual Edition release thus far, but have toned it down drastically for 2023.
The overall texture follows suit of previous Annual Editions, sporting an irregular engraved pattern that Glashütte make with vintage tooling. Unlike those models, the Sixties Chronograph Annual Edition 2023 features a subtle grey colouring. Just like the Spezimatic, the dial is also domed, sloping downwards at its edges, the effect strengthened by the smokey gradient darkening towards its edges. This is also perhaps the most appropriate design to make use of Glashütte’s script logo.
Taking a closer look at the dial, we can explore the gold highlights chosen for the indices and hands. It’s a bit of an odd choice considering the main colour is grey, but it also kind of works. It’s sort of a warm grey, helped by the equally warm tones of the shiny gold appliques. That’s not the only curious thing about the indices, as they’re neither applied nor printed on the dial. Making the most of its domed surface, they’re actually engraved, tributing a unique visual element taken straight from the Spezimatic. One area where I wish Glashütte added a bit more oomph is the handset. It’s pleasant enough, and the curved tips are a nice attention to detail, but the shape and finish isn’t the most inspired.
Another detail that’s revealed is in the oversized sub-dials flanking either side of the pinion. At first glance, they seem to just have a matte finish, but there’s actually a very fine azurage engraving that results in the moiré pattern you see picked up by the camera.
On the wrist, the Sixties collection always reminded me of a flying saucer, or perhaps the smoothest, most stone-skipping-capable pebble you can imagine. Now, it’s not exactly a small watch, with a 42mm diameter, 48.5mm lug-to-lug and a thickness of 12.4mm, though I think most average wrists will be content with its proportions.
While it is a chronograph, the Sixties collection isn’t exactly sporty – Glashütte Original leave that to the SeaQ collection. These dressier connotations then surely play into the fully polished case finish. Its design isn’t overly complex, and there are no sharp angles – I do wish there was a highlighting facet or two on the lugs.
I know I just said the Sixties isn’t really sporty, so what is it doing fitted on an unlined fabric strap? It does lend the watch a sportier feel than it would normally have, and it kind of works. Having said that, if you’re not a fan, the 20mm lug width will do wonders for aftermarket strap options.
Finally, we’ve got the Caliber 39-34 that powers the Sixties Chronograph which Glashütte Original calls their manufactory movement. To avoid any confusion from the nomenclature, the situation is this. The 39-34 is a modular chronograph using Glashütte Original’s 39-22 time-only movement as a base, to which they fit a Dubois Dépraz chrono module. The result is a 4Hz, 40-hour power reserve package with some lovely skeletonisation work on the 21k rotor, and fitted with a swan-neck regulator. One thing that always stood out to me with the Sixties collection, and the larger Chronograph in particular, is how small the movement looks when viewed through the caseback. To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of this, though it does play into how the Sixties wears – remember my pebble comment? That’s thanks to the domed sapphire crystal caseback – a rare feature in any watch – making for a very comfortable on-wrist experience.
I’m a huge fan of the typeface of the original Spezimatic and the new Sixties, as it’s a fitting tribute to an underappreciated era of German watchmaking. While this new design is a departure from the vibrant norm, it’s a welcome one – variety is the spice of life after all.
Glashütte Original Sixties Chronograph Annual Edition 2023 pricing and availability
The Glashütte Original Sixties Chronograph Annual Edition 2023 is available now from Glashütte Original boutiques and select retailers for a limited time. Price: A$13,550
|Model||Sixties Chronograph Annual Edition 2023|
|Case Dimensions||42mm (D) x 12.4mm (T) x 48.5mm (LTL)|
|Case Material||Stainless steel|
|Water Resistance||30 metres (3 bar)|
|Dial||Grey/black varnished bronze with dégradé effect|
|Strap||Dark blue synthetic strap with steel pin buckle|
|Movement||Caliber 39-34, automatic, swan-neck regulator, 21k gold rotor|
|Power Reserve||40 hours|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph|
|Availability||Now, for a limited time|