Watching Andrew in the Virtual Baselworld 2020 recap I had a deep understanding of the distracted description of the glacial blue degradè dial of the Sixties pieces from Glashütte Original. Today I’m quietly drawn to something that is so far removed from my vintage diver tool-tastes that I am genuinely surprised.
Glashütte Original is the independent child in the Swatch Group family, left to their own devices in the German mountains, with the result being a superb range of classic Germanic horology infused with a strong identity and in-house production.
Their fascinating mix of strictly traditional watchmaking, in their Senator series, stretching to Haute Horlogerie with tourbillons juxtaposed with their Sixties and Seventies ranges. The latter two are recognisable by their aforementioned dazzling degradè dials with colours even the boldest of us would shy away from – then falling in love with after a closer look.
In between what is a majority of quite dressy references, we have their only vintage diver, one of the categories du jour. The SeaQ is a picture-perfect version of their Spezimatic from 1969 in its pure tool form. A quietly confident skin diver in an all-brushed guise, with classic square lug openings and delicate bevels on the case. This comes in a 39.5mm version and a rather large 43.2mm model, with black and blue sunray dials and applied large Roman numerals in Super-LumiNova filled white gold. The hands are classic skin diver with a sword and large arrow making it sharply legible at all hours. A lollipop seconds hand perfectly complements the other two.
The straps are fabric or rubber with a nice 3-link bracelet option. So far, a sharply executed rendition of a sub-40mm skin diver with delicate details and a German twist, and not a polished case side or bracelet link in sight. Scrolling down the email from Glashütte Original, I thought I had strayed onto the ladies dress watch section, as something glittery appeared. A version of the SeaQ in the same stark brushed shape, dark blue sunray dial and a … what? Gem-set bezel. I was nearly giggling, wondering how this could have possibly slipped though the net. Not customised but a catalogue reference, on fabric, quality rubber or bracelet. I can honestly say this is the first time I have lusted after a watch with a diamond bezel, with that perfect blue sapphire where the classic 12 o’clock triangle would normally sit. I’m confused.
The other changes to this new 39.5mm version is white Super-LumiNova replacing the creamy previous iteration, making the visage even crisper in colour with the deep blue dial. All this is mere background music, with the 47 brilliant-cut diamonds and that bright blue sapphire set into a classically sharp coin-edged fully functional bezel, surrounding a box-type sapphire crystal.
Under the engraved caseback sits the in-house 39-11 automatic calibre, with the typical sharp execution of Glashütte Original, the ¾ plate having Glashütte striping, bevelled and polished edges, skeletonised rotor and a swan-neck fine adjustment of the balance.
The toolyness of the SeaQ is underlined by the ceramic bezel version being both ISO and DIN-certified for diving, but neither are for me. I am falling in love with the at-first-sight-logic-twitching combination of brushed skin diver with a dazzling diamond bezel. I never thought I would reach this point, but here I am. A fully brushed tool watch that evokes the late ’60s, a speedboat and Aqualung equipment, but iced out. Côte d’Azur, I’m on my way…
Price and availability of the Glashütte Original SeaQ:
The Glashütte Original SeaQ in steel is AUD$15,300.
The Glashütte Original SeaQ in steel with diamonds is AUD$24,550.