Review of the Glashütte Original PanoMatic Tourbillon
By: John B. Holbrook, II
The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990 brought German reunification, and massive political and economic change. One of the many positives which have come from German reunification is the re-establishment of Glashütte Original as one of the word’s preeminent watch brands. The origins of Glashütte Original can be traced back to 1845 when Ferdinand Adolf Lange founded his first watch manufactory in Glashütte, Germany. For many years watches of mechanical complexity and grand stature were created, with the name Glashütte Original appearing on the dial for the first time in 1921. But, in 1951, Glashütte Original was merged with various other Saxon watch brands by the East German government and lost all identity. Fast forward to four years after German reunification and the privatization of the watch manufacturing facilities once controlled by the East German Government. Within two years, the factory is once again producing watches which bear the name Glashütte Original. By 2000, the Swatch Group purchased Glashütte Original, and it remains one of their many illustrious watch brands to this day.
While opinions vary, many consider the tourbillon complication to be the pinnacle of horological achieve-ment. Only a handful of manufacturers around the world have the technical capability to manufacture and produce a wristwatch with a tourbillon complication — the highest art in "haute" horology. The tourbillon was originally conceived by Breguet as a means of removing accuracy error caused by gravity in pocket watches. But in 1920, Alfred Helwig improved upon the original Breguet design and created the “flying tourbillon” — the same type used in Calibre 93 for the Glashütte Original PanoMatic Tourbillon.
The Glashütte Original Calibre 93 is a self-winding mechanical movement with 40 jewels (plus two diamonds), a power reserve of 48 hours, and a balance wheel which vibrates at 21,600 beats per hour. The movement is manufactured in-house by Glashütte Original and has impressive features such a Breguet balance spring, and elaborate finishing and detailing work applied, visible through the sapphire display back. The eccentric positioned and skeletonized rotor is made of 21 ct. gold, and signed “GO”. The wheel bridge and rotor are also decorated with “Glashütte stripe” finishing. The Calibre 93 is clearly on par both technically and cosmetically with the finest offerings of any manufacturer in the world.
The caliber 93 is set into a solid 18 ct. polished rose gold case which is 39.3mm in diameter, and 12.0 mm in height — a classically elegant size. The case carries a water resistance rating of 3 ATM. Attached to the case lugs is a gorgeous and well-padded Louisiana crocodile leather strap, with a case-matching 18 ct. rose gold clasp featuring the Glashütte Original insignia.
As captivating as the view of the movement is, the dial is an absolute work of art, featuring fine guilloché with clous de Paris decoration. The hour and minute hand are in an offset sector, in the upper left-hand portion of the dial, with the flying tourbillon viewable in a region which is overlapping at the six o’clock position. The watch also features a big date complication at the three o’clock position. The overall design execution is quite stunning, and unmistakably Saxon inspired.
The Glashütte Original PanoMatic Tourbillon (reference 9301010104) artfully blends both high art and technology in a perfect example of German horological craftsmanship and ingenuity. For those privileged few who can afford the retail price of $103,000.00, the PanoMatic Tourbillon is sure to be the crowning piece of any collection.
**Photos & Text Copyright 2010 WATCH TALK FORUMS INC.. No part of this report can be reproduced outside of WATCH TALK FORUMS without the expressed permission of John B. Holbrook, II.