New collections appear and disappear in the watch industry relatively frequently, but these days it’s not that often that a brand jumps headlong into a category or genre that they aren’t as well known for. Just such an occasion materialized midway through last year, as Glashütte Original came to market with the Spezialist Collection. What we have here is a new category of tool watches from the brand that started with a trio of watches; the SeaQ, the SeaQ 1969, and SeaQ Panorama Date. While the SeaQ 1969 was a limited production run of only 69 pieces, featuring a few nominal design cues that further link it to its predecessor, the Spezimatic Type RP TS 200, from (you guessed it) 1969, the SeaQ and SeaQ Panorama Date models are pillars of this new collection.
Though similar in essence, there are some vast differences, both visual and technical, between the SeaQ and SeaQ Panorama Date models. Where one clearly targets the vintage design-loving subset of collectors, the other takes on an already strong field in the modern luxury dive watch category. In both camps there are quite a few competitors to battle, but Glashütte Original being who they are, the approach taken was thoughtful, with ample attention paid to the finest of details. The SeaQ Panorama Date is presently offered in either a black or blue sunray finished dial, whereas the SeaQ is only on offer in black—at least for now. Both variants can be had on a rubber strap, a grey synthetic mesh, or fitted with a stainless steel bracelet. We’re especially fond of the micro-adjustment of the steel bracelet, activated by depressing the Glashütte Original logo. This bracelet has been in use by the brand since 2005, where it was first developed for the Sport Evolution model.
Where It All Started
As previously noted, Glashütte Original isn’t—nor has it ever been—known as a tool watch or dive watch brand. That said, the range of models from its predecessor Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe was quite diverse, especially through the ’60s and ’70s. It was in the interest of diversification that Glashütte Original opted to target the dive watch segment, and though not particularly well known or collectible, the Spezimatic Type RP TS 200 proved to be an ideal base upon which to model a new dive watch offering.
When looking at the SeaQ model, there’s no questioning that the piece is aimed squarely at the vintage-inspired diver segment. Thankfully, a keen eye for detail has always been the hallmark of Glashütte Original’s watch design, and the SeaQ is no exception.
On its dial, details like the choice of a light beige printing on its indices—a color aptly named ‘old radium’ by Glashütte Original, its minute track configuration, and white box surrounding its date window are all directly carried over from the Type RP TS 200. The limited edition (and currently sold-out) SeaQ 1969, meanwhile, differs in that it has green luminous hands, creating a two-toned look—an homage to the original Spezimatic Type RP TS 200. (Another key difference: the SeaQ 1969 also has “25 rubis shockproof” printed on the dial, plus the watch’s edition number engraved on the base plate.)
One of the benefits of the brand owning their own dial manufacturing facility in Pforzheim, Germany is that the initial design and prototyping phase is much quicker and more fluid than if they were to rely on a contractor. Making changes to refine things during the design process is a much less costly and time consuming affair, and thus allows for an ever greater level of fine-tuning.
Looking at the case itself, its 39.5mm diameter, oversized guard-less crown, and domed crystal continue to echo this vintage sentiment. Really, the use of a ceramic bezel insert is the only obvious giveaway from giving the piece an initial glance, as even the design of the tropic rubber strap is appropriately “period correct.”
The SeaQ Panorama Date, unlike its sibling, is much more current in terms of both aesthetics and overall execution. Yes, the style of its indices, hands, domed crystal, and bezel remain intact, but that’s where the similarities end. The ‘old radium’ color has been replaced with applied indices filled with white Super-LumiNova for the blue dial and green Super-LumiNova on the black dial version of the watch.
Its case size has also been increased to a much more substantial 43.2mm across and 15.65mm thick. A key reason for these increased dimensions is the larger self-winding Calibre 36-13 that powers the new release—a movement that is also quite modern in specification.
Though its finishing remains traditional, the Calibre 36-13 is no regular movement. First introduced with Glashütte Original’s Senator Excellence collection, the 4 Hz caliber runs a silicon balance spring — a first for the brand — bolstering both its resistance to magnetism and general running stability. Though using a single mainspring barrel, the piece is capable of holding a power reserve of 100 hours, all while passing a litany of stringent tests of the entire watch over a 24-day period — a rigorous quality assurance procedure that we will discuss in another upcoming feature.
Looking through its exhibition caseback you’ll note the 21k gold mass affixed to its winding rotor. Though a nice visual touch, this is done as much for function as it is aesthetics; given the added length and rigidity of its mainspring, and increased mass is required to maintain proper self-winding.
The Glashütte Original SeaQ and SeaQ Panorama Date are priced from $8,700 and $11,200 respectively.