Glashütte Original PanoMaticInverse
The Glashütte Original PanoMaticInverse was launched at Baselworld 2014, however, its allure shows no signs of waning. Angus Davies recently spent a few days ‘hands-on’ with the watch and shares his thoughts.
Haute Cuisine surpasses mere nourishment. It is a world where fresh ingredients are sourced locally and preparation takes an inordinate amount of time. Flavours are skilfully combined, proving complementary yet distinct. An accomplished chef demonstrates empathy for the food they cook, having a well-developed understanding of heat and time. This form of dining often involves eating several small dishes, savouring the different flavours over a number of hours. It is a wonderful indulgence, appreciated by those individuals of discerning temperament.
There are many parallels between Haute Cuisine and the world of fine watchmaking. The best examples fuse high-quality components, skilfully united, using time-served skills amassed over many years.
An increasing number of watches are equipped with an exhibition caseback, a feature that allows the wearer to view minuscule components pulsing with life. In some instances, these parts are polished to a meticulous standard, upholding traditional techniques passed down from one generation to the next.
Personally speaking, I adore watches that are endowed with an exhibition caseback, but they do require the wearer to remove the timepiece from the wrist before the game of horological voyeurism can begin.
The Glashütte Original PanoMaticInverse is different. It still has an exhibition caseback, however, it also features an array of movement parts, positioned front of house. Indeed, there is no need to detach this timepiece from the wrist in order to see the balance wheel oscillate to and fro.
Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of wearing this watch for a few days and recording my thoughts to paper.
A rhodium-plated, three-quarter plate immediately differentiates this watch from most other watches. The three-quarter plate is a feature widely seen on watches from this region of Saxony, supplanting the numerous individual bridges often employed on Swiss watches. A three-quarter plate proves more labour intensive to position and secure, but it does provide superior stability.
In this instance, a three-quarter plate has been positioned to the front of the watch in favour of a conventional dial. The German marque, Glashütte Original, has also brought the balance to the front of the watch, an aspect I will return to later.
The three-quarter plate is adorned with a series of vertical stripes, often termed ‘Glashütte ribbing’, a motif similar in concept to Côtes de Genève. The hour and minute display is positioned off-centre and features a smooth circlet which sits atop the three-quarter plate. The circlet acts as a track and is fitted with blue indexes. The track converses with lancine-type hands, clearly pronouncing the hours and minutes. A small seconds indication overlaps the aforementioned display. Both indications feature open rings that reveal the three-quarter plate below. The two displays impart meaning clearly while masterfully playing with different textures and depths.
A large date, or ‘Panorama Date’ as they prefer to say in Glashütte, is positioned at 2 o’clock. It features two discs which collaborate in order to impart the prevailing date. This proves far more complex than using a single disc, as the ‘tens’ disc and ‘units’ disc are not rotating at the same speed. However, the benefit of this approach is that the Panorama Date delivers exceptional readability.
The balance is located in the south-easterly region of the dial and is retained with an exquisite hand-engraved bridge, secured with two blued screws. The Duplex-swan neck fine adjustment system employs two screws to make subtle changes to the effective length of the hairspring, while the rim of the balance wheel is fitted with tiny screws, upholding watchmaking tradition.
The curb adjuster provides the primary means of altering the rate. By moving the adjuster (fitted with two curb pins) towards or away from the stud, the effective length of the hairspring is altered, making the movement run faster or slower.
Whilst wearing the Glashütte Original PanoMaticInverse I couldn’t help but stare at the balance wheel oscillating to and fro. Likewise, watching the hairspring pulse with life proved another horological delicacy.
The recessed area surrounding the balance is enlivened with pristine perlage, while thermally blued screws and cerise-coloured rubies further enliven the vista presented.
Housed in a 42mm steel case, the Glashütte Original PanoMaticInverse appears smaller than its stated dimensions would suggest. In my opinion, this is because the lug to lug distance is relatively modest. Moreover, the lugs taper sharply downwards, enticing the strap to enfold the arm.
Although some horophiles shun watches measuring more than 40mm in diameter, I would urge them to sample the caress of this German beauty. I suspect they will be pleasantly surprised.
When appraising the case between forefinger and thumb, it is easy to discern the timepiece’s notable quality. Every curving line and straight facet is supremely smooth.
Most of the case surfaces are highly polished, with the exception of the satin-finished caseband and the brushed strap buckle. Sometimes, when a case is embellished with highly polished surfaces it can seem a bit gaudy, however, in this instance, the satin-finished caseband tempers any unwanted exuberance. Indeed, the case of the Glashütte Original PanoMaticInverse is eminently elegant.
The timepiece is equipped with an exhibition caseback, affording views of the self-winding movement. The German firm has not skimped on materials. For example, the blue Louisiana alligator strap feels first-rate. The watch can be specified with a pin buckle or folding clasp. My press loan was equipped with the latter. I found it closed with a positive action and felt secure at all times.
The Calibre 91-02 sits at the heart of PanoMaticInverse. While discussing the dial area, I mentioned many components which are normally located to the rear of the watch. However, there remain many additional details to talk about.
When appraising the movement, the first part which arrests attention is the openworked rotor. The brand’s double-G logo is presented in rich golden tones and its sits against rhodium-plated surfaces embellished with Glashütte ribbing. A 21-carat gold weight is attached to the rim of the rotor with four screws.
Interestingly, the weighted section of the rotor runs in what the Swiss refer to as a ‘trottoir’. This channel, encircling the three-quarter plate, plays host to the bulkiest part of the rotor. By adopting this approach, the overall height is reduced, in this instance, it measures just 7.1mm. The trottoir is embellished with colimaçon.
Similar to the front of the watch, the movement features a three-quarter plate and includes various text presented in golden tones. The screws are polished and thermally blued. Every square millimetre of this movement is beautifully refined.
The balance has a frequency of 28,800 vph (4Hz) and the movement features 49 jewels. Assuming the watch is fully wound, it will run autonomously for 42 hours (+/- 5%).
I enjoyed my short term relationship with the Glashütte Original PanoMaticInverse. Sadly, my romance inevitably came to an end. As the watch left my custody, I felt a compunction to utter those immortal words, ‘Parting is such sweet sorrow…’. Despite lapsing into an affected thespian mode, my admiration for this timepiece remains truly heartfelt.
Glashütte Original has skilfully blended form and function. The dial imparts information lucidly. In particular, the Panorama Date is fabulous. In fact, on several occasions, I advanced the date merely to witness the numerals change within a blink of an eye and hear to the accompanying sweet click.
The vertical stripes spanning the dial, running from north to south, provide a seemly alternative to a conventional dial. Furthermore, the smattering of blued screws and rubies further enlivens the horological canvas. However, while these parts proffer an aesthetic allure, they are also functional. Indeed, there is nothing faux about this watch.
Every touchpoint rewards the fingertips. The case is beautifully smooth and refined. The German brand has reinforced this sense of quality by ensuring the strap and clasp are of comparable grade.
However, all roads lead me to the Calibre 91-02 movement. It is beautifully finished and compares favourably with some of Switzerland’s finest. The sight of the balance wheel front of house and the engraved balance bridge could thaw the coldest heart. As the screwed balance oscillates backwards and forwards and the hairspring pulses it never ceased to make me smile.
In fine dining, the ultimate experience for a ‘foodie’ is to sit at a table within the kitchen and see dishes come to life first-hand. The Glashütte Original PanoMaticInverse serves its own mouthwatering delicacies for the wearer’s enjoyment and they don’t even need to remove the watch from their wrist.
- Model: Glashütte Original PanoMaticInverse
- References: 1-91-02-02-02-30
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 42 mm; height 12.3mm; water resistance 5ATM (50m); sapphire crystal to the front and exhibition case back.
- Functions: Off-centre hour/minute/seconds; Panorama Date
- Movement: Calibre 91-02; self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 49 jewels; power reserve 42 hours (+/- 5%).
- Strap: Blue Louisiana alligator strap presented on a steel folding clasp
- Price: £11,100 (RRP as at 12.2.2021)