Saxon watchmaker Glashütte Original is a surprisingly versatile brand. Although the name evokes serious, high-brow classics inspired by the German School of Watchmaking – incarnated by the august Senator line or the exquisite asymmetry of the Pano family – other collections complement the line-up like the groovy Sixties and Seventies families. When the SeaQ 39.5mm, a vintage-inspired dive watch, was presented in 2019, it caught most of us off guard. A dive watch at Glashütte Original? How does that fit in? Sure enough, the SeaQ was not a trigger response to market demand to have a dive watch in the collection. It pointed, as we soon discovered, to the state-run Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe (GUB) chapter in the brand’s history when the 36mm Spezimatic Type RP TS 200, a utilitarian dive watch for professional divers, surfaced in 1969.
Earlier this year, Glashütte Original released a version of its SeaQ 39.5mm with a Reed Green dial for the North American market – but not anymore limited to this area. Following in the footsteps of the blue SeaQ released in 2020, with its lively sunray-brushed dial and contemporary applied indices, the Reed Green model doubles up as a diver and a versatile, all-terrain sports watch.
Will the real Spezimatic please stand up?
Following the vicissitudes of WWII and the division of Germany, what remained of Glashütte’s traditional watchmaking industry was merged into the state-owned Volkseigener Betrieb (VEB) in 1951 to form the Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe (GUB). It was during this period that the GUB Spezimatic Type RP TS 200, the forefather of Glashütte Original’s SeaQ, was produced. The Spezimatic Type RP TS 200 of 1969 was a relatively rare dive watch equipped with the calibre 75. Designed for professional and combat divers alike, the 36mm Spezimatic Diver was characterised by its excellent rate precision, reliability and robust construction.
A compact, utilitarian dive watch with a black dial, massive, painted luminous numerals and markers, a thick arrow-tipped minute hand and a rotating bezel, Glashütte Original’s designers didn’t have far to go to look for inspiration. Just down the road from the GO manufacture is the German Watch Museum, where the Spezimatic RP TS 200 is on display. Combined with its late-1960s allure, which you can see in the Spezimatic’s overtly tool-watch nature and somewhat rudimentary, industrial finishes, you can see why GO singled it out as an ideal candidate for a remake.
SeaQ’s wet suits
Since it resurfaced in 2019, Glashütte Original’s vintage-inspired diver has appeared in 39.5 and 43.2mm cases – the latter being more luxurious and equipped with a movement featuring a Panorama Date. Common features shared by all SeaQ models are the sharp, angled cases, the 60-minute unidirectional bezel with a ceramic inlay, the large indices and hands and in-house automatic movements. In any of its formats, the SeaQ is first and foremost a dive watch and all models fulfil the ISO 6425 international divers’ watch standard as well as Germany’s national industrial standard for dive watches, DIN 8306.
Taking its design cues from the 36mm Spezimatic, the 39.5mm SeaQ 1969 Limited Edition with its steel case and black dial with printed numerals and old radium lume was the closest in spirit to the original. Along with the more historically accurate SeaQ 1969 were two other models: the 39.5mm SeaQ and the more luxurious 43.2mm SeaQ Panorama Date. The 43.2mm SeaQ Panorama Date is a more cultivated, less retro-oriented take on the Spezimatic dive watch. With its higher water-resistance (300m), more modern and refined finishings, more powerful movement with a 100-hour power reserve and silicon balance spring, the solid red gold model would be perfectly at home in waters frequented by heavyweight divers like the Rolex Submarine or the Yacht-Master. It might not sound like earth-shattering news, but in the microcosmic world of watchmaking, the more upmarket 43.2mm had a ripple down effect on the more compact 39.5mm blue dial version of 2020, and subsequently on the 2021 green dial we are looking at here today.
Trendy green dials
Anybody familiar with the Sixties and Seventies collections will know that Glashütte Original is not afraid of colour. Green, along with blue, are the on-trend colours today, and this year alone we’ve seen the Sixties Chronograph Annual Edition decked out in a green gradient dial and even a luxurious red gold PanoMaticLunar with a forest green gradient dial. As one of the few manufactures with its own dial manufacture in Pforzheim, GO can experiment freely with colours and textures to produce some of the most original and beguiling dials on the market.
The Reed Green dial is not sunray-brushed like the blue dial and features a green lacquered dial with a grainy matte surface complemented by a green ceramic inlay on the notched bezel. Depending on the light, the dial changes colour from almost black to a vibrant green in the sunlight. The signature arrow-tipped minute hand and the hour and central seconds are outlined with a lighter shade of lime green for additional contrast.
Replicating the design updates of the blue SeaQ 39.5mm, the Reed Green model replaces the painted Arabic numerals of the inaugural model with more contemporary applied Arabic numerals and markers filled with white Super-LumiNova in their interior. The look is fresher, younger, and less retro. The unidirectional 60-minute diving scale and oversized hands and numerals respect the original design, as does the date window at 3 o’clock that now features a green background that matches the dial. A box-shaped sapphire crystal protects the dial and produces intriguing distortions on the dial when viewed from the side.
With its compact dimensions – 39.5mm diameter x 12.15mm height – the SeaQ is a perfect fit for most wrists. The profusion of matte satin-brushed finishings on the case underscores the sporty nature of the watch, while the polished accents on the sides attest to the extra care taken in finishing the relatively simple case. To ensure the 200m water-resistance of the watch, the large crown is screwed-down, and the caseback is closed and engraved with a trident with the double-G logo.
Although you can’t see it, the movement below deck is Glashütte Original’s standard in-house calibre 39, similar to the one used in the Sixties 39mm model, though with a date function here. An automatic movement with a 40-hour power reserve and 4Hz frequency, it offers hours, minutes, seconds (with hacking seconds for precise setting) and a date mechanism. Even though it is hidden, calibre 39-11 is beautifully finished with bevelled edges, Glashütte stripes, a swan-neck fine adjustment (not engraved) and a skeletonised rotor.
Choice of straps
The Glashütte Original SeaQ 39.5mm is available with a stainless steel bracelet with an 8-step fine adjustment system, a dark green rubber strap with an embossed pattern or a grey synthetic textile strap, both these options with either a pin buckle or folding clasp.
Prices for the Glashütte Original SeaQ 39.5mm Reed Green are as follows: synthetic textile or rubber strap with pin buckle EUR 8,900; textile or rubber strap with folding clasp EUR 9,200; and stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp EUR 10,100.
For more information, please visit Glashütte Original’s website.