If I will ever have to do an exhaustive study of a topic in the filed of art history, I would probably chose the history of design behind the Iron Curtain. It must be really interesting to find out how new aesthetic trends got negotiated and set during those years of censorship and restrictions.
If the West was living its psychedelic period during the 60’s, in East Germany even if things were happening on a more restrained scale, for sure bright and bold colour combinations were not avoided. It is this period that Glashütte Original decided to bring back with the Sixties Iconic Collection, five colourful timepieces inspired by the Spezimatic, a legendary timepiece from the GDR era, introduced by the state-owned VEB Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe in 1964.
The Spezimatic fitted with the automatic Calibre 74 and 75, was produced between 1964 and 1979, and it saw a large number of different versions: all were highly reliable and featured an elegant design, and they quickly became style icons of their time.
Today Glashütte Original pays tribute to this iconic era with a special collection, inspired by the design of the models of the time. The Sixties Iconic Collection comprises five elegant, colourful timepieces. They merge the unmistakable design of the sixties with exceptional dials in unique hues that give the models their names: Sixties Red, Sixties Golden, Sixties Aqua, Sixties Brown and Sixties Grey.
All five models offer a delightful surprise in the form of an elegant dégradé effect on the dial, which is achieved using an extremely complex and time-consuming process in Glashütte Original’s own dial manufactory in Pforzheim, Germany. In this process the dials are first galvanized with great care; layers of lacquer are added by hand in a series subsequent steps. Throughout, the process is repeatedly brought to a halt to allow the result to be examined by an experienced set of eyes.
In a final step, a further colour is carefully applied to this “canvas” using a special spray gun – this technique produces, depending on the angle, an individual colour gradient, known as the dégradé effect, which renders each watch unique.
Three of the five elegant models in the Sixties Iconic Collection combine these unique shadings with a refined sunray finishing: With the Sixties Golden and the Sixties Aqua this results in a golden shimmer or a brilliant turquoise at the centre of the dials blending into a deep black, while the Sixties Red takes on an additional colour: here a luminous yellow changes to intense red.
The subtle colour shading of the Sixties Brown and Sixties Grey models is enhanced by an elaborate imprint. This complex technique makes use of guilloche stamps, which, with the help of a 60-ton press, imprint their filigree pattern on the paper-thin dials. These stamps, known as “dies”, are a further example of extreme authenticity. Almost as old as the historic examples from the sixties themselves, they are tools, around 40 years old, from the archives of the Glashütte Original dial manufactory.
They give the model with the brown-black dégradé effect a fine rhombic pattern, while the silver-grey model displays a structure evocative of dewdrops.
The timepieces feature the typical domed dials and lightly arched hour and minute hands, both with Super-Luminova highlights. Arabic numerals at hours 3, 6, 9 and 12 are presented in a font that expresses the unmistakable signature of the 1960s. All 5 models are presented in softly rounded stainless steel cases, 39 mm in diameter, and fitted with a matching Louisiana Alligator leather strap. The beating heart of the new timepieces, as in the other models of the Sixties line, is the automatic Calibre 39-52. The manufactory made movement has a power reserve of 40 hours, is finely finished and presents the characteristic features of fine watchmaking in the Glashütte tradition.
The Sixties Iconic Collection will be available worldwide in Glashütte Original boutiques in Dresden, Paris, Geneva, Dubai, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Macao and Tokyo. These exclusive models will also be carried by selected Swatch Group’s high-end Tourbillon boutiques.
The is no luck for Canada, but in the U.S. you can find them at:
Tourbillon San Francisco (231 Post St, San Francisco, CA / +1 415-362-1525)
Tourbillon Las Vegas (The Shops at Crystals, 3720 S Las Vegas Blvd #232, Las Vegas / +1 702-597-0284)
Tourbillon New Jersey (The Mall at Short Hills, 1200 Morris Turnpike / +1 973-564-5864)
The retail price is the same as the current Sixties models: USD $7,500.
Before you go, take a look at this video that I found on YouTube of a vintage Glashütte Spezimatic