Colourful dials are now an annual tradition for Glashütte Original and its Sixties and Sixties Panorama Date. Following on from last year’s green are these versions in fabulous orange shades. Harking back to a hugely creative decade, they spotlight the brand’s dial-makers and their expertise.
Idiosyncratic and yet stylish this holds true not just for the details but for the dial as a whole. Starting from a golden yellow at the centre, the colour flows across the curved surface, changing to fiery orange and red before reaching the black perimeter. The result is luminous vivacity, warmth and energy. Credit for this impressive ensemble of different hues – also known as the dégradé effect – goes to the experts at Glashütte Original’s own dial manufactory in Pforzheim.
An exceptional know-how
Exceptional quality starts with the precise punching of the German silver blank, the first step in the production of a Sixties dial for the 2018 annual edition. The following step creates the elaborate embossed surface, with historic watches serving as a model. A 60-tonne press stamps the striking pattern onto the blank – the same process was in use more than 50 years ago in Pforzheim, when dials were already being produced there for the Glashütte manufactory. The embossing punch used today, with its filigreed decoration, dates from this period.
Once the press has completed its imposing task, the blank is cut to its definitive diameter, and a hole is inserted at the centre for the hands. A second pass under a press lends the disc, which is only 0.5 mm thick, its characteristic domed perimeter. Here, too, there are connections to history: whereas in the 1960s the domed shape served to mask the height of the movement – much thicker at the time than today’s movements – so as to follow the trend for flatter watches, today the curved edges are a characteristic element of the Sixties line’s vintage design. In the meantime, contemporary automatic movements like the three-hand model’s Calibre 39-52 now fit easily into a case barely 10 millimetres high. The Calibre 39-47, which drives the Sixties Panorama Date, measures 12.4 millimetres in height.
And with that, the size, shape and structure are fixed. The subsequent steps in the process transform the semi-processed blank into the face of the timepiece. Several coats of vibrant green lacquer are applied to the previously galvanised dial before it receives its “dégradé” finish. This effect is achieved by spraying on black paint, with great care and in such a way that the dial perimeter takes on a much darker hue than at its centre, resulting in an individual colour gradient that renders each dial unique. The lacquered dials are then heated in a kiln to burn in the colours.
A diamond soon cuts through these layers to form eight of the twelve hour indexes. This renders the raw material visible once again, so that the hours in the Sixties Annual Edition are counted in German silver – and in white. As was the case for the historic reference models, the numerals 3, 6, 9 and 12 are printed in white in the remaining gaps, using a pad printing process. The same holds true for the Glashütte Original logo and the logo-scripts “Glashütte i/Sa” (Glashütte in Saxony) and “Made in Germany”. The final step in this elaborate process consists in the application of Super-LumiNova. Small dots are applied by hand to the hour indexes, which develop their luminous force in the dark. Together with the radiant bars on the hour and minute hands, they ensure that the Sixties models are perfectly legible by night as well.