Once upon a time, before the Swiss seemed to have the monopoly on great watches, a little Saxon town distinguished itself as a center of precision horology. From 1845, Glashütte, Germany, made timepieces of great beauty and innovation under such illustrious brands as Lange and Assmann. Then came the Second World War, destroying factories, and the ensuing Socialist regime in East Germany that merged production of the Glashütte watch companies, while stunting quality. But next German reunification allowed the privatization of the company that would become Glashütte Original in 1994, and one of the local classic brands, A. Lange & Söhne, was revived. Once again the tradition of quality watchmaking lived in Saxony, offering its prowess to the world.
By 2001, Glashütte Original had presented its award-winning manual-winding PanoRetroGraph (right), the first mechanical watch with a countdown function and triple-repetition chime. Now, Glashütte Original launches the PanoMaticChrono (left), sporting a face similar to the classic multi-dial of the RetroGraph, but offering a new auto-wind movement called the Caliber 95. The mechanism in the new watch adjusts itself to the wearer through a patented step-gear system that allows small bursts of energy from the wearer's slightest movement to wind the watch. The watchmaker says the movement regulates energy to the timepiece with much less wear and tear as well as with better accuracy.
The watch includes a panorama date, classic column-wheel chronograph and fly-back function. It has a 42-hour power reserve. The case comes in 18-carat rose gold or platinum. The former costs $37,250, the later $44,500. Only 200 platinum pieces were made and about 35 will be available in the United States. The PanoRetroGraph comes in pink gold for $49,000 and platinum for $58,100 (also limited). Both watches come standard with a Louisiana alligator strap.
Glashütte is a true watch manufacturer in that it makes nearly all of the parts of the watch, from the most complex movement to the tiniest screw. Other marks of exquisite Glashütte craftsmanship include screwed gold chatons, blued screws and swan-neck fine adjustment and screw balance with weighted gold screws. On the PanoRetroGraph all steel parts are finished by hand with elaborate tin glazing or exquisite finishes to create a masterpiece of fine German watchmaking.