BY JOVAN KRSTEVSKI
Glashütte Original timepieces have a long history of being prized for their fine mechanics, ornate finishing, and classic elegance. Since the 19th century, precision Glashütte Original timepieces have been trusted as accurate navigational aids for locating oneself on land, at sea, and in the air. The utilization of high-precision timepieces as instrument watches, which found extensive usage in extremely specialized domains, is attested to by a number of historic maritime chronometers, observation watches, pilot, and diver’s watches built in Glashütte. Speaking of dive watches, a good dive watch must be able to withstand drastic temperature changes, withstand saltwater corrosion, ensure maximum legibility at night, and have a unidirectional rotating bezel with a scale that allows the diver to quickly assess how much time is left on the dive. The SeaQ line of dive watches are designed by the German watchmaking engineers at Glashütte Original to meet all those criteria and then some. It was launched a few years ago as part of the new Spezialist collection, the SeaQ meets and exceeds the strict requirements of the ISO 6425 and DIN 8306 standards. Not long ago, Glashütte Original introduced the SeaQ Chronograph, a diver-chronograph watch with Panorama Date. We’re really glad to have a Chronograph added to the SeaQ and ever since its debut, I always wanted to get my hands on it. Turned out that I was fortunate enough to recently get the opportunity to do just that, and since I’m not only an enthusiast of horology but also a horological journalist, it’s only fitting that I write down my impressions and share my experience with the rest of the watch enthusiast community.
The case is made from stainless steel, measuring 43.2mm. The nice thing about the watch is that it has a weighty feeling to it as it sits on the wrist. It makes sense as it’s a dive watch after all and the sense of weight gives the wrist a presence. The case is characterized by alternating satin-brushed and polished surfaces, the brushed top and sides are separated by a polished chamfer. A unidirectional, counter-clockwise rotating bezel encircles the dial part which is built on the blue ceramic inlay and provides a scratch-resistant surface for the bezel. The 120-click bezel, as one could imagine, has zero play. It’s quite firm, loud, and easy to turn. The noticeable click may not be important above the water but underwater it’s crucial to have tactile feedback as one doesn’t hear well underwater, if at all. The clicks are very satisfactory to experience above the water as well, I was almost tempted to keep rotating the bezel just for the clicks. The case is water resistant to 300 meters and the overall built quality of the case is extremely satisfactory in this price range.
Considering that you’ll be staring at this part of the watch the most, it was designed to appease our visual sensibilities in mind. The PVD dial is blue in color and it has a sunburst effect. I absolutely love the color and sunburst effect of the dial, it catches the light, breaks it down to reflect, refract and distort it and the resulting effect is eye-catching. To be honest, the blue sunburst dial on the SeaQ Chronograph is a stunner and pictures don’t do justice to its appearance in real life.
This tone of the blue itself is perfect; it’s not too royal and not too dark, and although the sunburst dial is blue, it appears to change tones like when I took the watch in direct sunlight, the dial took on a dark gray sunburst look, the effect is gorgeous. The dial markings are rhodium-plated appliques that are treated with Super-LumiNova®. There’s a domed sapphire crystal protecting the dial, it has an anti-reflective coating on both sides. The domed variety of dial crystal is my personal favorite as it slightly magnifies the entire watch dial, making the dial even more legible and crystal clear. Underneath the crystal is the various displays on the dial, including the Panorama Date display at 6 o’clock.
I’m usually not a big fan of a date on a watch because it often disrupts symmetry, but on the SeaQ I really like it as Panorama Date is perfect for the SeaQ Chronograph. The panorama date is in my opinion the best I’ve ever seen on any watch and I even prefer it over the framed panorama date slash big date of A. Lange & Söhne watches. I really like how well the panorama date is built on the GO. The discs are on the same level and the gap between the two numbers is almost not visible. If you pardon my bluntness, the typography of the large, applied numerals at 12 and 6 is sexy as hell. One of the most amazing parts of the watch is how it reacts so differently to different lights; you can sort of tell under certain light conditions that the very polished hands seem even more polished compared to the simpler brushed case. The raised numerals and indices also catch the light and seem slightly bubbly. For this review, and I personally wanted to know as well, I decided to take it to the water and it surprised me as I continue to love the crystal clear deep blue dial with excellent legibility, especially underwater. The combo of sunray finished dial, domed Sapphire glass and the Panorama Date makes it one of my top 10 dials so far.
The second thing I noticed right away, after the dial, is that the Glashütte Original SeaQ Chronograph wears smaller than the proportions suggest – at least on the strap. Although I still haven’t been able to try one on the bracelet for myself, I always try to talk myself into a bracelet but in the end, I realized that I just prefer a high-quality strap anyways. The one I have on review here at home, it’s on a blue fabric strap and it’s super comfortable to wear. This 43.2mm watch’s lugs are curved downward, even more so than the Black Bay 58 that I have, which makes it incredibly comfortable to wear and it wears like a much smaller watch because of it.
The new SeaQ Chronograph is powered by the automatic Caliber 37-23 movement, which is based on Caliber 37. It’s a workhorse of a movement with an integrated column-wheel flyback chronograph. With the stroke of a single button, users of this chronograph can reset and restart the chronograph simultaneously, making it far more complicated than a regular chronograph. The movement operates at 4Hz frequency and offers a 70h power reserve. I gave the watch a go on the timegrapher and it performed very well for not being a certified chronometer.
In those few days since I have had it, my SeaQ Chronograph did not lose or gain one single second. I don’t want to sound like a Glashütte Original representative, but that is what happens when you develop, manufacture and test (for 24 whole days, every single unit) the watch you sell. Also, since all Glashütte Original movements are finished to an outstanding degree with blues screws, bright violet-pink jewels, Geneva waves, gold plating, and some scrolling/engraving at times too, this is no exception either.
Strap and Bracelet Options
Glashütte Original SeaQ Chronograph comes with very high-quality fabric straps in a number of options namely dark blue rubber, gray fabric and blue fabric, and each of them has a choice of a folding clasp, or a pin buckle as well. Then there’s also a stainless steel bracelet to go with it, that has a fine-adjustment mechanism. As I mentioned earlier, I have the one on a blue fabric strap but the bracelet has on the fly micro-adjustment system on such a small clasp, which is really handy on hot and cold days.
I found the Glashütte Original SeaQ Chronograph to be the ultimate under-the-radar luxury watch which is robust, well made and comfortable to wear. It is an absolutely striking watch in person and the blue sunburst dial is just an absolute thing of beauty. The finishing is incredible and it looks great on the stock blue strap. I’ve found a ton to like with the Glashütte Original SeaQ Chrono, from the incredible finish to the adaptability of the case size when it actually wears smaller than it is. In my experience with the SeaQ Chronograph, it’s a true watch enthusiast piece. Even though it is a luxury watch, well-built, technically proficient, good looking, from the front and back. One thing I didn’t like is the price setting of the watch, it’s at the top of the dive watch price range and is pretty damn expensive, but I honestly think the quality is even higher than the price suggests and makes up for the high price. I’d say if you want something that’s really unique from a high-precision German brand, the SeaQ Chrono is the way to go. Highly recommend checking it out as it didn’t disappoint me that’s for sure.
If you’re interested in getting one, the prices are set at EUR 14,100 on straps with pin buckle an extra EUR 300 if you want a folding clasp; and EUR 15,300 on a stainless steel bracelet.