In 2019, Glashütte Original unveiled a new addition to their collection of watches entitled ‘Spezialist’, which of course translates to ‘Specialist’ in English. The new watches are designed to be sporty and elegant at the same time, offering very high levels of build quality that reflect Glashütte Original’s position in the Swatch Group as an attractive alternative to Swiss brands. The Spezialist watches also offer a unique proposition to potential buyers who want something higher-end than a Seamaster or Submariner as the diver’s segment becomes a little less populated at the sort of prices these watches are set at. In fact, only the Fifty Fathoms and Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe offer competition to the Spezialist watches in this price point.
The SeaQ watch provides excellent comfort and class-leading build quality. I’ve heard of people comparing the new SeaQ to Glashütte Original’s previous sports collection, the Sport Evolution, and how the looks don’t seem as ‘unique’ as the Sport Evolution had. Let’s get one thing clear right off the bat: this collection is grounded in Glashütte Original history. The inspiration for the new SeaQ collection can be found in the Spezimatic Type RP TS 200 watch. When you put the new Spezialist next to the vintage Spezimatic, you can instantly see where the design came from, and you can see that the only real changes are the writing on the dial and the material of the bezel. If you wanted to go for the full vintage look, Glashütte Original also unveiled the SeaQ 1969 which takes the vintage re-issue appearance further with a new strap (also available on the now sold-out SeaQ 1969).
But, back to the SeaQ, I had a chance to try out the reference 1-39-11-06-80-70 which came in a 39.5mm x 12.15mm case with a stainless steel bracelet. The quality of the watch is faultless; seriously, the bracelet feels solid and well-built. I tend to judge bracelets by their mass and their finishing of edges, and I believe that you should be able to feel where your money is going with a high-end wristwatch. The bracelet and security clasp feel luxurious indeed. I like the simple and classic style of the bracelet with polished centre links which will eventually get scratched over time. There aren’t any sharp lugs or edges to dig into your wrist, making it a very comfortable wearing experience.
The twin-pusher folding clasp also has a unique trick up its sleeve, if you push the double ‘G’ logo in the centre of the clasp, it unlocks the diving extension and allows for more breathing room on the fly. Not many brands have a system like this, but Glashütte has been doing it since 2005. Usually, you have to take the watch off and fiddle about with unfolding or re-folding a little extension piece, or you have to try and dig your fingers into the clasp to push a little piece down. This way, you just push on the top and let it slide.
The dial of the SeaQ follows on from the original Spezimatic with numerals representing even numbers and baton markers in place of odd numbers, making a balanced dial that isn’t cluttered despite the size of the markers and hands. These are covered in SuperLumiNova which, to my surprise, glowed blue despite having a vintage-style orange hue in daylight. Reading the dial was a breeze, and I like the domed sapphire crystal which evokes the old watches by distorting the dial when you view it from an angle. There’s also a distinct sunray finish to the dial, despite being black it reflects light beautifully and is pleasing to the eye.
Inside the watch is the calibre 39-11, an in-house made movement developed by Glashütte Original. It features a 4Hz beat rate and a power reserve of 40 hours plus 25 jewels. You can’t see it because an elegantly engraved steel caseback hides it. Still, the movement features the high-end finishing you’d expect from any Glashütte Original watch with polished screws, bevelled edges and Glashütte stripes covering the movement. There’s even a gleaming swan’s neck regulator to allow a watchmaker to make fine adjustments to the balance.
Being on their excellent bracelet, a bracelet that is held together by screws rather than pins, this model is the most expensive of the options. Including VAT, it costs €9700.
SeaQ Panorama Date
Now for the more contemporary model, the SeaQ Panorama Date. The reference for this watch is 1-36-13-02-81-34 and it comes in at 43.2mm in diameter by 15.65mm in height. For me, this model fitted my wrist better than the SeaQ above. I have quite large wrists which can sometimes make smaller watches seem very small, that’s not a complaint, most people prefer watches to be around 40mm in diameter. For me, the SeaQ Panorama Date appears to be the Goldilocks of the models. It also came on a nylon mesh strap developed specifically for this watch which was grey and contrasted the blue of the watch excellently.
The polished clasp assembly reveals internal workings connected to the pushers which secure the clasp in place. We should include press pics of the bracelet and rubber strap variants too.
Like the SeaQ, there are different options available for the SeaQ Panorama Date. You have a choice of black or blue, I had the blue, with either a steel bracelet, rubber strap or a fabric strap. Both straps come with a choice of a pin buckle or a folding clasp. I wholly recommend the folding clasp, if only for the exposed mechanism which you can see clearly. I found the strap to be very comfortable, though we aren’t having tropical weather here in the UK at the moment, I imagine that those of us blessed enough to live in warm climates might prefer this strap or the bracelet, it was breathable and light though the heavy steel clasp meant it wasn’t unbalanced the way it might be with a pin-buckle, though I’d need to get another hands-on to find that out.
The SeaQ Panorama Date and the SeaQ share the same design of markers and hands, with alternating numerals and batons making up the markers and the distinctive hands both receiving SuperLumiNova coatings as well. There’s also a lume pip on the bezel of both watches, these things glow bright blue and will continue to do so for hours, as is required of them as diving watches. As a side note, both of these watches meet the ISO 6425 standard for diving watches, but they also meet DIN 8306, which is Germany’s version of the ISO standard that is reportedly harder to achieve. Each watch undergoes intensive in-house testing to ascertain ist water resistance and airtightness under overpressure and underpressure conditions. During a prior homologation procedure, test watches were examined for shock resistance, resistance to salt-water corrosion and the resilience of individual functional elements. In my photo, the engraving with the double G logo and wavy lines denotes that the watch has passed this test, which is more demanding than the standard German chronometer test.
Inside the case is the calibre 36-13 which features Glashütte Original’s new 24-day in-house testing phase that we’d expect from a hallmark of Saxon watchmaking. The movements are tested in different positions over 24 hours, and the deviation must not exceed -4/+6 seconds as required from the German Calibration Service’s (DKD Deutsche Kalibrierdienst) chronometer standard. The watches will then spend twelve days being tested in six different positions to ensure accuracy; most manufacturers test in five positions only. As if this wasn’t enough, the watches will then be tested at three different temperatures (8 degrees C, 23 degrees C and 38 degrees C over 72 hours. During all of this testing, the watches must be able to deliver at least a 100-hour power reserve. Lastly, the watches are pressure tested at 5 bar and then visually inspected. This isn’t even the end of testing, as the watches will also receive condensation testing, seal testing, a full water-based pressure test and yet another condensation test as a part of the new in-house standard. Only then can a SeaQ Panorama Date be delivered.
The movement has visual appeal, it’s not often we see something as neatly decorated like this in the back of a diving watch, so it should be appreciated. The 21k gold skeletonised automatic rotor takes up most of the view, though you can capture a glimpse of the three-quarter plate underneath it which has Glashütte striping applied to it. The combination of striping, polishing and bevelling makes this an attractive watch to look at on the front and the back, and it follows the same high-end level of finishing I’ve seen from other Glashütte Original watches I’ve reviewed in the past. It’s also appealing to those who love mechanics as well, as there are highly decorated gears on display on the traditional three-quarter plate movement. For those wishing to know the specifications, it has a 100-hour power reserve, a 4Hz beat rate, a silicone spring and a polished swan’s neck regulator too, as is the tradition with Glashütte Original. This is a step up above the competition, and thanks to that test which sounds -quite frankly- evil, you get the build quality to go with the frills. To see it on a professional diving watch is a pleasure as well, usually movements get hidden away, but the SeaQ Panorama Date lets you Sea(Q) it all… That was a terrible pun, I apologise.
I loved the way this watch felt on the wrist, the Panorama Date window on the dial was straightforward to read, all the surfaces of the watch had a very high quality feel to them, and the watch felt sturdy overall. At this price, which is €11,000 plus VAT, I can’t find fault with it. It’s well worth shortlisting for your next watch.
Which one of these you go for depends on you personally. I found the larger SeaQ Panorama Date model fitted my wrist better, though the SeaQ is the more vintage-styled variant, and with a standard date as opposed to the Panorama Date, it should be a little cheaper to service as well. Both watches are rugged and reliable, and they feel like they are of a very high quality, too.
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