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Thread: GLashutte Original Panograph Review

  1. #1
    Adjusted in 6 positions tempocalypse's Avatar
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    GLashutte Original Panograph Review

    Having taken note of how quiet the HE sub forum is (inevitable for a new forum I guess) I decided to actively do something about it and contribute a review of my Glashutte Original Panograph. I had previously reviewed it elsewhere soon after I got it but I think revisiting it after 9 months is a good idea.


    First, a little bit of background on where the Panograph comes from:


    Though it may sound strange today, between the end of the 1970s and the turn of the century, absolutely nobody had developed a completely new, from scratch mechanical chronograph movement. I donít really know why but logically it would seem the quartz crisis was responsible for lack of investment in mechanical chronographs, one of the most difficult movements to develop despite their ubiquity.


    In 1999 that all changed as GOís neighbour down the road introduced the legendary Datograph. Just one year later GO became one of the first to follow them by introducing a fascinating watch called the Panoretrograph; so called because of a retrograde countdown timer functionality and an associated chiming mechanism. I donít quite know how it worked as literature on the watch is sparse on the internet and most descriptions of the countdown timer functionality arenít very clear.


    The point here is that the development of a completely new chronograph, and a beautifully finished high end one at that, from the ground up, was a tremendous achievement for Glashutte, especially given that they were at the time a very small outfit (They were bought out that same year by Swatch). Even today as many new Chronograph calibers have been introduced, many high end makers solider on with Lemania, F. Piguet and JLC designs and even Vacheron and Breguet only just announced their first in house chrono at Basel a few days ago.





    The Panoretrograph was produced in limited quantities and was soon discontinued. However the beautiful movement was adapted, sans countdown timer and chiming mechanism into a new watch called the Panograph with the caliber 61 movement.


    I have to say that I am not a fan of the older 39mm design. I find the bezel too thick, I donít like the dotted minuted counter and I especially donít like the use of thick chapter rings on the intersecting time and sub seconds dial. The older Panograph however was quite noteworthy for offering one of the greatest value propositions in high end watches by offering the incredible looking movement in a stainless steel case around the USD15K ballpark (assuming you liked the looks).






    So the Panograph was an interesting watch that I most likely would have ignored except that In 2012 the entire ďPanoĒ series of watches, which includes online forum darlings such as the PanoReserve and Panomatic Lunar were redesigned.


    The Panograph case size was increased from 39mm to a still decent 40mm size. The bezel was made much thinner and the dial as whole, took on a far more elegant design. The stainless steel option however was dropped.




    Letís dive in deeper. One of the most distinctive aspects of the Panograph is that at first glance, it does not look like a chronograph at all! The general layout, along with the 2012 redesign makes for one of the most elegant and dressy looking chronographs out there. It sticks with the offset dial arrangement of other Pano collection watches which I feel is well balanced despite the asymmetric design.




    The main dial features the main hours and minutes along with the chrono seconds. Running seconds is featured in an intersecting small sub-dial dial below. By ditching the chapter rings from the older design, the watch remains legible despite the intersection and looks far more elegant. The dials are decorated with a circular snail pattern.

    Last edited by tempocalypse; Apr 9, 2015 at 06:43 PM.
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  2. #2
    Adjusted in 6 positions tempocalypse's Avatar
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    On the top right of the dial is the signature triple layer minute counter. At first glance it seems complicated in operation and readability but it is actually rather simple.


    Three hands of three different lengths are equally spaced apart and connected to a central spoke. Mechanically it is the same as a normal circular minute counter. The first hand is the longest and covers the first layer from 0-10 minutes. The middle length hand covers 10-20 and the shortest covers 20-30. So its not some crazy retrograde counter, the design simply hides 2 of the hands at any given time. (except at 0/30m, 10m or 20m at which point two hands will be visible on the dial. However there is no confusion as both hands will read the same time.)



    Though not intuitive at first glance, once you understand the way it works, the large size of the minutes counter means it is quite legible and easy to read quickly. For example the pic below is indicating 27 minutes and 15 seconds. Above, in the first pic of mine in this thread (right below the older steel panograph) is reading 4 minutes and 34 seconds.








    The chronograph pushers are also worth mentioning. GO has unusually reversed the order here; the Start/Stop is at 4 o’clock and reset/flyback is at 2 o’clock. The start stop button is also incredibly refined in the way it feels. The pusher moves in with very light resistance and the chronograph starts or stops with a satisfying light but distinct “snick”. Its by far the best feeling chronograph pusher I have encountered and others who have tried more high end chronographs than I have have also remarked on how good it feels in some online comments I’ve seen. The flyback/reset button has slightly more resistance and makes a more typical sound, it’s still very very refined but not quite as satisfying as the start/stop pusher.




    The Pano name of course comes from GO’s Panorama Date, probably one of the best implementation of the big date I have seen anywhere with a beautiful design and both digits on the same plane next to each other. The date window is also nicely beveled. The date can be easily quick set from the crown and changes instantaneously at midnight which is a very nice refinement.




    The case is beautifully detailed with brushed sides (polished between the lugs) and polished bezel. The lugs are short and curved adding to comfort and wearability. The dressiness of the design is negated to some extent by the thickness of the watch which comes in at 13.7mm. It does fit under most of my shirt cuffs without a problem but not everyone will be a fan of the slightly “chunky” overall look. I however do like the way the relatively muscular look adds presence to an otherwise understated watch.





    The strap too is a thing of beauty. The dark brown lousiana alligator strap is of superb quality and supple despite being very thick. The surface is matt, I don’t know if the term nubuck is applicable to alligator hide but it os of that texture. The deployant too is very solid although it is held in place by a screw. Not really a problem as I don’t need to adjust once sized properly. The watch is fairly comfortable on the wrist but it is not the most comfortable watch I own (That would be the 5513 Submariner on leather Nato or Oyster bracelet). I found the deployant a bit uncomfortable initially but after the strap broke in and became more flexible, its much better.

    Last edited by tempocalypse; Apr 14, 2015 at 08:53 PM.
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  3. #3
    Adjusted in 6 positions tempocalypse's Avatar
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    And now the piŤce de rťsistance, the Glashutte Original caliber 61. As mentioned before, caliber 61 is derived directly from caliber 60. Caliber 61 is a manually wound column wheel chronograph with flyback mechanism, lateral clutch, big date, 42 hours power reserve and beating at 28,800 bph. The specifications offer no real technical innovations on the chronograph front compared to some more recent releases. However, the appeal lies very much in the refined execution.


    (GO themselves have a very technically innovative new automatic chronograph in the caliber 37 which is seen in the new Senator and Seventies chronographs. However caliber 37 is not as well finished as caliber 61 and being an automatic, hides a lot of the chronograph mechanisms.)


    Whilst the dial side is restrained and understated, the Panograph goes all out on the movement side. The movement is beautifully decorated in the Saxon style with perlage, Glashutte stripes, gold chatons, and blued screws. Most edges are beveled and polished. The layout of the chronograph mechanisms create a miniature 3D city you can spend ages staring at.



    The column wheel and assorted levers









    Unlike some new chronographs, caliber 61 features a lateral clutch to engage the chronograph mechanism with the going train. A lateral clutch often results in slight jerkiness in the second hand as the chrono is engaged and this effect can be observed in the Panograph at times. The upside however is the visual appeal; you can easily see part of the going train (top two wheels) pivot to engage with the chronograph clutch (bottom left)






    Speaking of visual appeal, the balance cock is beautifully engraved by hand and the balance is regulated by a swan neck adjustment system. However, there isnít enough space in the chrono movement for GOís signature double swan neck system. you canít have everything I guess!




    Some sharp exterior angles show the quality of the beveled edges seen throughout the movement.



    Thanks for viewing and hope you enjoyed reading!

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  4. #4
    Excellent review, and amazing watch. Thanks for the very informative review and the magnificent movement pictures!

  5. #5
    Moderator - Central tribe125's Avatar
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    Excellent - I enjoyed that.

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    El bot. geoffbot's Avatar
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    That was sublime. Insane photographs there. That movement is pure watchporn. Have some rep.
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    Moderator gnuyork's Avatar
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    As if I weren't already jealous enough of your sub and broad arrow, not this...where's the drool emoticon?

  8. #8
    lost in translation birdynamnam's Avatar
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    I must say that I'm not a big fan of GO production
    But, this watch is a real piece of art , the movement is a wonder
    The presentation is excellent , congrats
    "chirp, chirp"

  9. #9
    Adjusted in 6 positions tempocalypse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pantagruel View Post
    Excellent review, and amazing watch. Thanks for the very informative review and the magnificent movement pictures!
    Thanks! The movement pictures did challenge my macro photo abilities quite a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by tribe125 View Post
    Excellent - I enjoyed that.

    Quote Originally Posted by geoffbot View Post
    That was sublime. Insane photographs there. That movement is pure watchporn. Have some rep.

    Quote Originally Posted by gnuyork View Post
    As if I weren't already jealous enough of your sub and broad arrow, not this...where's the drool emoticon?
    Thanks guys!
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  10. #10
    Adjusted in 6 positions tempocalypse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by birdynamnam View Post
    I must say that I'm not a big fan of GO production
    But, this watch is a real piece of art , the movement is a wonder
    The presentation is excellent , congrats
    Thanks!

    What do you not like about GO in general? Their designs?
    Watch centric instagram: @tempocalypse

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