Hot Take: Glashütte Original SeaQ and SeaQ 1969
Glashütte Original surprised many people by introducing the Glashütte Original Spezialist collection as a new and fifth collection to their line-up. The Spezialist collection is Glashütte’s collection for instrument watches and the first watch in the collection to be introduced is the Glashütte Original SeaQ that is available in three different versions.
It’s Glashütte Original’s take on a classic diver’s watch to make sure it’s not just about classic elegance for the Saxon brand. Let’s see how Glashütte Original has combined their high level of craftsmanship with their heritage and salutes sixties East German design.
The SeaQ Collection
Although the introduction of the SeaQ has come as a surprise, it seems like a logical move as many of today’s popular watches are vintage inspired diver’s watches and that was something that was lacking up until now in the current Glashütte Original collection. As stated, the new SeaQ comes in three different variants. The regular SeaQ, the SeaQ Panorama Date and the limited edition SeaQ 1969 that pays homage to the Glashütte Original watch from the past that was the inspiration for the collection. In this article, we will focus on the SeaQ and the SeaQ 1969 and talk you through the details of the watches to see what the differences are, how they relate to the past and what our take on them is.
SeaQ 1969 vs the SeaQ
To start the story of the SeaQ collection we have to go back to 1969. At that time, Glashütte Original was under control of the government of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) or more commonly known as East Germany. The Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe, as Glashütte Original was named at that point in time, was not a company focused on the production of luxury high-end technical watches as it is today. At that time the company produced accessible and affordable watches that with one of the models being the Glashütte Spezimatic Type RP TS 200, the watch that the new SeaQ collection is based on. It was a functional diver’s watch that is now part of the diverse history of Glashütte.
Fifty years later, Glashütte Original releases the limited edition SeaQ 1969 (ref. 1-39-11-01-80) as a tribute version to that watch as the first watch in the SeaQ collection. The second is the Original SeaQ (ref. 1-39-11-06-80) as the regular and unlimited version of the SeaQ collection. Both watches take after the Spezimatic Type RP TS 200 with their galvanic black dial with sunray finish, large ‘old-radium’ coloured Super-LumiNova oversized Arabic numerals and hour indexes, date indication at 3 o’clock and the oversized hands. Another defining feature is the typically 1960s design of the 39.5 mm stainless steel case with integrated lugs and sharp angles. Both watches are water-resistant to 200m, feature a screw-down crown and a plain steel case back, engraved with a trident with the Glashütte Double-G and 20 waves to symbolize the 20-bar water resistance.
The biggest difference between the two models in appearance is the fact that the SeaQ 1969 has different (green) luminous hands where the regular version has the ‘old radium’ coloured Super-LumiNova hands in line with the numerals and indexes on the dial. It’s a difference that will probably have people talking. Personally, I think the mixed colours can give you the impression of a mismatch. Obviously, they are a nod to the past because the Spezimatic Type RP TS 200 also uses the two colours but somehow the Original SeaQ looks more balanced with using only one colour ‘old-radium’ coloured Super-LumiNova. Other more subtle differences can be found in the different inscriptions on both watches at 6 ‘o clock. The regular version features ‘Glashütte’ on the dial where the limited-edition features ’25 rubis shockproof’ on the dial. It’s these features that set both watches apart but for the rest, they look very similar.
Both watches are powered by the in-house developed automatic winding Calibre 39-11 movement that features hours, minutes and seconds (with second-stop), date and has a 40-hours power reserve. The limited edition SeaQ 1969 will be available with a rubber or synthetic strap, both available on pin buckle or fold fastener. Both the version with rubber and synthetic strap with pin buckle are available for €8.500 and both versions with rubber and synthetic strap with fold fastener are €8.800. But in order to get your hands on one, you have to move quickly as there will only be 69 pieces produced of the SeaQ 1969. With the Original SeaQ you can choose to go for a rubber strap, a synthetic strap, also available with pin buckle or fold fastener. Or you can choose to go for a 3-link steel bracelet with fine adjustment. Prices for the versions with pin buckle are also €8.500 and with fold fastener are €8.800. The version with the steel bracelet is priced at €9.700.
First Thoughts On The SeaQ Collection
At first glance, the overall design of the SeaQ might be something to get used to. Not because the design is pushing boundaries, it’s honestly more a matter of placing the design in the world of today’s diver’s watches to find out if it is unique in that sense. And more specifically it is a watch to get used to in the world of Glashütte Original as the brand is known for creating more classical and elegant looking watches. The brand has however found a link to their heritage when coming up with a design for their new diver’s watch so there is no arguing whether the design actually fits the Glashütte Original brand because the proof is there. Now as far as the uniqueness of the design of the watch…it’s not something we haven’t seen before. The design is based on creating a really clear and functional diver’s watch and therefore has all the well-known features that make this a really well-balanced watch design and together with its 39.5 mm size, it makes it a watch that is easy to get used to and will certainly attract an audience. It will be interesting to see whether people prefer the SeaQ 1969 above the Original SeaQ as this is the homage to the original despite the different lume colours used on the dial and hands. What I can say is that the more I look at the SeaQ collection the more I start appreciating the design and the fact that it is Glashütte Original’s trademark to create high-end luxury watches with eye for detail and beautiful finishing. This might just be a smart next step for the brand and the first in a series of successful sports watches within the Glashütte Original Spezialist collection.
The specifications for the SeaQ 1969 and SeaQ can be found below. More information on Glashütte Original via their official website.