Since 2018, German watchmaker Glashütte Original has taken the opportunity each year to release a special Annual Edition variant of its elegant retro Sixties line, offering a unique twist on this dressy cornerstone of the brand’s lineup. For 2020 the Annual Edition returns, bringing a new dial not just to the Sixties but, for the first time, also the Sixties Chronograph. The color for 2020 is a pale dynamic “glacier blue” tone, adding a colder edge to the Glashütte Original Sixties Annual Edition 2020 and Sixties Chronograph Annual Edition 2020.
The stainless steel cases of the two new models are identical to their regular production counterparts, clocking in at 39 mm in diameter for the Sixties, while the Sixties Chronograph wears slightly larger at 42 mm. Both are elementally simple in overall form, and remain relatively faithful to the slimmer trends of the 1960’s that inspire them. The three hander measures in at a slender 9.4 mm thick and the chronograph at what still is a nicely wearable 12.4 mm thick. Each of the pair have massive sapphire display backs to offer a generous view of the decorated manufactory movements within.
Of course, the dials of these new models are the real draw here. Produced in-house by Glashütte Original’s very own dial manufactory, the desaturated, cold “glacier blue” is not achieved through a galvanic treatment like on most other Glashütte Original watches, but is executed in lacquer over the brand’s signature sunburst brushed base. While the color itself is an elegant and dramatic complement to the mid-century simplicity of the overall design, the dial really sets itself apart in the details.
There’s a relatively rapid dègradè effect from the icy blue of the center to a nearly black midnight blue at the edge, coinciding gracefully with the downward curve of the dial surface itself as it meets the case. This curve, in turn, mimics the dramatic dome of the sapphire crystal (see one image above) for added visual harmony. Other than this, the classic elements of the Sixties and Sixties Chronograph are on full display in these new models, with the minimal Germanic stick hands and indices given personality with the swooping retro forms of the stylized Arabic numerals.
Both the Glasshütte Original Sixties Annual Edition 2020 and the Sixties Chronograph Annual Edition 2020 use versions of the same automatic movement. For the three hander, the in-house Calibre 39-52 offers Glashütte stripes across the main plate, balance cock, and a custom rotor with gold double-G accents and a solid 21kt gold oscillation weight. In terms of technical specs, the 4.3mm thick Calibre 39-52 provides a high-tech Anachron balance spring that operates at a modern 4Hz rate over a power reserve of 40 hours. The Sixties Chronograph Annual Edition 2020 is powered by the Calibre 39-34, which adds a chronograph module to the dial side of the Calibre 39 base. With that in mind, the finishing and technical specs are nearly identical, although the addition of a small running seconds and 30 minute chronograph register does nothing to detract from the 40 hour power reserve.
Each of the Annual Edition 2020 models is presented on a unique-looking, grayish-brown nubuck strap. Its desaturated, muted tone plays well with the pale colors of the dial, adding a hint of warmth to complement the dominant cooler tones. A pin buckle is used on both, which isn’t as fancy as Glashütte Original’s folding buckles, but in our experience, it is quite a bit more comfortable.
While not a strictly limited edition in numbers, both the Glashütte Original Sixties Annual Edition 2020 and the Sixties Chronograph Annual Edition 2020 will only be produced for a single year before being discontinued. Coupled with the current state of manufacturing, this could make these models very rare indeed in the future. Both are currently available for purchase through authorized dealers, at an MSRP of $7,155 for the three hander and $8,780 for the chronograph. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.