Glashutte Original Grande Cosmopolite Watch Hands-On

Glashutte Original Grande Cosmopolite Watch Hands-On

Glashutte Original Grande Cosmopolite Watch Hands On   hands on

What exactly is a Cosmopolite? A "Grande" one at that? You may find out... In 2012 at Baselworld, I was excited about my forthcoming meeting with Glashutte Original. The (probably) under-appreciated Swatch Group-owned brand makes some fantastic watches. While they have their place in the Swatch Group and can't do everything they like, they still abide by Germanic principles to produce useful, high-end watches focused more on function and tradition versus mere luxury lifestyle. So I waited eagerly for my meeting, I even showed up with my own Glashutte Original watch that I actually own! They sadly didn't seem to notice or care. Like many other brands, 2012 was not exactly prolific when it came to the release of new models. Glashutte Original had a series of line extensions, some new sizes, but nothing really new. Guess I will have to wait until this upcoming Baselworld to see fresh stuff, but there was one interesting piece I did come across...

It was not however until months later that I had a chance to experience the Glashutte Original Grande Cosmopolite timepiece hands-on. As a limited edition of just 25 pieces, there won't be many of these. One has to wonder why a brand even goes to that effort. It is a branding experience for sure, but think of it through the rationalization of any normal mass-volume product maker. Three to four years of development and prototyping to make just 25 watches? Maybe a few more after that. You'd need to charge an arm and a leg just to break even. Which is actually what tends to happen given that pieces like the highly complex Grande Cosmopolite are brand makers versus money makers.

Glashutte Original Grande Cosmopolite Watch Hands On   hands on

While the price of this watch is undoubtedly high, it could be higher given what Glashutte Original or any other brand would want to profit from the development of such a timepiece. This is after all the most complicated watch ever produced by the German brand as far as we know of. In a nutshell, the Grande Cosmopolite is a tourbillon-based world timer with a perpetual calendar that is able to track 37 versus "just" 24 time zones. Of course it also has Glashutte Original's Panorama Date (which is their name for a big date window).

The rear of the watch is hunter style, meaning it opens up via a hinge like the backs of many pocket watches. The inside of the case opening has some details on the world time function, and you get to see the rear of the movement where a convenient power reserve indicator is located for the manually wound in-house made Glashutte Original movement. It is all very nice and charming. According to Glashutte Original it will take about two years to produce the entire 25 piece run. There might be more after that, but the "original" Grande Cosmopolite case will only come in platinum. However, this being a prototype version they travel around with, the piece you see has a steel case. Try not to be too disappointed.

Glashutte Original Grande Cosmopolite Watch Hands On   hands on

Glashutte Original Grande Cosmopolite Watch Hands On   hands on

Given the wealth of information on the dial the face is surprisingly easy to digest. Two opposite windows near 9 and 3 o'clock handle all of the calendar information as well as a day/night indicator - in concert of course with the big date indicator. The top of the dial is dedicated to the large flying tourbillon. On a tangent I thought it was interesting and worth noting that the flying version of the tourbillon (no top bridge) is actually a German Glashutte creation. Anyhow, the lower part of the dial is your reference time, and two little windows near 8 o'clock indicate the local time. Glashutte Original will also customize the watch to show your reference time (home city) as your actual home city versus the standard airport code for the normal time zone reference city.

Remember when I said that the Glashutte Original Grande Cosmopolite tracks 37 time zones? Well it does. That means the world time function doesn't just cycle through 24 time zones moving the hour hand around, but it takes into consideration some of the half hour and quarter hour time zones certain countries have (perhaps defiantly) decided to create. Not only that, but it offers you those times in both daylight saving and standard times, and lets you know what places even have their time change at all. I really can't wait until daylight saving time is eradicated everywhere (by the way).

Glashutte Original Grande Cosmopolite Watch Hands On   hands on

Glashutte Original Grande Cosmopolite Watch Hands On   hands on

Another positive thing about the mechanism is that you can adjust the perpetual calendar both backwards and forwards in time. This seemingly obvious feature is by no means standard on most picky perpetual calendars. So in a nutshell Glashutte Original has developed a watch with a rather useful world timer, a rather useful perpetual calendar, and done so in a way that not only seems to improve upon the rest, but also combine all of it together in a single package. Oh, and all with a flying tourbillon. As is the case most of the time, tourbillons just sort of seem like thrown in bonuses to sweeten the luxury deal. It is like the final "wow" moment in infomercials. "And that's not all folks. If you order right now, the good people at Glashutte Original will throw in a flying tourbillon!" It's like I lose money by not buying it right?

The engine inside this rather impressive creation is the Glashutte Original Caliber 89-01 manually wound movement with a three-day power reserve. The movement operates at 21,600 bph and has two diamond endstones inside (for decorative purposes). It looks quite lovely through the back of the case, but you can tell that most of the interesting stuff is hiding under the dial.

Glashutte Original Grande Cosmopolite Watch Hands On   hands on

Glashutte Original Grande Cosmopolite Watch Hands On   hands on

All in all, the Grande Cosmopolite may have a silly sounding name but as a timepiece, Glashutte Original did a rather good job. They dutifully innovated with something new, made it useful, and put it in a package that someone can actually use on a daily basis. However, with a 48mm wide case (in platinum) it will be a heavy little number to lug around. As is common with high-end pieces of this nature, Glashutte Original includes a case with a crown winding claw to keep the calendar accurate. Though they would prefer that you travel with this watch. For the mechanical watch lover with a private jet and a hectic schedule... this is the watch for that person. Price is 325,000 Euros (about $360,000). glashuette-original.com

12 comments
gerikson
gerikson

I sometimes wish these high-end perpetual calendars didn't always have basically the same dial layout (albeit in different parts of the dial). If I were in the market for a perpetual I'd be very interested in the setting feature, not so interested in paying for 48mm diameter platinum. Hopefully GO will "trickle down" the technology to pieces that don't cost as much as a small house.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

The watch shown in the photos has NHV (Nuku Hiva, the Marquesas, French Polynesia) in the DST window. And yes, it is an example of a place that is a 30, not 60 minute, time zone. But from what I can see, they don't use Daylight Savings Time, so this is a fail IMO. Just what you want from a high end watch - a custom printed city disk THAT IS WRONG.

And I agree with other posters, this is not a very attractive looking watch.

The minute hand on the reference dial (sub-dial at 6) needs a 12 hour scale if you ask me. I see clocks at work that have a face with 24 hours for the hour and normal minute marking (which this watch lacks) but for the most part you have to stop and read and think for a second. You can't glace and know the time. I'm not saying the minute hand with a 24 hour hand is wrong, but its not what most people's brains/eyes are trained to 'grok', so you definitely need some minute markers, even it is just the normal 12 hour points.

I'm not sure the day/night indicator (on the sub-dial at 10) is really needed, but assuming it is, GO could have made it more attractive and a better visual match for the month & leap year sub-dial at 2.

I'd rather have a power reserve indicator on the front. And behind a hinged case is even worse. I also agree with the other comments about the ugly hinge. And outside of the power reserve, this is really nothing interesting to look at on the back. Compare this to the back of most A. Lange und Sohn watches and you have to ask yourself why anyone would spend almost 400 large for something so visually uninteresting.

In no way do I dislike Glashutte Original, I just don't like this watch.


Zeitblom
Zeitblom

By far the best GOs were the senator navigators. Which they have now discontinued, presumably because they weren't expensive enough. Another company falling into the "we only sell ultra-expensive watches, that proves how good we are" trap.

And I've said it before, but I'll say it again: you say, "However, with a 48mm wide case (in platinum) it will be a heavy little number to lug around." As if that were a *bad* thing. [In fact that's probably not your intention, but that's how it reads.]

I really hope that everyone reading this will keep their minds open to the possibility that heavy watches are actually *very* satisfying. And as for the alleged "discomfort" --- I mean, this thing probably weighs 250 grams at the outside: does anyone really feel that 250 grams is going to weigh them down? As I write this I am wearing a UTS which weighs 300 grams. Took me all of half an hour to get used to it, and it's probably the watch that I enjoy most in terms of feel. I could easily imagine going up to 400 without any trouble. Of course chacun son gout and all that, but it would be sad if people avoided heavy watches without trying one out first, just because reviews talk about "heavy" as if that were a drawback.

nateb123
nateb123

Not exactly a lust-worthy halo piece, especially given the size, but this is really multiple watches in one.  GO undoubtedly means to separate the various technologies into

a) a crazy slick, 2-time zone, pseudo-world timer with panoramic date

b) the most usable perpetual calendar out there

c) combinations of the above 2 with chronographs

There are going to be A LOT of badass GO watches in the near future.

Ryan B
Ryan B

For such a marvelous complication the dial falls short on design and is a bit sterile. The crowns I agree are hideous and do nothing to compliment the watch, they look like the thumb screws on the case of my computer. I might have a slightly better opinion of it if I saw a rose gold version.

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

It's a watch you really want to like, because you can appreciate all the innovation and research that was involved in producing it.  It's let down by the presentation though.  The dial is just bland.  Copier-paper white, a few cut-outs punched here and there, a tourbillon which is by far the least sophisticated one i've seen, no flair, no elaboration.  The opening rear cover is attached via an ugly hinge that looks like it came from a piece of furniture, and it opens to reveal... what, exactly?  GO really phoned it in in terms of the visual design of the piece, which seems like an after-thought.  Maybe they couldn't afford to spare any more time on that after six years of engineering the internals.  So many crowns, looking like they are from a hardware store - i'm glad they put three on there just so there'd be no doubt in my mind as to how ugly they really are for this style of watch.

SuperStrapper
SuperStrapper

Eesh. I have a lot of time for this brand (zing!) But I'm quite confused, and ultimately dissapointed by this offering. Take the strap and dial/movement out, and look at just the case with crown arrangement. Do you see a super-classy black tie tourbillon watch in the making? Doubtfull. Most would think some interesting compressor-style tool watch will emerge. Or it almost looks like it has some goofy ears kinda thing going on. Oh well, its GO: cut them some slack and let's have a gander at that movement. Oh, they buried it under a giant single plate... Well, let's just move on to the dial then. While nicely arranged and functional, nothing about it seems all that special to me: is it enamel? No textures or engravings, plain-cut ports, flat painted accents... Meh.

Again, I really like this brand, but I can spend a fraction of this and get what I persoanlly think is more watch to apprecite, from the same brand! Sure, this one is really complicated and they found a spot for a tourbillon, but you have to know to know, this one at a glance is just too dismissable. Shame.

Also, even as I (barely) mature in age, I still like daylight saving and have no interest in its removal. I still childishly find satisfaction in 'forgetting' to change my clock before bed, so in the morning I get an hour of bonus sleep. Besides, as a watch lover, it gives me the opportunity twice a year to play with all my watches on the same day. Quit being such a curmudgeon Ariel.

JonnyD
JonnyD

The addition of the Hunter style case was a smart move, it provides additional useful world time information and harkens back to the pocket watch era, plus achieves a big wow factor every time you open it and see the loveliness inside. I'm sure you could spend hours perusing the manual on this bad boy. I agree, day light saving time has had its moment.

Hacker4748
Hacker4748

Hm, I am not really sure - is Ariel bashing the inclusion of a tourbillon in the article?

nateb123
nateb123

@Zeitblom Agreed.  I find diameter (and to a lesser degree weight) to be an issue for this particular piece because it's a bit of a mismatch with the dressier aesthetic.  But I do find that there are a lot of "purists" who think that their tiny 6 inch wrists and the 38mm x  5mm watches that fit them are the only acceptable size.  Pure rubbish.

SN0WKRASH
SN0WKRASH moderator

@Ulysses31 it bothers me deeply that the crowns look like they are from a hardware store - it's the first thing that struck me, then I thought I was being naiive, like it is *supposed* to look like that to pay homage to something I don't know about, then I thought well, I don't care I don't like it.

Ulysses31
Ulysses31

@SN0WKRASH @Ulysses31 It's just that I would expect to see them more on a tool watch where there's a no-nonsense practical approach to the design.  On a watch intended to be in the classical vein with copperplate writing on the movement i'd want something more fitting.