The Cost of Entry Series provides a hands-on look at the most affordable watch from a given brand while offering a broader look at the brand and its offerings. This series focuses on mechanical watches, and when a brand distinguishes between men’s and women’s models, we opt for the most affordable men’s timepiece. 

Glashütte, Germany is no stranger to watchmaking, as you probably already know. Glashütte Original shares the town with brands like Nomos, Moritz Grossman, and A. Lange & Söhne, to name a few. Like many of those brands, GO traces its roots to the 1800s, when a handful of watchmakers set up shop in the town due to its proximity to Dresden’s establishing clockmaking industry. After two World Wars and the partitioning of Germany, the existing Glashütte companies were merged into a single state-run entity until unification in 1990. Just four years later, Glashütte Original was born (or reborn, I suppose), and much like A. Lange & Söhne had done four years prior, it focused on high-end, traditional German watchmaking that had originally defined Glashütte. Although the brand showcases those techniques throughout its offerings, one of its simplest models, the Glashütte Original Sixties, serves as its most affordable option.

Glashütte Original offers several collections, the best known of which is perhaps the Pano line, which is defined by an asymmetrical dial with an offset time display and in most cases, a big date (unlike big date displays from other similarly located brands, the date wheels share the same plane, making them a bit nicer to look at). While the Pano line may be the best known, that seems to be shifting a bit. The brand offers quite an array of watches, from the sporty divers of the Spezialist collection to the throwback chronographs in the Vintage collection. Similarly, the brand exists in a wide range of price points. At the very top is the Senator Chronometer Tourbillon Platinum, which puts the brand’s watchmaking acumen on full display and costs $175,500 USD. On the other end, serving as the entry point for the brand is the very straightforward Glashütte Original Sixties, offered on an alligator leather strap and priced at $6,700 USD. While the Sixties lacks some of the complications and dial-side theatrics for which the brand may be known, it possesses a vintage charm and a movement that doesn’t disappoint.

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In addition to being the brand’s most affordable watch mechanical offering, the Glashütte Original Sixties is also the smallest watch in the catalog at 39mm wide and just 9.4mm thick (it is worth noting that the brand’s mechanical Serenade Luna ladies’ watch measures 32.5mm x 8.9mm). While GO’s men’s watches range from 39mm to 44mm, the smaller size delivered by the Sixties is ideal for its vintage styling. With a lug-to-lug of 44mm and aided by generously curved lugs, the fully polished case sat perfectly on my 7-inch wrist. While I don’t quite understand it, some people still think 39mm is too small, but the Sixties’ thin, sloped bezel and expansive domed sapphire crystal make it wear perhaps slightly larger. I don’t think the effect is significant enough to quiet any complainers, but it is worth noting.

The case itself is an exercise in vintage charm. Having handled plenty of old, usually gold dress watches from the ’60s, I can attest to how well the Sixties captures the silhouettes of the era. Compact and sleek, there’s a thin case band that runs the side, sandwiched by the caseback and the bezel, which gives the effect of a stepped case and adds a bit of character (even if it’s subtle). While the Sixties is offered in a gold case with gold hands for a more complete vintage effect, I found the stainless steel case with steel hands more appealing for my highly refined sensibilities (which are beyond reproach, of course). As might be expected with a watch of this style, and especially one that intentionally takes its cues from 60-year-old timepieces, the Sixties has a scant 30m of water resistance.

Completing the package is an incredibly comfortable 19mm alligator strap in blue. At this price point, I think many would expect a deployant clasp, but for me, the pin buckle that’s used makes more sense as it maintains the thin profile around the wrist. However, the strap lacks any kind of quick-release mechanism. With this in mind, I wasn’t about to go prying at the spring bars on a fully polished luxury watch, never mind that I don’t have any 19mm straps.

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The reality is that the Sixties is a rather restrained watch, particularly by Glashütte Original standards. Whether it’s a chronograph, a reversed movement, or a skeletonized balance bridge, the brand’s watches usually have a bit going on with the dial. Here, though, it’s kept simple and classic, with a blue radiant sunray dial, polished baton indices, and a matching handset. Lume is applied in small pips at each hour and the hands have a slim application, as well. The dial as a whole truly does recall watches of the 60s, devoid as it is of the extraneous dial text that brands seem insistent upon including these days.

The hallmark of the Vintage line, though, is the highly stylized cardinal numerals that have bowed strokes that taper at the ends. Because the dial is so sparse, the eye is drawn immediately to the numerals, and as such, they imbue the entire dial with their throwback vibe. The lovely thing about such a simple watch is that it’s easy for it to remain cohesive, even with a single standout element. There’s no need for designers to balance complications, subdials, or fonts (there are four on the dial, but I didn’t notice that until writing this), and that translates to high legibility and elegance.

While I truly enjoy the entire Vintage collection, it’s a bit of a departure from the brand’s usual fare. Fortunately, the in-house Calibre 39-52 brings the full GO experience. Running at 28,800 vph and offering a 40-hour power reserve, the movement has a striped, three-quarter plate that makes room for the balance and its swan neck regulator. The gold weight of the rotor is complemented by the brand’s double-G symbol. The brand has made an interesting choice to use a domed sapphire crystal on the caseback, and instead of a wider caseback ring, the movement ring is fully exposed. The movement ring itself is engraved with the model name, and “automatic,” which is so superfluous in its position next to the automatic winding rotor that it verges on humorous.

Placing the Glashütte Original Sixties in the context of the brand’s Vintage collection, it makes plenty of sense, but it’s an outlier from the larger catalog (along with the entire Vintage collection). The dial omits all the brand’s signature elements, leaving the brand’s name on the dial as the only clear indicator of its provenance. Considered on its own, the model is a spot-on vintage reimagining that combines the charm of classic dress watches with the brand’s attractive movement finishing to deliver an easy and sophisticated wear on the wrist. The Glashütte Original Sixties (Ref. 1-39-52-06-02-04) is priced at $6,700 USD. For more information, please visit the Glashütte Original website.

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