Although stainless steel dive watches have remained industry staples since at least the early ‘60s, the popularity of two-tone steel and gold divers has proven far more cyclic. The unique blend of flash and function that two-tone brings has come back into vogue over the past several years, and Glashütte Original has already brought the look to its larger, uniquely Germanic SeaQ Panorama Date line. For 2021, the brand expands its steel and gold stable to include the smaller base model SeaQ diver, pairing the look with a deep sunburst-blue dial colorway. The new two-tone Glashütte Original SeaQ offers an intriguingly luxe take on the brand’s intricately detailed diver form, with a nuanced approach to its use of gold elements.
Measuring in at 39.5mm, the case of the new two-tone Glashütte Original SeaQ should feel compact and appropriately vintage-inflected on the wrist. The overall case design is simple and skin diver-esque, with a hefty unguarded screw-down pillbox crown and short, squared-off lugs. As with previous models in the SeaQ line, this one sets itself apart from the pack in the delicacy of its execution. The flowing narrow polished chamfer running the length of the case, the gentle downward curve of the lugs, and the interplay between vertically and radially brushed surfaces are all exemplary in initial images, elevating this elemental form with technique rather than out-and-out pageantry. Naturally, the use of yellow gold for the crown and the rotating dive bezel does add a touch of pageantry itself. That said, where many two-tone designs are overwhelmed with the use of gold, the amount of gold on display here is surprisingly subtle and light, especially when viewing the watch from above. The midnight blue ceramic bezel insert is carried over from the stainless steel model but takes on a new dimension in initial images when complemented by a gold surround for a more dynamic look. Like the standard stainless steel model, this new version of the SeaQ sports a solid caseback with a dive-ready 200 meters of water resistance.
The Glashütte Original SeaQ line traces its stylistic roots back to 1969 and the brand’s first-ever dive watch, the Spezimatic Typ RP TS 200. At the time, the brand’s home city of Glashütte was part of Soviet-aligned East Germany, and the resulting Eastern Bloc aesthetic influences helped to forge the dial of the original Spezimatic as something unique, but not wholly alien to that era’s diver design trends in Switzerland. Of course, both the company and the city of Glashütte are far different today than in 1969, but the new SeaQ still carries some of that quirky East German DNA in its dial. The split between applied baton indices and bold Arabic numerals, the graphic outer minutes scale, and the trademark sword hours and arrow minutes handset all add up to create something clearly distinct from the classic diver formula, but eminently functional, legible, and handsome. Like the case, however, where this dial really shines in images is in the fine nuances of its execution. The deep oceanic blue sunburst dial surface is gently domed, creating a sense of visual depth as well as a touch of old-school visual distortion. The yellow gold used for the case is carried through here as well for the hands and indices, creating a warm, rich interplay with the cool gradients of the sunburst dial. In keeping with the brand’s pinpoint attention to detail, the date window is smoothly integrated at 3 o’clock with a dial-matching date wheel and a size that nicely blends it with the surrounding applied numerals at a glance.
Glashütte Original powers the new two-tone SeaQ with its in-house 39-11 automatic movement. Although hidden behind a solid caseback, the 39-11 is heavily decorated, with bright Glashütte striping across the bridges, a striped skeleton rotor with an integrated Glashütte Original emblem in yellow gold, and polished chamfers throughout. In classical German style, the 39-11 features a delicate and ornate swan-neck fine adjustment system atop the balance cock as well. Performance for the 39-11 is solidly middle of the road, with a power reserve of 40 hours at a 28,800 bph beat rate.
While many two-tone diver designs opt for a matching bracelet in steel and gold, the new Glashütte Original SeaQ keeps its gold use subtle and balanced by avoiding bracelets altogether. Instead, this new SeaQ can be purchased with either a classic black tropic-style rubber strap to emphasize the line’s ‘60s diver look or a fabric strap in dial matching navy blue.
By sidestepping the bold, ostentatious cues often associated with two-tone designs in the past, the new two-tone Glashütte Original SeaQ offers a fresh and modern take on this trend that integrates handsomely into its core diver look. The new two-tone Glashütte Original SeaQ will be available through authorized dealers in late April 2021 at a starting MSRP of €12,000. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.