In the 1960s, all around the world, a new way of looking at life blossomed. Music, art, design and technology were filled with inspiration and innovative power, introducing an era whose unmistakable style was to have a decisive impact on modern life. In eastern Germany, the German Democratic Republic (GDR) at the time, one also sensed the echo of this attitude towards life. Here, in the mid-1960s, the state-owned VEB Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe launched a wristwatch that was to become a true icon: the Spezimatic.

Introduced in 1964 the Spezimatic is one of the company’s most famous creations. The series of automatic models, manufactured from 1964 to 1979, saw a large number of different versions: all were highly reliable and featured an elegant design, and they quickly became style icons of their time. Today Glashütte Original pays tribute to this iconic era with a special collection, inspired by the design of the models of the time. The Sixties Iconic Collection comprises five elegant, colourful timepieces. They merge the unmistakable design of the sixties with dials in unique hues that give the models their names: Sixties Red, Sixties Golden, Sixties Aqua, Sixties Brown and Sixties Grey.

All five models feature a highly unusual dégradé effect on the dial, which is achieved using an extremely complex and time-consuming process. In this process the dials are first galvanised with great care; layers of lacquer are added by hand in a series subsequent steps. Throughout, the process is repeatedly brought to a halt to allow the result to be examined by an experienced set of eyes. In a final step, a further colour is carefully applied to this "canvas" using a special spray gun – this technique produces, depending on the angle, an individual colour gradient, known as the dégradé effect, which renders each watch unique.

The five Sixties Iconic watches. © Glashütte Original

Three of the five elegant models in the Sixties Iconic Collection combine these unique shadings with a refined sunray finishing: With the Sixties Golden and the Sixties Aqua this results in a golden shimmer or a brilliant turquoise at the centre of the dials blending into a deep black, while the Sixties Red takes on an additional colour: here a luminous yellow changes to intense red. The subtle colour shading of the Sixties Brown and Sixties Grey models is enhanced by an elaborate imprint. This complex technique makes use of guilloche stamps, which, with the help of a 60-ton press, imprint their filigree pattern on the paper-thin dials. These stamps, known as "dies", are a further example of extreme authenticity. Almost as old as the historic examples from the sixties themselves, they are tools, around 40 years old, from the archives of the Glashütte Original dial manufactory. They give the model with the brown-black dégradé effect a fine rhombic pattern, while the silver-grey model displays a structure evocative of dewdrops.

The timepieces feature the typical domed dials and lightly arched hour and minute hands, both with Super-Luminova highlights. Arabic numerals at hours 3, 6, 9 and 12 are presented in a font that expresses the unmistakable signature of the 1960s. All 5 models are presented in softly rounded stainless steel cases, 39mm in diameter, and fitted with a matching Louisiana Alligator leather strap. The beating heart of the new timepieces, as in the other models of the Sixties line, is the automatic Calibre 39-52. The manufactory made movement has a power reserve of 40 hours, is finely finished and presents the characteristic features of fine watchmaking in the Glashütte tradition.

The Sixties Red model. © Glashütte Original

The Sixties Iconic Collection will be available worldwide in Glashütte Original boutiques. These exclusive models will also be carried by selected Swatch Group’s high-end Tourbillon boutiques.

Click on the image at the top of the page to see more pictures of the Sixties Iconic Collection.