You can tell winter has come to Glashütte by the bite in the air. It’s crisp and it’s cold; the moon is rising, the temperature’s falling and the starry sky is crystal clear. At night snow begins to fall, leaving our world in glistening white, stretching out under a pale blue sky as far as the eye can see. A time for quiet contemplation. A time to dream. Wintertime is dream time. This is the scenery in which they, the watchmakers at Glashütte Original, spend their winters… Dreaming up watches! The one we are presenting to you is an absolute marvel that comes in the form of the pale blue PanoMatic Luna.
Handmade for women who love to dream, presented in a 39.4 mm stainless steel case on a gray‐blue Louisiana alligator strap… but it’s all those diamonds that catch the eye. Translucent, top‐class, brilliant‐cut diamonds: sixty‐four on the bezel surrounding the dial, eighteen mounted in pairs to mark the hours from eight through four, and one more capping the crown. Eighty‐three sparkling stones on the wrist, 1.09 carats in all – a dream constellation inspired by the light and the brilliance of the stars.
Something else about the light under a pale blue sky: it’s a clear winter light with a shimmering presence. It has to do with the colors, not just the sparkling white light of the diamonds. There’s a touch of iridescence, of pink, lilac, green and white in the sky. This light and these colors are not a matter of chance. The watchmakers have let the magic of winter inspire them here, too: the dial is hand‐crafted in pale blue mother–of–pearl.
Harvested from seashells, mother–of–pearl is both exquisite and temperamental at once. Its subtle reflections in pastel hues render it precious, but it is notoriously difficult to work with, so fragile that it demands extreme care in handling during its passage from shell to razor thin, finished dial.
As one of the very few prestige watchmakers with its own dial manufactory, Glashütte Original benefits from the expertise of a dedicated team of dial makers in Pforzheim, Germany, a city long known for its craft traditions, goldsmiths and jewelers. The rare skill of the watchmaker’s artisans – scientists, artists, and precision engineers at once – is evident at first glance: in the mirror‐like surface of the PanoMatic Luna’s wintry blue, mother‐of‐pearl sky. In the delicate pairing of brilliant‐cut diamonds serving as indexes on the off-center hour and minutes dial, in the ring of diamonds circling the bezel and the single stone atop the fluted crown: the dial is a blaze of crystalline light.
But there is more to discover about this winter light. Nothing in this feminine landscape has been left to chance, least of all the name: Luna. It’s no surprise to find the mirror‐polished moon shining a light of its own in a starlit sky. A moon in silver grows to a crescent and to full white brilliance, only to fade and disappear: the effect is hypnotic, mysterious, elemental. Behind the silver moon and stars lie the traditional craft skills not only of the dial makers but of the precision engineers and watchmakers who designed and built the engine that breathes life into the Luna.
The various phases of the moon in the night sky are represented by the galvanic white disc decorated with small stars in conjunction with two small curves that jut into the half‐moon cutaway on the dial. The disc, turned by the dial train, carries not one, but two domed silver moons, only one of which is visible at a given time. In the upper half of the display, one of these becomes increasingly visible as the nights pass, finally reaching “full moon” in the center of the window. Further rotation of the disc pushes the silver moon slowly under the opposite section of the dial as this silver satellite wanes and eventually disappears. While this takes place, the second “full moon” on the disc beneath the dial has traveled the same distance along its orbit, ready to become the next waxing moon.
The moon disc beneath the cut‐away window makes one revolution every 59 days, not quite two months. This is because one lunar month – the period from one new moon to the next – lasts precisely 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2.9 seconds. This is known as the “synodic moon month”, represented by the time scale running from “0” to “29 1⁄2” days. The 59‐day revolution of the moon phase disc isn’t completely in sync with the precision timing built into the universe, since two synodic months add up to 59 days, 1 hour, 28 minutes and 5.8 seconds – but it is very close. In a proud indication of its origins, the PanoMatic Luna presents the name of this delightful complication in German: “MONDPHASE”, printed in black at the perimeter of the dial.
The moon phase in the upper right quadrant is complemented at the lower right by Glashütte Original’s signature big date display, known as the “Panorama Date”. It’s a compelling implementation of the traditional big date, with an important difference. In contrast to similar complications from rival watchmakers, the two numerical discs required to display the date are concentrical and hence are located on the same plane: there is no need to disguise a gap between numeric discs with a vertical bar in the middle of the display. The absence of the bar makes for excellent legibility, enhanced in this case by contrasting black numerals on a white ground.
In one last, lingering look at this lovely dial, we note the softly faceted hour and minute hands are fashioned in white gold, as is the slim hand of the small seconds dial, a fitting complement to the wintry white light of the moon and the sparkling brilliance of starlit diamonds.
There’s another side to this winter wonder: flip the watch over and you’ll find a sapphire crystal window into the world of Glashütte Original. The eye is drawn instantly to the butterfly, also known as the “duplex swan‐neck fine adjustment” system, a masterpiece of functional, precision engineering and the traditional finishing skills of hand‐engraving, galvanization, and polishing. Custom‐developed in the Saxon manufactory, the device allows for especially precise adjustment of the movement. It utilizes two “swan‐neck” springs operating independently of each other to regulate the watch’s rate symmetry.
Though there is a lot more to know about how it works, another facet of fascination about the butterfly is that is shows, convincingly, the lengths to which the Saxon manufactory’s watchmakers will go to transform complex functionality into a thing of beauty. It also exemplifies the combination of high‐tech machinery with traditional craft skills that makes it all possible. The graceful “swan‐neck” springs, for example, are made using “spark erosion”, an advanced electrolyte technology in which a metal wire finer than a human hair is used to cut the springs from a stainless steel blank with exceptional precision. They are then polished by hand before a master watchmaker carefully assembles this beautiful component.
Through the sapphire crystal case back one can admire the Calibre 90‐02 automatic movement, from the skeletonized rotor with its 21‐carat oscillating weight to the characteristic elements of Glashütte watchmaking: three‐quarter plate with Glashütte stripe finish, polished steel parts, beveled edges, blued screws and screw balance with 18 weighted screws.