From renowned manufacture A. Lange & Söhne to the modern independent brand of NOMOS (and many others), Glashütte in the eastern part of Germany is the birthplace and home to German watchmaking. It is also home to a brand that bears the town’s name in its own name, Glashütte Original. I won’t go into the history of G.O. too much but I highly recommend reading into its history, as its journey to where it is now is quite interesting. Though G.O. manufactures many styles of watches, their Pano line is probably one of their more popular collections, in which I will talk specifically about the Glashütte Original PanoMaticLunar in this review.
The watch has a diameter of 40mm, case thickness of 12.7mm, a lug-to-lug of 47mm, and a lug width of 20mm. The measurement that perhaps sticks out the most is its thickness. There is no denying that the PanoMaticLunar is chunky. On the wrist, it has substantial presence. You can view this as either a pro or a con. If you’re after a svelte dress watch that tucks away neatly under a cuff, this may not be the watch for you. However, if you’re after a modern watch that won’t look out of place with a suit and in more casual settings, then its thickness is a plus. It gives off a “sportier” vibe, if you will.
The Glashütte Original PanoMaticLunar fits comfortably on my 16cm (6.3″) wrist, though it does appear to be larger than 40mm due to its thin, sculpted bezel. The dial of the watch, though asymmetrical, is very balanced and pleasing to look at. The hour, minute, and seconds are on the left side of the dial and the moonphase and big date located on the right side which creates a sense of harmony and doesn’t jar its wearer into thinking something is askew. The galvanized blue dial shifts from demanding your attention in the sunlight to shying away in the shade. The moonphase display is white and complements the blue dial nicely. Its other party piece (one of many) is its big date. Unlike the big date utilized by A. Lange & Söhne, G.O.’s big date disks lie on the same focal plane. For some, this is a better execution of the big date design. However, I’ve come to find that I actually prefer the execution of the Lange big date disks because it adds a sense of depth to an otherwise flat dial. (Disclaimer: I did replace my PanoMaticLunar for a Lange 1). Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which is the “better” execution but this was my experience in owning both the Lange 1 and the PanoMaticLunar.
When you flip over the watch and you’re treated to a visual feast. The movement is generously decorated with a skeletonized micro-rotor, the famous Glashütte stripes that opens up dimensions with the direction of light, and a hand engraved balance bridge with a double swan neck regulator. The entire movement exhibits high polishing, heated blue screws, and beveled edges. A quick glance at the movement can turn into several minutes staring into the labyrinth (and perhaps an awkward reaction from coworkers asking what you’re doing); it’s that good!
After all that comes the big “but”: …but it looks like a Lange 1. It’s no secret that the Pano collection is inspired by the Lange 1 (I mean, Glashütte Original’s HQ is literally right next to Lange. Wouldn’t you be interested to see what’s going in your neighbour’s backyard too when there’s a commotion?). But I don’t think they should be looked at as an alternative to the Lange 1 for those who can’t afford (or justify) the exorbitant amount of money for one. The concept may be similar but their execution is different. Lange only offers their watches in precious metals. The Glashütte Original PanoMaticLunar series comes in stainless steel (as well as PM). Though inspired, the watch is different enough not only in design but in character that it feels like a completely different watch. The Lange stands stern and straight-faced. The GO, more playful. Ever wanted a stainless steel Lange? Glashütte Original.