Glashütte Original SeaQ Chronograph Review
 

Glashütte Original SeaQ Chronograph Review

5 min read
Rob Nudds

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Glashutte Original

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Reviews

Rob Nudds

Brands

Glashutte Original

Categories

Reviews

The Glashütte Original SeaQ Chronograph is a lot of watch. It is often the case that the chronograph version of an otherwise staple time-only/time-and-date diver comes across as a bit “extra”. By that I mean we can see the original aesthetic calling cards shining through — we cannot, even if we try, escape them — but they are joined by a host of additional factors that must try ever so hard not to muddy the clear waters of the base design.

Glashütte Original SeaQ ChronographGlashütte Original SeaQ Chronograph - Credit WatchGecko

Sub-dials. They’re not as easy to implement without giving your watch face two black eyes as you might think. Pushers. They can interrupt the clean lines of a case without even trying. The size? Bizarrely, scaling some things up can easily ruin a design. I never understood this when I first started designing watches (to be honest, I’m not sure I totally understand it now, but I do know it to be true), but something that works at 39.5 mm might look like a dog’s dinner at 43.2 mm. If I could offer a succinct explanation as to why that is, I would say that it is not simply about relative space, but rather about actual space. The relative sizing of components is, of course, important, and there are plenty of design “rules” one can read up on to understand those basic principles, but in reality, everything comes down to the canvas.

Good aesthetic design in watchmaking is much like its technical counterpart: you must understand the rules intimately so you can effectively break them to achieve the desired effect, be that fluid functionality or fantastic form. In the case of the Glashütte Original SeaQ Chronograph, the exercise has been reasonably successful, but the result is something that sits very far away from the standard time-and-date SeaQ, be that for better or worse.

Glashütte Original SeaQ ChronographGlashütte Original SeaQ Chronograph - Credit WatchGecko

 
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As this is a critical review, I feel compelled to set out my stall: I am a huge fan of chronographs. I would be comfortable in saying the chronograph is my favourite complication of all. I love the many ways in which the useful information can be communicated on the dial (or elsewhere, for that matter). We have seen some creative elapsed time indicators in the past. I even own one such watch from Glashütte Original itself (the Glashütte Original Seventies Chronograph Panorama Date), which displays the elapsed hours via a small curved aperture between 12 o’clock and centre (and dares to squirrel away a somehow-not-as-disruptive-as-it-should-be power-reserve indicator in the 9 o’clock sub-dial).

In short, the chronograph is, in my opinion, an endlessly interesting opportunity to do something cool with watch design. However, that does not mean it should be slapped on every time-only/time-and-date watch and be expected to improve it.

Glashütte Original SeaQ ChronographGlashütte Original SeaQ Chronograph - Credit WatchGecko

That’s where my analysis of the GO SeaQ Chronograph began. It simply isn’t as satisfying a design as the standard SeaQ model. It isn’t just its enhanced size (coming in at a still-wearable 43.2 mm). We’ve seen larger sizes work just fine with the SeaQ Panorama date, which has exactly the same diameter (but a thickness of 15.95 mm versus the chrono’s 16.95). It is more than that. The chronograph complication works “fine” here, but it doesn’t sing. It doesn’t seem to add to the SeaQ base as much as chronograph complications have added to other dive watch canvases, such as the Omega Seamaster 300m, for example.

While the time-and-date Seamaster 300M is far more popular with buyers than the chronograph version, I maintain that the chrono is one of the most underrated and overall successful, straight-lined applications of the complication to an existing classic that exists.

The same cannot be said of the SeaQ Chronograph, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As I said, this analysis is based on my personal adoration for the standard SeaQ model in 39.5 mm. But what if that model isn’t to your liking? What if you like a bit of heft to your watch? What if you enjoy panoramic dates being included at every opportunity (and the opportunity was ravenously taken here)? What if you need a chronograph or a watch that gives off a technical, more modern-day vibe than the SeaQ base model? In that case, the Glashütte Original SeaQ chronograph could be for you.

Glashütte Original SeaQ Chronograph - Credit WatchGecko

You see, the thing I like least about the GO SeaQ Chronograph isn’t what it is, but what it’s not. You might think that’s unfair, but that’s the beauty of this hobby. You can look at the two models I’m comparing from the same chapter of the same catalogue that belongs to the same brand and have a totally different opinion. And I wouldn’t think you were wrong. Because materially, and in many ways aesthetically, the Glashütte Original SeaQ Chronograph is a great watch.

For me, it simply looks a bit too much like a Zenith Chronomaster Sport for me to feel I’m getting something special. But if you like that aesthetic but don’t want to buy a Chronomaster like everyone else, it might be the perfect choice. 

I love the movement. I love the finishing. The material quality is superb. The applied numerals on the dial are heaven. The case back is open showing off the divine, 70-hour power reserve movement (the Glashütte Original calibre 37-23). The watch looks great on a bunch of straps and is still, despite its size, pretty versatile.

Glashütte Original SeaQ ChronographGlashütte Original SeaQ Chronograph on WatchGecko Ridge Military Nylon Watch Strap - Credit WatchGecko

 
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But it is big. That almost 17 mm height is a lot. Especially when you consider it affords you just 30 m water resistance. This is not as much of a tool watch as its smaller and visually quieter counterpart. It’s also around €6,000 more expensive, which makes it a relatively niche proposition at €16,300 on the bracelet, €15,400 with a folding clasp, and €15,100 with a pin and tang buckle (on either a rubber or fabric strap).

The Glashütte Original SeaQ Chronograph is a watch I’m glad exists and I am sure for some it will be exactly the piece they’ve been waiting for. It pulls together a lot of cool elements such as the chronograph complication, the SeaQ heritage, and the excellent movement-making traditions of Glashütte shown off through the open case back. For me, though, as neat as those characteristics are, it doesn’t hang together as well as the basic SeaQ model and has the effect of making that piece look like an excellent value-for-money pick.

Technical Specifications:

  • Name: Glashütte Original
  • Collection Reference:
  • Case Dimensions: 43.2 mm wide by 16.95 mm thick
  • Crystal: Sapphire
  • Water Resistance: 300 metres
  • Movement: Glashütte Original 37-23, automatic chronograph caliber with a 70-hour power reserve

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Rob Nudds

About the Author: Rob Nudds

Rob started working in the watch industry for the Signet Group, aged 17. Following university, he undertook the WOSTEP course at the British School of Watchmaking, developing a keen interest in watchmaking theory. After graduating, he worked primarily for Omega and Bremont before leaving the bench in 2015 to become Head of Sales for NOMOS Glashütte in the UK. After three years of managing an international retail network that grew to encompass 17 countries, he began writing full-time.

Since then, he has written for aBlogtoWatch, Fratello, Time & Tide, Grail Watch, SJX, Get Bezel, Borro Blog, Jomashop, Bob's Watches, Skolorr, Oracle Time, and Revolution USA.

He currently co-hosts The Real Time Show Podcast (www.therealtime.show) with his friend and long-time collaborator, Alon Ben Joseph of Ace Jewelers, Amsterdam, as well as working with several brands as a consultant in the fields of brand building, product development, global retail strategy, and communications. Follow him on Instagram @robnudds.

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