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Calibres

July 8 2002 at 8:42 PM

ThomasM  (Premier Login thepurist178)
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Marcus Hanke
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UNION cal. 26-11: Aesthetic evolution

July 10 2002, 8:18 AM 

When Heinz W. Pfeifer, the CEO of Glashuette Original, (re-)founded the Union/Glashuette brand in 1996, he announced that this brand would embody the traditional values of "the good watch". Inexpensive, solid, dependable, yet still aesthetically pleasing and quality-wise top of the notch. As Mr. Pfeifer put it into words: "Nothing what would make the watch only more beautilful, but everything, which would make it better!"

Therefore, precious case metals were not to be used (except in strictly limited series), as well as a purely optical decoration of the cal. 26-11 movement. This movement, as I have written further down in my article on the cal. 39 movement of Galshuette Original, was a somewhat stripped-down offspring of that beautiful and capable GO movement.

In its first appearance, the Union cal. 26-11 indeed looked a bit bare:



Only the rotor was gold-coated and some wheels had the well-known "Glashuette Solar Grinding". But after a short time, already, decorational grindings started to appear:



The rotor received a nice stripe decoration, while the engravings became washed out in gold. Yet the bridges still looked a bit puristic.

A year later, the bridges, too, were nicely decorated with stripes, the screwheads were perfectly polished, and also some more jewels were added to improve the movement technically, too.





Finally, about two years ago, the movement's appearance was completely changed, when the rotor became skeletonized and gold-coated, additionally, some further improvements were made to the winding and adjustment mechanisms:





The difference between the fine cal. 39 movement used in the Glashuette Original watches and the Union's cal. 26-11 after its extensive "facelift" became considerably smaller. Contrary to the original dogma of "nothing, what makes it more beautiful only", the current Union movement is as pleasing to the eye as it is good. However, "the good watch" nearly doubled its price within two years. We will see if the targeted buyers still will accept the new Union watches as embodyment of the traditional virtues of "good, puristic and inexpensive" ...

Marcus


    
This message has been edited by mhanke on Dec 9, 2002 6:29 AM


 
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Marcus Hanke
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Glashuette Original cal. 39: A Development History

July 15 2002, 11:09 AM 



    
This message has been edited by mhanke on Aug 31, 2003 2:30 PM


 
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Marcus Hanke
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GO Cal. 38 and the GO Autodate watches

December 9 2002, 6:22 AM 

The Autodate series consists of two watches in SS cases, the silver-dial panoramadate and the military-dial Navigator panoramadate. The cases don't have any displaybacks and are housing the cal. 38-42, which is a slightly downgraded cal. 39 inhouse movement. This movement differs from its more expensive "brother" in that it lacks a gold segment on the rotor, and the adjustement mechanism is a conventional system using an excenter screw rather than a swan-neck. The functional mechanics, however, and the rest of the decoration are the same. All decoration work, as grinding and anglage, are done manually, rather than by machines, as is the case with Union's cal. 26 movements.

From the front, the Autodate watches can be recognized by the different hands:





Note that the Autodate hands are identical to those used in the Union selfwinding watches. As a consequence, the GO Autodate is the only silverfaced GO which can be read at night, since its hands are covered with luminous mass. Additionally, the Autodate is delivered with a standard buckle instead of the deployment clasp.

The prices are very competitive. However, I have my problems on how to position the Autodate series towards the Union selfwinding watches: The Autodate is still more expensive than the Union panorama date, which has a displayback. The technical differences between the Union cal. 26 and the GO cal. 38 are negligible, and the 2003 Union models will have the deployment clasp that is missing from the GO Autodate. However, there remains the finer finish of the GO movements, in spite of the missing swan neck adjustment.

Therefore, the Autodate is interesting as introduction into the world of GO watches for those markets that don't have a Union dealer network.

Marcus

Addendum:

Recently, I asked the chief watchmaker of Swatch Austria about his opinion of the Autodate watches, compared with the Union cal. 26. He told me that from the technical point of view, the cal. 38 is still the better movement, and therefore worth the higher price. According to him, the cal. 38 has the better geartrain of the cal. 39, and a slightly better finish, in spite of the lacking swan-neck regulator.


    
This message has been edited by mhanke on Feb 12, 2004 3:13 PM


 
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Marcus Hanke
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Large pic of the PanoRetroGraph's cal. 60

January 31 2003, 4:10 PM 


 
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Marcus Hanke
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See-through pic of the Union panorama date mechanism

January 19 2004, 3:49 PM 

Prepared from different layers by ei8htohms:


 
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