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Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ - and Reference Articles on GO

July 8 2002 at 8:43 PM

ThomasM  (Premier Login thepurist178)
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ThomasM
(Premier Login thepurist178)
AP Discussion Group

relationship between Glashutte Original and A Lange Und Sohne

July 10 2002, 1:05 AM 

Though both companies had early common origins, they have taken completely paths at least since the end of WW II.

Lange effectively went out of existence, while what is now the GO factory was turned into a State combine called GUB (Glashutter Uhrenbetrieb) under the socialist East German government.

Lange was revived in the 1980's by a group including the recently deceased and much revered Mr. Gunther Blumlein and Mr. Walter Lange, a direct blood descendant of the original Lange founder, with much technical assistance from IWC and Renaud & Papi. A. Lange Und Sohne was later merged into LMH, along with JLC and IWC, and recently was sold as a group to Richmont/Vendome.

GO was privatised by Mr. Heinz Pfeiffer, a West German businessman, when East and West Germany were reunited. GO is now part of the Swatch Group.

GO and Lange have taken rather different approaches to the design and production of their model lines, Lange going the ultra high end route, with perhaps finer cosmetic finishing, and positioning themselves against Patek, AP, VC, the traditional big three Swiss brands.

GO watches have a different feel - a bit less dressy, more functionally utilitarian, though also of high quality. By their pricing and design, it would seem they are going more after the technical market, with interesting complications. Their final finishing is perhaps not quite to the level of Lange, but at their price point, offer surprisingly good value.

Many people confuse Lange and GO, or consider them direct competitors, since they are both generally in the high grade category, and both are located in Glashutte, just down the street from each other. Personally, I don't consider them competitors at all, other than that they both make very nice watches. They are quite different, in feel and philosophy.

 
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Marcus Hanke
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An additional historical note ...

July 10 2002, 2:51 AM 

Well, Lange did not exactly cease to exist after World War II, the situation is far more peculiar - and one of the sources for certain rivalties between the two companies until today. In 1945, Glashuette's watch industry was heavily bombed, and what remained, was disassembled and confiscated by the Soviet occupation forces, including all company archives. the only archival substance left was that of Lange & Soehne, since that manufactury was hit so massively by the bombing attacks, that it was considered worthless by the Soviets. Thus, substantial parts of the Lange archives survived in German hands.

Later, the communist German govermnment nationalized ALL watch manufacturing companies in Glashuette, including all the different suppliers of balances, screws, springs, bridges, jewels, dials, hands etc, and concentrated them into one big company, the Glashuetter Uhren-Betrieb (GUB). So Lange & Soehne was part of that fusion.

After the downfall of the communist government in 1989, Walter Lange tried to re-establish his family's company in Glashuette. However, he had to accept the reality that "Lange & Soehne" still was but a part of the GUB. Therefore, he had to purchase the right to use the name "Lange & Soehne" from the GUB, whereas his efforts to take over the old Lange archives, too, failed.

The GUB was administrated by the so-called Treuhand, a 'trust', comprising all industries, which formerly were state-owned by the German Democratic Republic, which had become a part of (West) Germany in 1991. The Treuhand tried to sell the GUB in order to retain it as a working and healthy company. However, the first try proved disastrous, when the GUB was sold to the already weak France Ebauches, which hoped to use the cheap workforce to come on its feet again. IN spite of that, France Ebauches went bankrupt, and only political assistance prevented all the machinery and the archives from being sold. Then the Treuhand itself tried to keep up production, until a better deal could be found. During that time, rather cheap watches with own and Swiss movements were made with the "Glashuette" logo on the dial. Finally, the Bavarian businessman Heinz Pfeifer purchased the desolate company together with some investors, and what was believed impossible, was achieved by him within an incredibly short time: The GUB (with its new brandname, "Glashuette Original") succeeded in securing its place among the top ranking watch companies, without any assistance from Switzerland.

Marcus

 
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Marcus Hanke
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Current (2005) UNION Glashuette list prices

July 10 2002, 2:31 AM 

Since many of you asked about the Union prices, I decided to post them here, following the current price list 1/2004. AFAIK, these prices are valid in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, despite the different sales taxes in these countries. Yet the differences are not so large that it justifies the logistic effort to handle three different prices. For those of you ordering from overseas, however, it would make sense to have an eye on these taxes. Since they will be deducted from the list prices quoted when exported outside the EU, you can gain another two or three percent discount by purchasing the watch in the state with the highest sales tax. I believe, this is currently Austria, with 20% VAT, followed by Germany with 16%.

Please note: In 2004, the Glashütter Uhrenbetrieb announced that the brand UNION would be drastically reduced in both, production and line-up of its watches, in favour of the production of Glashütte Original watches. The hugely increased demand for GO watches, especially in Asia and America, made it necessary to shift resources from UNION to GO, to meet that demand.
Contrary to some rumours spread on the web, this does not mean that the brand UNION as such is discontinued! Its status will be that of a "hibernation", with only a few watches (the simpler models) still in production, but in a small series of a few hundreds each year. From time to time, new models will be added to the line.

So here are the prices, quoting the 1-2005 price list. The models that are still in production now are quoted in bold letters.

A) Union Duerrstein edition: Nos 1 and 2 are sold out
No 3 (Tourbillon - limited to 50 pieces): 45,000 Euro

B) UNION Bergter edition (handwinding):
The Bergter series is partially sold out, some of the models can only be purchased pre-owned (especially power reserve/moonphase)

Perpetual calendar (50 pieces): 9,950 Euro
Pointer date (200 pieces): 3,050 Euro
Power reserve/moonphase (200 pcs): 3,250 Euro
Small second (200 pcs): 2,850 Euro
New in 2003:
Regulator (200 pcs): 2.950 Euro
Chronograph (200 pcs): 3.650 Euro
New in 2004:
Small Second in 18k pink gold (200 pcs): 5,300 Euro
Power reserve/moon phase, 18k pink gold: 6,100 Euro
Note: The gold Bergter models have been cancelled

C) UNION selfwinding series (unlimited):
Small second (without date): 1,890 Euro - Pilot dial: 1,790 Euro
Selfwinding with silver dial (with small date at 3): 1,670 Euro - Pilot dial: 1,570 Euro

Selfwinding silver dial(with panorama date above 6): 3,260 Euro - Pilot dial: 3,150 Euro (discontinued)
Chronograph w. silver dial (date at 12): 2,730 Euro - Pilot dial: 2,620 Euro
Power reserve (only silver dial): 2,300 Euro

Perpetual calendar (new model with panorama date): 7,990 Euro (discontinued)

GMT (discontinued model, 2002 list price): 2,430 Euro
Triple date/moonphase (discontinued model, 2001 list price): 2,530 Euro
Regulator (discontinued model, 2001 list price): 2,020 Euro
Perpetual calendar (discontinued model with pointer calendar, 2001 list price): 7,440 Euro

New in 2006: Small second with pointer date: 2.430 Euro (26-02-15-05-10)

The differences between the prices for the silver dialled and the pilot versions is due to the Louisiana leather strap of the silver dialled watches, while the Pilot versions have calfskin straps. Additionally, the pilot dial versions have tang buckles, vs. folding clasps on the Klassik and Diplomat lines

D) UNION selfwinding, limited series in 18k pink gold:
Selfwinding (with small date at 3 - 100 pieces): 3,790 Euro
Selfwinding (with panorama date - 100 pcs): 5,990 Euro
Chronograph (50 pieces): 5,580 Euro

E) UNION "Diplomat" selfwinding series, unlimited:
Small second (without date): 1,990 Euro
Selfwinding with small date at 3: 1,770 Euro

Selfwinding with panorama date above 6: 3,360 Euro (discontinued)
Chronograph w. date at 12: 2,830 Euro
Power reserve: 2,400 Euro

Perpetual calendar: 8,100 Euro (discontinued)

New in 2006: Diplomat with small second and pointer calendar: 2.540 Euro (26-02-16-05-10)

F) Steel bracelets and folding clasp:
for the Bergter handwinding (polished/brushed): 590 Euro
for the selfwinding watches (19 mm wide): 590 Euro
for chronograph and complications (20 mm wide): 590 Euro
Stainless steel twin folding clasp: 130 Euro

G) New in 2004: 111 years anniversary series, limited to 111 pcs; all with cal. 26 selfwinding movement:
Anniverary small second: 2,850 Euro
Anniversary pointer calendar: 3,050 Euro
Anniversary chronograph (without date): 3,250 Euro

I hope this listing is helpful for you.

Marcus


    
This message has been edited by mhanke on Oct 7, 2006 3:48 AM


 
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Marcus Hanke
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A Visit to the Glashuette Original Factory

July 15 2002, 11:07 AM 



    
This message has been edited by mhanke on Aug 22, 2003 4:30 AM


 
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Marcus Hanke
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What is correct: Glashütte, Glashutte, or Glashuette?

July 25 2002, 1:57 PM 

One of the peculiarities of the German language are called "Umlauts". These are standard letters a, o und u with two small points added above them: ä, ö and ü. These letters are very frequent in our language, and unfortunately it is very difficult to explain their spelling to any non-German speaker. The "ä" is quite easy, in German it is spelled as "a" (e.g. in "to hAve") is in English. Ü and ö are much more diffcult; in fact, I am not aware of any English word which could help me explaining their spelling.

For "ü", the nearest would be the quickly spoken combination of "u" and "i", but even this is rather distant from the real "ü" in German.

When writing about German companies and institutions, we encounter the problem of how to "translate" the Umlauts in their names and designations. "Glashütte" is the most important example for this forum. Since common (English) keyboards do not feature any Umlauts, one has to search for an alternative. Mostly, the Umlaut is simply replaced with the standard a, o or u, resulting in the well-known "Glashutte".

In German language, however, "u" and "ü" are spelled completely different. The "u" is spelled like "ou" in English. But there is a traditional alternative used everytime when it is impossible to use a correct Umlaut: The combination of the standard letter with an "e": ae corresponds with ä, oe with ö, and ue with ü. Grammatically correct it would therefore be to write "GlashUEtte". However, old habits die hard, and the common truncation of the Umlaut in English writings is very likely to be continued.

It might be wrong writing "GlashUtte", but it is common, and when searching on the web, this spelling will produce many results. But don't forget that many, especially German speakers, will spell it differently, "GlashUEtte" with "ue". So remember using this word, too, when searching information on the web, which will improve the search results.

Marcus

 
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Leslie P.
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Antiquorum search engine

June 18 2006, 8:19 AM 

When using the search engine in Antiquorum website, onw would have to use "Glashütte". Since I am using an English keyboard, the most strightforward solution is to copy and paste the word since I cannot type "ü". Hope this is useful information.

Regards, LP

 
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Marcus Hanke
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Movement references of Glashütte watches prior to 1985

September 18 2002, 1:36 AM 

Jean Neef in Germany has put together an excellent archive of GUB, Urofa and Lange watches produced prior to 1985. Not only are there pictures of watches and their movements, but also detailed information on the technical data and production dates and numbers. All those of you interested in the predecessors of the GO cal. 10-30 and cal. 39, will certainly like this website. You find it here:

http://www.glashuette-archiv.de

It is in German only, but this should pose no serious problem: The pics need no translation, and most of the data are self-explaining. If someone needs assistance with the translation, however, just ask me.


    
This message has been edited by mhanke on Feb 28, 2003 5:17 AM


 
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Marcus Hanke
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Thoughts on accuracy of mechanical watches, take 1

January 31 2003, 4:14 PM 

I posted this 'article' on December 20, 2001:

The adjustment of mechanical watches is a never ending story ... From the beginning you should know that all mechanical watches which are meant to be really accurate under reproducable conditions are clocks which are not "worn" by their owner but are left in one position most of the time (marine chronometers or wall regulators). The problem is that each mechanical movement is influenced by gravitation differently, depending on the movement's position in relationship to the gravitation's direction. Therefore the movement of a wristwatch will produce different accuracy rates depending on its position. The implementation of a tourbillon does not help here since it is constructed to reduce the different gravitational effects on the moving balance wheel only. When the movement itself is moved, the tourbillon's positive effect is negatively affected again.

A well adjusted wristwatch should show a performace which differs as little as possible depending on the movement's position. For its wearer, however, this might not be noticed immediately, since also bad performing watches can be highly accurate when worn on the wrist. If the watch for example loses ten seconds a day in the face up position and gains ten seconds in the face down position, it is considered a bad performing watch. In spite of this it will run perfectly accurate if it is kept twelve hours face up and another twelve hours face down, since the error neutralizes itself.

Even a perfectly adjusted wristwatch, however, will show a slightly different behaviour in different positions and it is up to its wearer to neutralize the difference by changing the position as often as possible. This is where you as the watch's owner are entering the game: If you have a sitting job at a desk or driving around a lot the watch's movements will be entirely different from those if you are a car mechanic, for instance. As a consequence one and the same watch will perform differently on different persons' wrists. This is a part of the fascination with mechanical watches: they are "calibrated" to their wearers.

If you send in a watch for adjustment now means asking the watchmakers there first to check the watch's current performance. Because of what I said before you can imagine that this again is like flying blind through night and fog. All the watchmakers can do is setting the watch on a watch mover and check its performance over at least a week (don't forget that sending the watch in a parcel subjects it to bumps and shocks which can change its accuracy dramatically; the watch needs some time to settle down to its usual behaviour). And then the watchwinder is not you, the movements it makes are perfectly regular without those variations which are inevitable in everyday's life.

Therefore it always is useful if you can set up a very detailed accuracy chart of your watch in which its daily performance is written down for at least two weeks. Additionally you should do your best to describe your everyday business during which you are wearing the watch. All this helps the watchmakers evaluating in how far the watchwinder can replicate the moving the watch has on your wrist.

After the week the watchmaker will be able to see how (in-)accurate the watch is and will open it for its first adjustment. What follows now is a delicate mix of long experience and pure trial-and-error: He tries to estimate which manipulation will be enough to assure the best accuracy. To check that makes another three to seven days on the watchwinder necessary, since each watch is reacting somewhat "offended" to the operation and needs some days until it regains a regular performance. Only in very rare cases the watchmaker will be satisfied with the result of his first adjustment and repeats the procedure several times.

You see that without the time it takes to send the watch to and from the atelier at least three to four weeks are needed for a well made adjustment. And this is calculated only for the case in which the watch does not behave erratically, which would make necessary a complete diagnosis and a long search for the troublespot. Maybe ten weeks turnover time really are a bit long, but take into accout holiday times with lack of good staff and such long times are explainable, yet not nice for you as the customer, of course.

That the watch then is not as accurate as you want it to be after you get it back again has its main reason in that the watchmaker's machinery cannot replicate you as the wearer. The watch might have been perfectly adjusted to the watch mover used in the repair shop, but you as a person behave differently and therefore your watch does so, too. And finally keep in mind that the watch again has been put into a parcel and you cannot know how it was treated on its way back to you.

The only way to get a really perfect adjustment would be to do it yourself at home ... but who of us can do it? the next best alternative would be to have a good watchmaker near your place where you can bring in the watch without having to send it in a parcel, and pick it up again when it is ready. this is what I do. My watchmaker knows me and how I wear the watch, additionally I get the watch without having to pay for adjustment after he adjusted it one or two times. Then I wear it for about two weeks, constantly checking its performance, until these data are used as a base for the final adjustment process. Only when I'm satisfied I pay for it. Of course all this lasts about two months, but it is worth the wait.

Well, I am sorry for my overlength post, but I sometimes come to think that many wearers of mechanical watches still think of them as binary computers which are either true or false. Due to their complexity and their dependence on their wearers one cannot await from them "perfect" performance from the beginning and under all circumstances.

Marcus

 
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Marcus Hanke
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Thoughts on accuracy of mechanical watches, take 2

January 31 2003, 4:17 PM 

Originally posted on January 29, 2003:

Well, mechanical watch movements are strange things: On the one hand, there is a massive effort in development and production, tolerances become computer-optimized, parts are made to narrowest specifications on CNC machines. And still there is that element of uncertainty, of inaccuracy that dwells in every complex mechanism. There are hundreds of parts that make out a watch movement, and a variation of a thousandth of a second in the movement of one part might sum up to an error of several seconds per day. This variation can be caused by a manifold of factors, which lie far from the production and assembly phases. Therefore, watch enthusiasts tend to think of their watches as organisms, each of them interacting with its wearer.

As John has already mentioned it below, even a mechanical sports watch is still a very delicate thing, compared with a G-shock, which does not feature any moving parts aside its clasp. Each bump, or shock experienced during transportation (and most watches have to travel thousands of miles from the factory to their final destination) can introduce a variation like that I mentioned above. Additionally, like most car enginges need a certain period during which they do not reach their full capability, a watch movement has to run for several weeks, even months, until all the lubricants have dispersed evenly, and the accuracy settles down to a certain value. Moreover, watch movements will eventually react to their surrounding conditions: A watch worn by somebody who frequently is working hard in high temperatures, will show other accuracy values as one worn by somebody who misuses a computer keyboard in an airconditioned office all day, even if both watches had been regulated to the exactly same values at the factory.

This is the reason why every serious dealer is not only selling a mechanical watch, but normally offers to regulate it (mostly for free) after a certain period. When I bought my watches, most dealers did not say simply "Good bye", but they said "We'll meet for regulation in some weeks". Not one of them did guarantee to me that the watches sold would be highly accurate already from the beginning, and I must say that only a few of my watches were accurate enough, regardless of their manufacturers. After about a month, I brought them back to my watchmaker, who regulated them. And this was also a lengthy procedure: Based on the performance values I had written down, he adjusted the watch. Normally, watches react 'insulted' to such a procedure, which means, that during the first two or three days after the adjustement, their accuracy is going mad, until it settles. Only then the watchmaker can evaluate if his adjustement has been enough or not. Often, this has to be repeated several times, resulting in at least a week, before I can pick up my watch again. And even then, the regulation is not absolute, since it is based on the watch's performance on a winding machine. This is very different from my own wrist. In one instance, a friend of mine, who is a very good watchmaker, really try to make the perfect adjustement for me. In three weeks, he regulated a chronometer so that it gained less than three seconds within a complete week. On the winder, of course. As soon as I had it in everyday use on my wrist, it gained two seconds per day, that are fourteen seconds per week. Once again it is proved that a 'laboratory' can never simulate real life.

After some years of being an accuracy fanatic, writing long performance lists of all my watches, under changing conditions (summer, winter, humid climate etc.), I have become a lot more pragmatic now. For me, the limit of my error tolerance is a minute per week. Everytime my watch is wrong by a minute, I reset it. If this happens more than once a week, I have it regulated (or serviced, if necessary). Sometimes, this is necessary following a slight mishap: After a chronometer, which was very accurate until that day, fell on the floor, it lost eight seconds per day. My watchmaker checked it for damage and adjusted it, now it is gaining three seconds per day.

Finally, the wearer of a mechanical watch should always be aware of the fact that accuracy is but a fluent state. Lubricants wear out, shocks, humidity and magnetism can affect the movement. All this can make the accuracy change over time. Sometimes a watch performs differently after it has been lying in the drawer for a longer period. Personally, I found that the famous high-beat El Primero movement by Zenith is such a movement: Similar to a sophisticated sportscar, which has to be moved on a regular base, this watch wants to be worn often. Otherwise it answers with a different accuracy value every time I wear it after a period of unfunctionality.

Please excuse this long referate, all I tried to explain is that mechanical movements are different. In spite of their high prices, a customer normally does not get some kind of "out-of-the-box-performance", as in a DVD player. The watch has to be tweaked and adapted to its owner, and this is the reason why we are so fascinated by them. They are much more personal than most other belongings, because as soon as we strap them to our wrist, we make it a part of our physis, bringing their mechanism into a 'resonance' with our body and our life.

Therefore, a mechanical watch that is not highly accurate out of the box is something normal, regardless of its brand and price. Adapting it to your personality as its wearer is part of the acquiring - and part of the fun using it.

I hope I could express myself in a somewhat intelligible manner ...

Marcus

 
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Marcus Hanke
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GO novelties, presented at Basel 2003

June 18 2003, 1:03 AM 

In Basel 2003, GO presented its new PanoMatic-series, equipped with the stunning cal. 90 movement. Here is my account on the watches:




Click here to read all about it.




Marcus

 
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Marcus Hanke
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Operating instructions for GO Senator perpetual and UNION Perpetual Panorama

August 25 2003, 3:20 PM 

I quickly copied this from the manual of the Union Perpetual. With the exception of the calendar subdials and hands, that are used instead of the windows, the mechanics are the same.



Hope this helps.
Marcus

 
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Marcus Hanke
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UNION 2003 novelties: Bergter Regulator and Chronograph, Diplomat series

September 1 2003, 6:42 AM 


 
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Marcus Hanke
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October 2003: The newly rebuilt GO factory

October 31 2003, 3:18 AM 

After 13 months of massive works and large investments, the complete reconstruction of the GO factory is finished:




Please click here to read all about it.



Best regards,
Marcus

 
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Marcus Hanke
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"Concentration" - a brief pictorial on watch manufacturing at Glashütte Original

October 31 2003, 3:20 AM 

During our PuristS visit to GO, I also shot a few pics on conventional film. Thus, to shorten your wait for the complete visit write-up, I put together this small pictorial, without any words, just pics. Hope you like them!



Click here to access the pictorial

 
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Marcus Hanke
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SuitbertW on the tradition of 3/4 plates

December 2 2003, 8:55 AM 

nNowadays the 3/4 plate seems to be used more and more for marketing and some try (successfully) to create a symbol of German watch making. I think this layout was used all over the world and e.g. English movements are typically very closed to 3/4 too.
And in my opinion there is a technical reason for this solution and it's not "only" tradition.
To understand the reasons, why the German and especially the Glashütte watchmakers choose this layout, one has to understand the typical German approach to technical solutions: reliability, and "bullet-proof" dimensions of all components are priority (at least in former times).
This said, you may imagine, that there are very few German-made movements, which could be told "flat" or "delicate" in the sense of the fascinating fragile and very "dressy" movements the Swiss already made at the same time.
The typical German PW movement was a real big and heavy one.
Just to have an impression of some PW movements, there you see a typical English, a "Glashütte-style" and a Swiss bridge-type (typical LeCoultre style):




One reason for the 3/4 plate is more obvious if you have a look at the “anatomy” of a bridge –plate combination on a classical bridge-movement:



Any of the bridges and cocks needs at least two of these "fixing-pins" to make sure that the part is in the precise and correct place.
Having a lot of single bridges/cocks means a lot of holes, to be drilled with the best possible precision.





The 3/4 layout is amazingly simple, just a few pillars (in this case it's the English movemment) with a small step at the end resting in the hole for the plate screws. Simple, reliable and precision is achieved much easier. The bearings for the complete gear train are combined under one plate.
If built precise, it will stay precise for the whole life.
The beauty of the plain, seemingly "simple" 3/4 plate with it's mostly frosted guild finish, is perhaps a little more subtle,.... but I really love it.
If there are typical national characteristics (I think yes), they are much more found in technical details and the realtion of the dimensions (IMHO)-and,....lots of these characteristics are lost in the last, maybe 40, years.


SuitbertW

 
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Marcus Hanke
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Relationship between GLASHÜTTE ORIGINAL and UNION GLASHÜTTE

December 14 2003, 5:04 AM 

In strict terms, Glashuette Original is not a company, but a brand. The company's name still is "Glashuetter Uhren-Betrieb" or GUB, and this company owns the brandname GO. UNION Glashuette is not only a brandname, but also a company, which is a 100% subsidiary of the GUB. However, Union does not have a company-owned production facility. Its headquarter located in the GUB building at Glashuette, Union assigns the production of its movements to GUB (all this is from a strict organisatorial point of view). While Union has an own staff, this is not numerous. AFAIK the conceptionof marketing is done in the same office for both brands, GO and Union. However, since recently two different PR agencies have been assigned for the advertising campaigns, because the two brands had been portraied too similar.

The suppliers for dials, hands, cases, straps etc. are the same for both brands, as are the production machineries by which the movement parts are made. Differences between GO and Union movements are present, since the very expensive production phases are altered for the Union movements. While a GO movement is decorated entirely by hand, Union movements are machine-decorated. The expensive parts of the fine-adjustment mechanisms on GO movements, which need a high amount of manual work done (swan-neck adjustment, for example), are also 'denied' from the cheaper Union movements.

Of course it is a matter of synergy, that GO and Union movements are very similar in their layout. Generally, one can say that no Union movement has been developed completely independent from any GO movement. As a rule, sooner or later, most GO movements will be also used in Union watches, albeit in a somewhat simplified form.

This leads me to the very evident question of similarities with the Rolex/Tudor brands. Well, I think that GO/Union differs from that in more ways than they are similar. At least until very recently, Tudor watches did not have an individual styling, they were - to express it drastically - but cheaper 'in-house copies' of the popular, but expensive Rolex watches. The idea behind this was to give Rolex fans, who did not have enough money for the original, the opportunity to buy a very similar watch, made by the original's manufacturer. Before buying a cheap knock-off fake, the customer here could buy a very weel made product and gain from Rolex' experience and quality.

Union is something different: The customer group ideally attracted by it, should not be those interested in GOs, who cannot afford them. Union tries to reach those who want to buy one or maybe two 'good' watches in his life. These people normally enter a watch shop and are ready to spend an amount of about one month's salary on a watch they expect to last throughout their life. Until now these customers bought Omegas or IWCs, but now Union wants to become a serious alternative for those. This might sound strange to watch fans around the world, who are used to look at Switzerland for good watches. But the element of national pride should never be underestimated. It is no wonder why German watchbrands are over-represented in each election organized by German watch magazines, like the "Watch of the Year", or the "Golden Balance". The term "Made in Germany" still has a very attracting sound to it in Germany and Austria, and the experiences local dealers made, show that an IWC Mark XV very often looses when customers see the Union Navigator beside it. Not because the Union is the better watch, but because it is made in Germany.

But also from a more technical point of view, GO/Union differ from Rolex/Tudor. Rolex withholds its most important asset from Tudor: its movements, leaving Tudor supplied with ETA mass-produced movements. Union watches have their own in-house movements, derivates from GO movements, but still inhouse, which is a very important sales argument (in Germany and Austria, other German watch brands like Chronoswiss, Muehle, Sinn etc. still are 'stigmatized' because of their Swiss movements). Additionally, the Union line includes complications, which are not available in GO cases: Regulator, full calendar, GMT (however, the first two are discontiued, which I personally regret).

 
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Marcus Hanke
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Account on the PuristS' trip to Glashütte, October 2003

February 9 2004, 9:55 AM 


 
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Marcus Hanke
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Presentation of the Union 2004 novelties

March 2 2004, 6:40 AM 


 
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Marcus Hanke
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GO 2004 novelties

June 10 2004, 2:49 PM 

How are traditions found? I think it is clear that if something is done once, this can hardly called a tradition. But is it enough to do it twice? Or must the practice have a continuity for more than a generation, even a century?

Last year, at the 2003 Basel show, Glashütte Original invited the PuristS for an exclusive presentation of the novelties for the first time. This year, this kind invitation was repeated, and I hope that historians among our readers will forgive me if I hereby define this second event as the founding of a “tradition”.

Once again, Dr. Müller and his team dedicated a lot of time and effort to make this an unforgettable afternoon for the PuristS. After expressing his warm welcome, Dr. Müller introduced this year's highlight of the new collection, the PanoMaticChrono. A more detailed peek review of this marvel has already been published earlier, and can be accessed here:



Please click here to read about the new PanoMaticChrono


The other novelties shown consisted of decent dial variants, which made the classic Senator and Karree series even more attractive to the current taste. For me, personally, this was a small triumph, since I had been bitching for new dial colours for some years already. Now, Dr. Müller showed us a breathtakingly attractive combination of a pink gold Senator with a grey dial.


Senator Panorama Moon, pink gold


Apparently, grey dials are very popular this year, and not only GO, but other prime brands, such as Patek, Ulysse Nardin, Jaeger le Coultre, and even Philippe Dufour with his "Simplicity" presented grey dial watches. The reason is quite clear: With steel or white gold cases, the classic silver or white dial looks a bit sober, some could even say, a bit boring. Black dials, on the other hand, are very sportive, and also ubiquitous now. With pink or yellow gold, however, black dials massively underline the gold, due to the contrast. What looks very attractive to one, is already flashy to the other. Consequently, a grey dial is the perfect compromise, smoothly complementing pink gold cases, while preventing steel or white gold watches from looking too elegant and stealthy.


Senator Perpetual, stainless steel


The grey dial variant will be available in summer, for all Senator variants (perpetual, panorama moon, panorama, power reserve, chronograph) and for steel and gold cases.

Another striking sight was a Senator perpetual, featuring a wonderful metallic blue dial. However, this one is exclusively available in a limited edition with platinum cases, sorry.


Left: Limited edition platinum Senator perpetual with blue galvanized dial; middle: pink gold PanoRetroGraph, with black/silver dial; right: pink gold Senator perpetual with grey dial


There were other prototypes shown by Dr. Müller, one of them with a salmon dial, similar to those of the early 1845 series. Yet since it was uncertain if this one would ever enter production, he asked us not to take pictures of it, and of course we complied.

The (unlimited) PanoRetroGraph in pink gold is now available with the beautiful black/silver dial, that originally was only used by the limited platinum PanoGraph.




Finally, I was happy to see that also the Karree series received a cosmetic upgrade, which proved that there were no intentions to discontinue this beautiful line.

The Karree perpetual sported a two-tone grey dial, while the hand winding 1845 Karree had a beautiful black and white dial, with silver subdial for the small second, and silver Breguet numerals - absolutely stunning!


Automatic Karree Perpetual with two-tone grey dial



Handwinding 1845 Karree small second, with black/white dial


Afterwards, Dr. Müller made it clear that he took the new tradition very serious: Just as last year, he invited us for a wonderful dinner in one of Basel's best restaurant, the "Charon". Together with some colleagues from other online fora, we had the whole restaurant for ourselves, since it had been exclusively reserved for Glashütte Original on that evening. As you can imagine, the conversation was very busy, and it was difficult to stop talking long enough in order to appreciate the first class menu, which was accompanied by a most excellent selection of fine wines.





During the dinner, we were also entertained by a young magician, who performed his absolutely astonishing tricks at our tables. When some of us had a short break outside the restaurant, just to breath some fresh air, he showed us several of his card tricks. And even if we did everything to come behind the secrets, we did not succeed. Thank God, however, the nice watches shown before had not been tricks, they were all very real - and wonderful.





We are looking forward to continue this newly started tradition next year, and express our sincerest thanks to Dr. Müller and his great team, for their time and hospitality.

Marcus


    
This message has been edited by mhanke on Sep 21, 2004 11:10 AM


 
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