Glashutte Original just unveiled a new novelty for 2023 called the PanoInverse Limited Edition.
Let’s try that again: Glashutte Original introduced a new novelty for 2023 called the PanoInverse Cityscape; or the PanoInverse City Dweller. I could have even settled for a ubiquitous “Master” in the name: PanoInverse City-Master II. But no, they went with none of those monikers.
It’s just called the PanoInverse Limited Edition (ref: 1-66-12-01-03-62).
If you think the name is drab, wait until you get a load of the story. Spoiler alert: there is no story.
It costs $46,700 USD for a laser etched 3D fake city on your wrist, and they are only making 50 of ’em. That’s the story.
At least they borrowed some pink and blue lighting effects from Tissot. Both Swatch Group, so they didn’t have to go far.
As with the original PanoInverse, the case is 42mm and 11.4mm thick. It comes on a grey Louisiana Alligator nubuk leather strap – the same strap on the regular model. The lug-width is 21mm if you prefer a different color, or something vegan. 21mm? Scratch that. Good luck finding the perfect strap in that pesky size.
The star of this show is the face and backside, which is basically the same thing for this piece. The rhodium plated cityscape is laser engraved into the plates of the movement, with exposed ruby-red jewels and blued screws. It’s fitting that the watch was announced a few days into spring, because it contains a few hidden Easter eggs. Read all about the GO caliber 66-12 here to find out what they are.
Aside from the artwork, the base caliber is a work of art itself. The German made GO-66 is not your everyday movement. The display is unconventional with an offset main time subdial; small seconds below that; and a sweeping power reserve indicator to the upper right.
The “Inverse” in the name comes from the way the balance wheel and double swan neck regulators are visible from the dial side, making for a truly unique layout.
As for the city, or the story behind it… it’s just an image of a city. A city that only exists in the PanoInverse Limited Edition.
As an artist, I think the way they used the top and bottom of the movement as a canvas is super cool! I am always excited to see watches exploring more artistic forms of expression. I really like the design and the way they executed it!
But the watch and the launch lacks a story. There seems to be no mention of the artist or the design team that came up with the concept. If there is, they really buried it, and none of the other blogs appear to have dug deeper and asked GO any interesting questions.
There is nothing presented on Glashutte Original’s product page explaining the meaning behind the design. Why a city? What does it have to do with the PanoInverse or Glashutte Original?
After looking past the cool factor and initial stimulation from seeing matching artwork through both crystals, it started to feel like a gimmick. That’s an overused word these days, but it describes much of how the watch industry tends to handle creative endeavors like this.
Sure, watch brands are typically protective of their designers (seeking ownership and control, which makes sense for managing business and competition, etc.), so collectors rarely get to know who the designers are or the ideas behind their work. But having an actual artistic design incorporated into a watch without knowing about the creator or the creative process just doesn’t feel right.
This is about feeling after all, isn’t it? Yet, it was delivered so cold.
Ultimately, GO failed to make the 66-12 and PanoInverse LE into something more than just a $45K watch for 50 privileged people around the world.
The inflated price is mostly due to the platinum case.
Maybe they weren’t confident enough in the design that they had to overcompensate with precious metal. The steel non-city dial version with the same base movement can be had for $10,900 – and that’s if you’re walking into an AD paying full price.
The video for the new piece received a lot of negative comments on Instagram (here and here). Perhaps YouTubers wouldn’t have been as bad, but GO turned the comments off so we’ll never know.
I happened to enjoy the video and was ready for whatever storyline they could muster up. In my opinion, the haters on IG just didn’t get it. The guy is in the city that is in the watch.
Maybe I’ve worked in the watch industry for too long and being a creator at my core, I’m just desperate for ways to connect imagination and creativity to these objects that I handle every day.