Innovation at the heart of watches’ ‘butterflies’

The innovative PanoInverse watch is celebrating its 10-year anniversary.

In 2008, Glashütte Original staged a premiere for a very special element of its horological art. The PanoInverse XL unveiled its inner beauty, presenting the duplex swan-neck fine adjustment as an exceptional element on the dial side of the watch. Today, two Pano models in particular represent a remarkable success story that began in 2008 with the PanoInverse XL.

The beauty of a watch from Glashütte Original has many facets: the timeless and stylish design, the precious materials, and the complications that enrich everyday life with their visual and technical sophistication. But what is most obvious is by no means the only reason a mechanical watch is so fascinating. Above all there is the exquisitely finished movement housed within the timepiece.

In 2008, the elaborately engraved balance bridge with its fine adjustment mechanism was presented for the first time on the dial side of a watch. This was made possible by the inverse arrangement of components that would normally be visible only through the sapphire crystal case back.

The off-centre design of the Pano collection gives well-deserved pride of place to the duplex swan-neck fine adjustment, the manufactory’s own innovation. After all, the device enables exceptionally precise adjustment of the watch’s rate and centring of the oscillation system.

The obvious beauty of this perfectly realised functional element had inspired the engineers and designers to undertake a thorough re-design of the manual winding movement 66: they laid out the movement in such a way as to make the ‘butterfly’, as the duplex swan-neck fine adjustment is also known, the centre of attention on the dial.

To turn this idea into reality it was necessary to rework the design at a number of places in the movement, and to develop new components and subassemblies. As a result, of these new developments, all three plates, as well as the wheel train assemblies for the movement and power reserve, had to be reworked and adapted to the new configuration.

This impressive back-to-front reversal proved an enormous success – and at Glashütte Original in the years to follow, the hidden inner beauty of its movements was repeatedly transformed into visible beauty.

The debut versions of the PanoInverse XL in white and rose gold were joined in 2010 by an elegant companion in stainless steel. Its galvanic anthracite three-quarter plate and butterfly bridge served as an especially splendid stage for the filigreed regulation system with its golden screw balance.

A further two models followed, once again after two years, each equipped with a larger, 42- mm case and spacious dials. While the red gold version with blued steel hands was limited to 200 pieces, the PanoInverse in stainless steel with black dial ring, launched in 2012, continues today to offer fascinating views of its 66-06 manual winding movement.

Glashütte Original took the idea even further and in 2014 presented the PanoMaticInverse, whose newly developed 91-02 automatic movement features a 42-hour power reserve. Here, too, a 42-mm case frames the off-centre display of hours, minutes and seconds.

The elegance of the PanoMaticInverse is unmistakable: blued screws and ruby bearings on the rhodium-plated three-quarter plate with Glashütte stripes, blued-steel hands with luminous coating, the elegant Panorama Date and, of course, the perfectly realised duplex swan-neck fine adjustment. The automatic manufactory movement’s screw balance is easily admired as it oscillates beneath the artfully engraved balance bridge, its rhythmic, pulsing movement resembling a beating heart.