Monday, September 21

BaselWorld 2014: Belles of the Fair: Glashutte Original Senator Chronograph Panorama Date

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Glashutte Original is one of the few true manufactures in the business. Making watches, quietly in Glashütte, sometimes under the shadow of their more illustrious neighbour. But they are a real and full watchmaking house on their own right. This Basel, their new Chronograph caught our eye.

 

Glashütte Original Senator Chronograph Panorama Date. Well balanced dial design, clear, legible.

Glashütte Original Senator Chronograph Panorama Date. Well balanced dial design, clear, legible.

 

The brand has had many technical interesting and well executed movements in the past, but for some reason, they do not always get the design right. We cannot fully put our finger on it, but some of their pieces does not feel right. But not this watch…other than the long name, the watch is beautifully designed. They got this one right. Everything from the dial layout, the choice of roman numerals, the beautifully blued steel hands, to the case shape and narrow bezel and the crown and pushers look and feel right. Everything just falls in place. Beautiful.

In particular, the dial is very nicely done.

 

Glashütte Original Senator Chronograph Panorama Date dial detail.

Glashütte Original Senator Chronograph Panorama Date dial detail of the platinum cased watch.

 

The watch is available with two dials. In a red gold case, it features a lacquered silver grey dial. And for the platinum version shown above, with a massive gold dial, with the markings laser engraved and filled with black and the dial silver plated in a process known as “silver plating by friction”. The dial is polished by hand with a fine silver polished till the silver is absorbed into the dial, and gives the dial a beautiful textured finish.

 

The movement is quite standard Glashütte Original.

 

GO Caliber 37-01 column wheel flyback chronograph with big date. Automatic movement, power reserve of 70 hours, 4 Hz.

GO Caliber 37-01 column wheel flyback chronograph with big date. Automatic movement, power reserve of 70 hours, 4 Hz. The column wheel, partly hidden by the rotor in the photograph, is a simplified design, with fewer working parts.

 

The bi directional rotor runs on ball bearings, providing 70 hours of autonomy on a single barrel. The classical, and beautiful swan neck adjustment system is fitted, although regulation is performed with 4 screws on the balance wheel.

 

 

Movement finish is top drawer. Beautiful lines of the bridges, each meticulously anglaged and polished.

Movement finish is quite adequate, as can be seen in the photograph, but the house seem to hold back on the last bit. Note the edge of the large plate just below the rotor. Traditionally, good finish would demand the edge to be anglaged, and the anglaged edges polished. But as is visible on the photograph, the anglage is a mere chamfer of the bridge edge, with no additional polishing done to the chamfered edge. This leaves a sharp, perhaps raw edge which is visible. In contrast see the three openings on the bridge, two round, and one kidney shaped. All 3 have nicely polished anglage or countersinking.
Note also the simplified lever and spring which engages with the column wheel, visible here between the rotor’s ball bearing attachment and the balance. We feel, that this simplified design lack of elegance in these levers as compared to a classical chronograph system.

 

As mentioned in the caption, the finishing is adequate, but lacks the final bits to be magnificent. We are not sure why Glashütte Original chose to do that, as in other parts of the movement, it is clear that they posses the ability to do the finssage to a high level.

 

Glashütte Original Senator Chronograph Panorama Date. 42mm case. Fits nicely.

Glashütte Original Senator Chronograph Panorama Date. 42mm case. Fits nicely.

 

We are a bit at odds with this watch. The visual design is so appealing. The dial so magnificent. The case, the crown and pushers so elegant. The movement itself is nicely designed, but we do not understand the need to simplify the column wheel arrangement. The resulting levers and springs which activate and are activated by the column wheel loses the classical beauty, reduced to plain pieces of steel. And the holding back on the final finishing perplexes us. What do you think?

 

 

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