Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer was a watch which first saw light of day in Baselworld 2009 with two versions – white and rose gold, both with silver dials. For Baselworld 2016, to showcase the manufacture’s dial factory in Pforzheim, they announced another white gold version with a gorgeous blue in-house manufactured dial.
Essential reading: Our Baselworld 2016 announcement of the Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer.
Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer
Case, dial hands
The dial is the highlight for us. The hue is magnificent. The blue is nuanced, balanced, and while not brilliant (in hue) it is gorgeous, and unmistakable and understated.
The dial is quite elaborate to manufacture. Made in GO’s own dial manufactory in Pforzheim, the dial is a massive sterling silver plate, machined into a totally flat surface. The surface is given a frosted finish with a technique called blue grainé. Then layers of lacquer is applied to achieve the precise shade and texture. The white railroad chapter ring, the indexes and numerals are finely engraved and galvanized in silver.
Of note is the big date display. Unlike their next door neighbor at Altenberger Straße, the GO date’s double digits are on the same level. This arose from their own design in the 1960s, where the manufacture made utilitarian watches under the brand name Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe (GUB) and was not patented as they were under the cover of the Iron Curtain till the fall of the wall in 1989. Lange’s Outsized Date is drawn from a patent by Jaeger LeCoultre.
The hands are also very beautifully designed. Long, slim, and in a style which is called poire (pear) the hands are made of white gold and polished, and appear very elegant and provides a nice contrast over the deep blue dial. Visibility in the dark is compromised as a trade off to their elegance, as there is no opportunity to apply a SuperLuminova paint on them while retaining the beauty.
The case is classical GO Senator, with soldered lugs, and nicely polished. The visual aesthetic of the case is teutonic, and strong, and is in harmony with the design of the dial and hands. Very handsome.
The movement: Kaliber 58-01
The movement is de rigueur GO style. Three quarter plate with what they call Glashütte ribbing – similar to Côtes de Genève. Gold chatons held by blued screws. Nicely done anglage on the edges of the 3/4 plate and a black polished steel plate holding the jewel of the fifth wheel, right up to the hand engraved balanced cock. The balance is traditional in the sense that GO has elected to use a screw balance instead of the more modern adjustable inertia ones.
The Kaliber 58-01 has an unique feature which is very useful. When the crown is pulled, the balance is hacked and the watch stops. The time display stops and the seconds hand is reset to zero and held there. At the same time, the minute hand jumps ahead to the next full minute index. With each click on the crown as one turns the crown to set the time, the minute hands moves in one minute increment. A clever system which ensures that the correct relationship between seconds and minutes is maintained. Not new, as the Kaliber 58-01 was introduced by GO in 2009, but brilliant. And still unique.
In terms of competition, the closest might perhaps be from its physical neighbor, literally the next building down the Altenberger Straße. The A. Lange & Söhne ReferenzUhr (US$55,000 in pink gold, Limited Edition of 75 pieces, since sold out. at current exchange approximately S$74,500), while not a certified chronometer, we think it certainly would qualify if sent for certification. The ReferenzUhr also features a zero reset feature. But the implementation is different. The seconds hand can be reset to zero by pressing the button located on the case edge at the 2 o’clock position. This allows the watch to be easily synchronized to a accurate & precise time instrument. Once the button is pressed down the seconds hand resets to zero, while the button is pressed down the hand will hold the zero position, only restarting upon release of the button. But the ReferenzUhr lacks the brilliant jumping minute hand during time setting which is unique to the GO Senator Chronometer. However, the finishing on the Lange C.033.1 is finished to a higher level than the Kaliber 58-01.
Another chronometer which comes to mind is the Chopard Qualité Fleurier Chronometer (€14,880.00 in rose gold, approx S$23,000 today) or the Parmigiani Tonda 39 Qualité Fleurier (US$20,500 in rose gold, approximately S$28,000 today). Both not current models offered by the respective houses, so the historical retail prices indicated may not be applicable. Both are certified to the arguably higher standard specified by Qualité Fleurier. But neither has zero reset or the unique jumping minute hand.
Competitively, the Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer stands on its own, with its unique, and very useful jumping minute hand when resetting the time. Its such a simple idea, yet brilliant. And yet, nobody else have thought of it. The dial is also made in-house in its own facilities, and other than Parmigiani (Quadrance at Habillage makes their dials, and is part of Parmiagini Fleurier), none of the others make their own dials.
A fine watch, worthy of a chronometer label. The German Calibration Service (DSK) certifies each watch under real world conditions to meet chronometer specifications, which are generally +6/-4 seconds a day. But accuracy of a watch is only one aspect. The Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer exudes a quiet beauty. The magnificent blue dial speaks to the viewer, as if to entice and seduce. The harmony of the dial, the hands and the case is well executed. The movement is beautiful in itself, and nicely finished. This is a nice watch.
Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer Technical Specifications
Case: Ø 42mm
Height: 12,47 mm
Material: 18 ct white gold
Strap: 21/18 mm
Waterproof up to: 5 bar
Glass: sapphire crystal, both sides anti-reflective
Bottom: sapphire crystal
Dial: Ø display 36.8 mm, varnish blue-grainé with laser engraved silver Roman/Arabic numerals/railroad chapter
Hands: white gold
Dimensions: Ø 35 mm, height 6.67 mm
Balance: screw balance with 18 screws
Oscillating frequency: 28,800 vph, equivalent to 4 Hz
Running time : 44 hours 40 minutes
Balance spring: Anachron
Shock protection: Incabloc
Jewels: 58 jewel bearings
Manual winding, central hour/minute, o -centre second, stop-second/reset mechanism
with minute detent, Panorama Date, Running time indicator, day/night indicator,
exquisitely nished movement, bevelled/polished edges, polished steel parts, polished/
blued screws, Glashütte three-quarter plate with Glashütte stripe nish, Swan-neck ne
Basic complications are exquisitely re engineered for the utmost precision and ease of use. The best of the breed.