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Review: Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer

Hands-on analysis, comparisons, and high resolution live photographs.
by  on April 18, 2016
Overview
Brand

Glashütte Original

Complication / Type of Watch

Senator Chronometer in white gold with a blue dial.

Recommended Retail Price

S$50,000 incl Singapore GST.

Positives

Innovative movement: the ability to precisely set the time to the minute when the crown is pulled is a simple, yet unique feature.

Beautiful blue dial.

Negatives

Not a new watch. Two earlier versions in white gold and rose gold with silver dials had the same movement Kaliber 58-01.

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Concept & Originality
Movement
Overall Finishing
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Future Outlook
Bottom Line

Superb offering by Glashütte Original, showcasing the manufacture's savoir faire in design, manufacturing and high end finishing. Beautiful. Functional. And certified accurate.

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Review of the Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer.

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

 

 

Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer in white gold and the magnificent and gorgeous blue dial.

Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer in white gold and the magnificent and gorgeous blue dial.

 

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.

 

Dial Detail on the Senator Chronometer. The dark tone is finely grained and laquered, and appears velvety in texture. The dial catches the light at different angles, and appear quite beautiful.

Dial detail on the Senator Chronometer. The dark tone is finely grained and laquered, and appears velvety in texture. The dial catches the light at different angles, and appear quite beautiful.

 

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.

 

GO Senator Chronometer in white gold and blue dial.

GO Senator Chronometer in white gold and blue dial.

 

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 large double date display which shows both digits on the same level.

The large double date display which shows both digits on the same level.

 

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 of the GO Senator Chronometer is teutonic and strong in character.

The case of the GO Senator Chronometer is teutonic and strong in character.

 

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

 

GO Kaliber 58-01. handwound with a 3/4 plate movement.

GO Kaliber 58-01. handwound with a 3/4 plate movement.

 

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.

 

Balance wheel of the Kaliber 58-01.

Balance wheel of the Kaliber 58-01.

 

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.

 

Competitive Landscape

 

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.

 

Concluding Thoughts

 

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.

 

On the wrist, it remains elegant.

On the wrist, it remains elegant. In this example, the blue dial complementing very beautifully with the Gingham Check on the author’s bespoke shirt and the JJ Minnis flannel coat.

 

 

 

Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer Technical Specifications

 

REF. 1-58-01-05-34-30
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

Kaliber 58-01

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
Additional details:
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
adjustment

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2 Comments
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  • Michael
    April 19, 2016 at 1:45 pm
    Positives

    Drop dead gorgeous dial, zero set seconds & jump minutes, & quick set single plane grand date all through the crown, no additional pushers to mar the case profile

    Negatives

    Case may be a bit large for smaller wrists

    Rating
    Concept & Originality
    Movement
    Overall Finishing
    Price Performance / Value
    Future Outlook

    Basic complications are exquisitely re engineered for the utmost precision and ease of use. The best of the breed.

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