Glashütte Original is synonym with magnificent finishes, recognisable designs and desirable timepieces. The launch, in 2014 of the in-house column-wheel chronograph movement 37-01 was a big step in a very competitive market. This year at Baselworld, Glashütte Original introduced a new case for the Calibre 37-01, in steel. Is the new case just a variation? Or is this an imperative trend for steel watches Glashütte Original Senator Chronograph Panorama Date is silently following?
Agony and ecstasy in a tumultuous Glashütte history
In 1843, Ferdinand Adolph Lange convinced the Royal Saxon government to approve and support the opening of the watch manufacture and watchmaking school in the German silver mining city of Glashütte. Two years later, in 1845, he settled there and opened the first atelier. Soon, an entire horological industry started to develop in the area. The watches produced in Glashütte had high quality and they enjoyed very good reputation, winning international prizes. Starting with 1888, Glashütte swan-neck regulator was used for efficient regulation.
A particular history page was written in 1921, when Alfred Helwig developed the flying tourbillon.
The agony started in the times of the Second World War when the city and the factories were under heavy bombardments. After the war, the watch manufacturer struggled to survive. The split of Germany and closed borders forced the new formed GUB, VEB Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe, to use only in-house components. The hard times didn’t stop the brand’s survival or the innovations.
After Germany’s reunification, the things started to get better for the company. In 1994, after GUB’s privatisation, the brand took the official name of Glashütte Original.
In 2000, Swatch Group acquired Glashütte Original and in 2001 the Glashütte Original Alfred Helwig School of Watchmaking opened.
Review: Glashütte Original Senator Chronograph Panorama Date
The newest watch of the German brand was released this year at Baselworld. The Senator Chronograph Panorama Date comes in a sporty look with a steel case and a new black dial. The watch comes from a line of rose gold and platinum timepieces, but with a significantly lower price.
The case, dial and hands
The chronograph comes in a 42mm diameter case with a thickness of 14.6mm. The steel case size is suitable for a sport watch, but somehow big for a dress watch. Why are we talking about a dress watch? Despite the “big” size and the fact that this timepiece is a chronograph, the elegant finishes and the look make it acceptable for any situation. The mixture of satin-brushed sides and polished top and bezel is exquisite. The simple-lined case with precise angles and 21mm lugs opening make the entire look balanced, minimizing the real dimensions of the watch visually.
Another touch of refinement is the oval shape of the polished chrono-pushers. The screwed-down crown is adorned with the brand’s logo on the highly polished background. The decision to use the screwed crown proves the sport oriented character and doubles the case water resistance to 100m (the previous models have only 50mm of water resistance).
The strap choice is generous. The Chronograph Panorama Date comes with a black leather strap with matching light blue stitching. The combination is amazing and completes the good appearance of this timepiece. Another variant is a black rubber strap. It is possible to opt for a metal bracelet, that will increase the overall price.
The back case with see-through crystal reveals the beauty of the Calibre 37. Both sapphire crystals, on top and bottom, have a double sided anti-reflexive treatment that increases the visibility in all the conditions.
The new dial comes in black with some changes. The hours’ indication uses only two Roman numerals for 12 and 6 o’clock. The rest of the dial is covered with indexes. The numerals and the indexes use a generous amount of radiant blue Super LumiNova. Even on the graded seconds’ scale, it is used for every five seconds a squared luminescent dot that increases the dial’s appealing. The scale, the inscriptions and the Arabic numerals printing are executed in white. The visibility is extraordinary in any light conditions. The fine scale permits a 1/5 of a second’s readout.
The watch uses white gold hands. The contrast between the deep black and the shiny gold is spectacular. The hour and minutes hands are luminescent filled. The chrono seconds’ hand has the Glashütte Original logo and has a LumiNova treatment. In this way, the chronograph can be used regardless of light conditions.
The blue shade of Super LumiNova removes any trace of monotony on the watch’s face and makes it more interesting.
The Panorama Date with the two discs placed at the same level offers an excellent visibility. To this also contributes the position. Placed centrally in the lower part of the dial, the date window balances the chrono’s hours sub-dial.
The dial is so proportionally and symmetrically designed that the power reserve indication on the small seconds’ sub-dial does not disrupt the overall look on the dial. The charismatic complication is easy to spot and it is a nice touch.
The movement: GO Calibre 37-01
The movement powering this watch was launched in 2014. An in-house column-wheel, automatic fly back 12 hours chronograph is a strong achievement. The self-winding movement adheres to everything that Glashütte Original stands for: performance and beauty. The superb layout is fully visible in every detail and the functionality of the chronograph’s parts can be easily observed.
The Calibre 37-01 has the skeletonized rotor with 21k gold oscillation weight. The beauty of the bicolour materials is emphasised by the flame-blued screws. The Cotes du Genève finishes are present on the rotor and the bridges. The finish is completed by bevelled and polished edges.
The movement uses a 4Hz balance wheel equipped with four 14k gold regulation screws mounted on the balance’s rim. Further adjustments are realised with the help of the swan neck spring. The balance uses an Anachron spring and is protected by an Incablock shock absorber.
Amazing is the 70 hours of power reserve (offered with a precision of ±5%) obtained using a single barrel. Everything is realised in a relatively small dimension movement of 31.6mm diameter with a height of 8mm.
What would be more interesting as comparing the Chronograph Panorama Date with the A. Lange & Söhne Datograph Ab/Auf in pink gold. Despite the difference in the case’s material, the watches are both from the city of Glashütte. The Datograph is a sports watch with a nice reversed panda dial. The layout is completely different from our reviewed piece. The higher position is occupied by a big two discs date window decorated with a gold border. The lower side of the dial is occupied by the small seconds and 30 minutes chrono sub-dials. At six o’clock is placed the power reserve indication in the form of a very small and pretty individual dial. To balance the dial, the upper side uses baton indexes. On the outer side, it is printed a white tachymeter scale. The first Datograph was released in 1999 and updated in 2012. The Ab/Auf Datograph had in 2015 a price tag of €64,000 inclusive of VAT.
A known chronograph in a steel case and with date window is the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chronograph. The 41mm steel case has a combination of polished and brushed finishes with a tachymeter scaled bezel. Inside of it beats a movement from Breitling. The MT5813 has 70 hours of power reserve but suffers from the lack of extraordinary finishes. The dial is black with white printed text and indexes. The hour indication uses big round applied indexes filled with luminescent. The Heritage Black Bay Chrono is available in stores starting with July 2017 and is expected to retail S$6480 for the strap version, Ref. 79350-0002 and respectively S$6912 for the metal bracelet model, Ref. 79350-0001.
If we think about the legends between the chronographs, we have to remind about the Zenith El Primero. This year, at “Geneva Watch Week”, Zenith launched the “Black and White” – two models with black and white dials. The watches come in a matte black aluminium ceramicised case with 100m water resistance. The dials with black sub-dials on a white background or white chrono sub-dials on a black background have a compact look. El Primero 400B calibre drives central hours and minutes functions, small seconds, chronograph and date at six o’clock. The movement has 50-hour power reserve regulated by a 5Hz balance wheel.
The affordable solution for a black dial and date window watch is the Hamilton Intramatic 68 Autochrono Limited Edition. The 42mm steel case with polished finishes has a classic look. The bezel is thin, straight and polished and it looks great. The black background features a white printed minutes/seconds scale with three-dimensional applied indexes for the hours’ indication. At 6 o’clock, enhanced by a white border, there is a date window with black background. The Autochrono is powered by the Hamilton calibre H-31, which is based on the ETA7753 and has 60 hours of power reserve. The watch was released this year at Baselworld with a price of $2,195 or €1995.
Glashütte Original Senator Chronograph Panorama Date is a beautiful watch with a nice wrist presence. The relatively big size and a metal or rubber strap remove any idea of a potential dress watch. However, the leather strap changes the look to a casual elegance. The watch is perfect for a daily business wrist display.
The choice of steel as a case material is a trend that is noticeable at many Haute Horlogerie brands. Many collectors will be happy to have it. The steel case offers some advantages over gold, for instance. More scratch resistant and, in the end, cheaper. The high precious materials tend to devalue faster and, more than that, some steel watches broke some records in last year’s auction. Is steel the metal of the moment? Regardless the rhetorical question, the Senator Chronograph Panorama Date is an extraordinary piece with a charming look and the finest finishes.
Glashütte Original Senator Chronograph Panorama Date Specification and Price
The Senator Chronograph Panorama Date with calfskin leather strap black with blue stitching or black rubber cost US$14,600 with pin buckle or US$14,900 with clasp. The metal strap version retail for US$16,400.
Calibre: GO CALIBRE 37-01
Type: mechanical self-wound movement
Dimensions: Ø 31.6 mm, height 8 mm
Power reserve: 70 hours ±5%
Frequency: 4Hz, 28,800 vibrations per hour
Functions: hour/minute (central), small second (off-central), second stop, Panorama Date, chronograph with flyback/stop second/30-minutes-display/12-hour-display, power reserve display.
Material: Stainless steel
Dimensions of the case
Diameter: Ø 42 mm
Height: 14.6 mm
Crystal: Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating both sides
Crown: Stainless steel screw-in security crown and automatic helium escape valve at 9 o’clock.
Caseback: 5 screws mounted case back with sapphire crystal see-through
Water resistance: 10bar / 100m
Material: calfskin leather strap black with blue stitching, Rubber black, stainless steel bracelet
Buckle: 18mm stainless steel buckle/ stainless steel fold fastener std./ stainless steel short fold fastener