The ultimate travel watch? One which can keep you on track with the local time on 37 different cities around the world and your home time? One which keeps track even for those cities where the timezone differences are half hour or quarter hour? And which keep track and tell you when Daylight savings applies? Impossible? Makes your head spin? Nay! Enter the Glashütte Original Cosmopolite. We covered the original Cosmopolite, which was even more complicated as in addition to these useful travel features, is also a perpetual calendar and tourbillon. This was in 2012. Now a more wallet friendly version is made available, without perpetual calendar and tourbillon and dubbed the Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite. We carried the specifications from the Press Release here, now we do a full hands on review.
Review of the Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite
For a watch with so much to say (display), the dial design is surprisingly very legible. Every component is laid out exactly where one would expect it to be, and the dial remains uncluttered. The dial shows the local time on the main dial, a subdial showing home time, a power reserve indicator, a large date display, a seconds hand, a home time day/night indicator as well as apertures to show the IATA city code for 37 cities for Daylight Savings Time (DST) and Standard Time (STD). All these while keeping track of whole hour, half hour and quarter hour differences of timezones of those cities. As this feature, daunting and frankly quite awesome we think, was available on the original Cosmopolite Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar, it is proven and should work properly.
Timezones, the longitude story
To understand the usefulness of this feature, we need to understand that the world is divided into 24 timezones. Each being 1 hour apart from the other, giving us the 24 hours of the day. For geo-political reasons, some countries chose to be in one single timezone, even if the country’s longitude spread causes it to pass through several 1 hour segments. The starting point for reference is known as Universal Time Coordinated (UST) which, for historical reasons is pinned on Greenwich in England. UST was formerly known as Greenwich Meridian Time (GMT).
To illustrate this, for example, the contiguous United States is covered in 4 timezones viz Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific time from UTC -5 to UTC-8 as indicated by their longitudes. However, the entire People’s Republic of China a single timezone UTC +8, and India is a single tmezone UTC +5.30. This is despite the fact that these countries are large enough to cover several timezones. Some countries like Nepal is UTC +5.45. Keeping track of all the various timezones in the various cities is quite an interesting, and complicated task. Please see this article for the full picture.
Most travel or multi timezone watches do not keep track of these half hour timezones, not to mention quarter hour ones. Almost all only advance or retracts the second timezone hour hand in hourly steps and keep the minute hand unchanged. We have reviewed several at Deployant. For example the Patek Philipe Calatrava Travel Time allows the user to push a + or – button on the case to advance or retreat in 1 hour intervals. While the MB&F LM1 allows both timezones to be adjusted independently. Yet others like the Franck Muller Master Banker allows three timezones to be set separately up to the minute. This is a simple complication of a allowing the three displays to be independent of each other during time setting.
But coordinating all timezones, while taking care of the full, half, quarter jumps, including DST and STD is extremely complex. And to make this easy to use by just the crowns is rather amazing! We believe that Glashütte Originale is perhaps the first and only wristwatch to do so. So we say bravo to this very useful complication.
Movement – Glashütte Original Caliber 89-02
The movement is classical Glashütte Original: the inhouse caliber 89-02 is automatic, and equipped with the double swan neck arrangement.
Movement finishing is quite good, though not the same level as their Glashütte neighbour, A.Lange & Söhne, with whom they have frequently been compared to. Initially GO had ambitions to be a top level classical manufacture like Lange, but since its Swatch acquisition, have moderated their targets to compete with Richmont brands like Jaeger LeCoultre. And towards this goal, we think it achieves brilliantly.
The double swan neck arrangement for the balance wheel is certainly become a Glashütte Original trademark. The use of two swan necks is a move to differentiate it from Lange which uses only one. Traditionally, only one swan neck is used to provide fine regulation by moving the regulating pins to adjust the effective length of the vibrating hairspring. The other end of of the hairspring is attached to a stud which is adjustable, usually by a screw. The stud position is set and not moved after proper installation of the hairspring. The Glashütte Original double swan neck uses one of in the traditional sense. In the photograph above, this is the lower of the two. Note the screw attached which when advanced or retracted moves the lever on which the regulating pins are mounted. The other swan neck is just a spring to provide a counter force. In practice, this is un-necessary as the lower swan neck’s screw already does this function. Note in the picture above, the upper swan neck has no screw to provide fine adjustment. But the design creates visual impact and drama.
Having spent hands-on time with the watch, and examining it closely, our conclusion is that Glashütte Original has come up with a winner, capitalizing on their investment on the very expensive and limited Cosmopolite Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar in a more sensible, more affordable version in the Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite. It is a very handsome watch, extremely legible (double plus, no triple plus points) and a nicely finished inhouse manufactured movement.
Singapore retail price: SGD 67,400 for red gold and SGD 70,200 for the white gold model