What are observation watches about? What qualities such watches must have? Like every navigation tool, they are build around 3 main purposes: precision, reliability and legibility. Deck watches / marine chronometers are know for their accuracy, in order to help navigators to calculate their positions. Glashutte Original might be know for their very charming watches but they also have in their catalog several time-keeping instruments that are inspired by such instruments. The Senator Chronometer is one of them, as well as the Senator Observer, a watch that fully turned around this precision goal. For 2015, it comes with a new design and a new dial. Here is the 2015 Glashutte Original Senator Observer now with a black face.
The German manufacture Glashutte Original has a long and rich history – as you can see in the video we made together with them recently – that also includes the creation of several precision instruments linked to navigation, watches that are usually called marine chronometers, navigation watches or deck watches. In the middle of all these watches that are manufactured, there is one that shows more importance, one that properly carries history: the Julius Assmann Marine Uhr. Such a watch was acquired by Roald Amundsen. This Norwegian explorer and his team were the first human beings to reach the geographic North Pole and the watch was part of the instruments they brought and used to achieve such a prowess.
This is where Glashutte Original found the inspiration to create in 2011 a watch called the Glashütte Original Senator Observer 1911 Julius Assmann. This chronometer launched first as a limited edition of 25 pieces and then in a classical edition in stainless steel was a faithful tribute to ancient marine chronometers made by German watchmakers in Glashutte, showing the typical features of such watches: legibility, precision and reliability. This same watch undergoes a facelift this year, with a new dial that brings more sportiveness to the concept.
The Glashutte Original Senator Observer shows the typical marine chronometer layout, with a large and easily readable dial and two sub-counters, one for the small second indicator and one for the power reserve, with the typical Ab/Auf (meaning Up/down) display. One feature on the other hand shows the affiliation of the Senator Observer with the rest of the GO collection: the Panorama-date at 6, a specific large date that is displayed by two discs positioned on the same level.
The 2015 edition shows several differences with the previous editions (here and here). Besides the black colour of the dial, the fonts, the hands and the treatment of the surfaces had been changed. While the previous stainless steel edition of the Senator Chronometer was coming with very strict Arabic numbers, this new one brings back the stylized numbers of the very first and limited edition – with one main difference though, as these bold numbers are now filled with luminous material. The white gold hands are also larger and simpler – the previous editions were fitted with GO typical hands – and also filled Super-Luminova. Finally, the dial has a varnish matt black tone with a slightly grained finish. The result is a watch that shows a great legibility in daylight (due to the high contrast of the hands and indexes on the black face and the non-reflective matte finish of the dial) as well as being totally usable in night-time. On the overall, the 2015 Glashutte Original Senator Observer looks sportier.
The case is large at 44mm, something that is inherent to marine chronometers, usually wide watches. It is made of stainless steel that shows a mirror polishing on the flat surfaces and a brushed finish on the casebands. Due to short and curved lugs, the Glashutte Original Senator Observer remains easily wearable. It is fitted on a black calfskin strap with deployant buckle or, for an even sportier look, with a polished stainless steel link bracelet.
The piece-de-resistance of the Senator Observer is of course its movement. The calibre 100-14 is a precise and efficient movement that comes with a self-winding mechanism – with a partially skeletonnized rotor with 21k gold mass – and a quite cool feature: a reset to zero. Most watches are coming with a hacking second mechanism that stops the run of the second hand when the crown is pulled out. On this watch, precision goes even further with a reset mechanism, making the second hand jumping back to zero in order to precisely set the time. Unlike other reset mechanisms, the second hand is not coupled with the winding stem or the crown. This results in the balance continuing to oscillate and the movement continuing to run despite the crown being pulled out, which considerably reduces wear and tear on materials. The reset mechanism is activated by pushing a small corrector in the right side of the case, just above the crown.
Movement is finished with Glashutte stripes and polished bevelled angles for a pleasant result. It boasts 55 hours of power reserve and features a bi-directionnal winding system. The look is typical for GO, with the Double G rotor and the three-quarter plate.
The Glashutte Original Senator Observer in its 2015 edition is a nice update that looks sportier and, due to the new dial, is more functional. It remains a very nice alternative to classical Swiss watches and it is made fully in-house, from the movement to the dial or the case – and despite that it remains priced at a reasonable 9.900 Euros.
More details on Glashutte Original website.