Glashütte Original presented this steel/white dial version of the Senator Chronograph Panorama Date at Baselworld 2018. Following the design tenets of the steel/black dial model introduced a year before, the two models offer a refreshing, more contemporary take on the original 2014 Senator Chronograph. Powered by calibre 37, a formidable in-house integrated flyback chronograph movement, the 2018 black and white model is a strikingly handsome addition to the line-up. We were able to spend some hands-on time with the watch, so read on for our impressions.
In 2014 Glashütte Original launched Calibre 37, its first in-house integrated automatic column-wheel chronograph movement with flyback functionality. Launched in the traditional Senator line with the iconic Panorama date and a 70-hour power reserve, two 42mm models in platinum and red gold made their debut at Baselworld 2014. Calibre 37-01 was not GO’s first chronograph movement but it was the first integrated chronograph movement, as opposed to a module stuck placed on top of a pre-existing calibre.
The 2014 Senator Chronograph Panorama Date was as traditional/old-school as they come with elegant Arabic numerals, blued Poire-style hands, absolutely no trace of lume, and precious metal cases. In 2017, GO released a stainless steel model of the Senator Chronograph Panorama Date, a sportier, bolder, younger version with a contemporary black dial stripped of its classic formality and treated to generous amounts of intense blue lume. Although the layout of the dial, the case and the motor were identical, the watch was a refreshing interpretation of its more formal, somewhat staid ancestor. Then in 2018, this handsome stainless steel model in black and white made its debut at the Basel watch fair.
Measuring 42mm across and with a height of 14.6mm, this is not a watch you are going to be able to slip discreetly under your cuff or wear with black tie. The diameter and height are in keeping with automatic chronographs and, however elegant and classy the white dial might come across, it won’t pass as a dress watch. It is a robust automatic chronograph and its very dimensions and weight attest to the formidable machinery below deck. Having said that, the presence of short-cropped curving lugs does attenuate the size allowing the watch to comfortably on smaller wrists.
To label this Senator Chronograph a “sports watch” would be off the marks… It has Saxon dignity and Senator heritage.
These dimensions are welcome in a watch of this nature. For one, the chronograph functions are easier to operate, and secondly, the elapsed times are easier to read, making the watch more inviting to actually use in everyday situations. The chronograph is activated by the pusher at 2 o’clock and the flyback function with the pusher at 4 o’clock zipping the hand back to zero, to start the chronograph again with no interruptions. Thanks to the column wheel, the pushers respond beautifully – a sharp, reassuring click with enough mechanical feeling. The case features contrasting polished and satin-brushed surfaces and the relatively thin bevelled bezel frames an arresting white and black dial.
When it comes to bold eye-catching dial colours, a couple of things can happen: you might grow tired of your orange or green dial after a while or the current trend for blue dials might be passé by next year. A white dial is timeless. Combined with sharply defined glossy black markings, you’re looking at one of the most legible dials out there.
A white and black dial might seem fairly basic to some, but the effect is so striking, and the details on the dial are so beautifully rendered, that the dial soars above the rest. There is a reason why print newspapers, once upon a time, were black and white: a white background with black markings provides the best contrast for legibility and at the same time conveys a certain sense of authority. And it’s also great to avoid reflections. Just think of black and white photographs.
Although the layout of the dial is exactly the same as its more traditional 2014 ancestor, the Roman numerals – except for XII and VI – have been substituted for inky black hour markers. The conventional 3-6-9 configuration of three-register chronographs has been inverted with the smaller 12-hour counter at 12 o’clock, the running seconds and power reserve at 9 o’clock and the 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock. Just above the 6 o’clock numeral is the iconic Panorama date window with a white background to match the colour of the dial. The registers are slightly recessed and framed with a silver ring and the Panorama date window features its traditional double bevelled window. Given the amount of information relayed on the dial, the overall impression is one of well-proportioned elements, a pleasing sense of symmetry and lots of empty white space.
Glashütte Original is one of the few watch manufactures with its own dial company where this beautiful matte white lacquered dial was made. The lacquer is sprayed evenly on the surface of the dial by hand and dried for a couple of hours in the kiln. Once the lacquer is dry, the trickiest step involves picking out the laser-engraved details on the dial with black ink. Done entirely by hand, the ink (which contains black Super-LumiNova) is applied to the recessed areas like the hour markers and hands using a tiny syringe. If you look closely, you can see the incredible volume of the plump glossy black hour markers and Roman numerals and how the sword-shaped hour and minute hands have a slightly gritty dark-grey filling. In the dark, the watch takes on an entirely different personality as the hour markers and three central hands (including the chronograph seconds hand) emit a cool green glow.
Robust and reliable Calibre 37
Introduced on board the Senator Chronograph Panorama Date in 2014, Glashütte Original’s very own fully integrated automatic flyback chronograph was a milestone in the company’s history. As any watch lover knows, an in-house chronograph movement is a painstakingly complex beast to build and always a proud moment for the brand. A relatively rare accomplishment in the past, Xavier’s article on brands with in-house chronograph movements reveals which manufactures possess their very own integrated movements today.
In addition to the smooth operation of the pushers, the robust build of the column-wheel chronograph was designed to handle everyday wear and tear. Instead of a horizontal or vertical clutch for transferring power from the movement to the chronograph, Glashütte Original has incorporated an oscillating pinion providing immediate starts and improved accuracy. Calibre 37 incorporates a variable inertia, free-sprung balance beating at 4Hz with four adjustable gold screws on the balance wheel to ensure precision over a long period of time. A single barrel offers a robust 70-hour power reserve when fully wound, a remarkable amount of power given the functions of the watch. For an in-depth analysis of the movement with illustrations and a video, don’t miss this article.
All the chronograph parts are on display through the sapphire exhibition caseback (including the column wheel and the chronograph levers) as are the high standards of finishes befitting a Glashütte Original watch. This means the traditional Glashütte three-quarter plate, the swan-neck fine adjustment (without engraving), a skeletonised rotor with a 21k gold oscillation weight decorated, along with the bridges, with thick Glashütte ribbing, blued screws and bevelled and polished edges.
Compared to the 2014 Senator Chronograph editions, which incidentally are still available, the 2017 and 2018 models are a refreshing addition to the Senator line. Younger, bolder and more contemporary, they manage to respect their GO heritage but shed the formal classical styling of their predecessors. But to label these latest models as “sports watches” is somewhat off the mark. They might be designed to time sporting events, they might have robust steel cases and lume, but they maintain their Saxon dignity and Senator heritage to the core, no doubt about it.
The striking white and black dial is not only legible, but it is also incredibly elegant. The dimensions, in line with an automatic chronograph, offer a reassuring solidity and attest to the impeccable machinery below deck. After the red gold PanoGraph, with its manual-winding chronograph movement and slightly smaller dimensions, this is the next GO chronograph on my ever-expanding wish list.
The Senator Chronograph Panorama Date is available on a brown calfskin leather strap with white stitching, a stainless steel bracelet or a black rubber strap. Retail price is EUR 13,200. More details at glashuette-original.com.