Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

The New Face Of The Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer

Ocean colours wash the dial of the latest Senator Chronometer, a worthy heir to Glashütte’s historic marine chronometers.

| By Rebecca Doulton | 6 min read |
Glashutte Original Senator Chronometer Redesigned Version 2023 White Gold - 1-58-08-01-04-61

Glashütte is renowned as the historic cradle of Germany’s finest watchmaking traditions since 1845. One of the region’s specialities was the production of precision marine chronometers during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Since 2009, Glashütte Original’s Senator Chronometer has become the rightful heir to these historic seafaring companions undergoing subtle design tweaks over its lifetime. The latest edition of the classic Senator Chronometer, which has been redesigned and refined for 2023, sails in with a stunning frosted silver and blue dial combination evoking the frothy silvery spray of ocean waves.

Glashütte’s Marine Chronometers

Determining longitude at sea was so vital for navigation and for the safety of sailors that the British Parliament passed the Longitude Act of 1714 offering a substantial reward for the first genius to crack the problem. The solution was to be found in the development of precision marine chronometers, a breakthrough associated with Englishman John Harrison’s H4 marine chronometer of 1761.

A German, two-day Marine Chronometer by VEB Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe – Mid-20th century (credits: Christie’s)

Following the reunification of Germany in 1871 and the establishment of the Second Reich, Germany’s Navy rose to prominence along with its demand for marine chronometers. To reduce reliance on English imports, Germany turned to Dresden and its proud tradition of scientific observation watches that, in turn, had inspired the founding fathers of Glashütte’s watchmaking industry where precision timekeeping instruments, from 1845 on, could be produced on an industrial scale. In 1886 the first marine chronometers from Glashütte were dispatched to the German Naval Observatory in Hamburg and continued to be produced under the East German conglomerate formed by watch companies in Glashütte – the VEB Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe (“GUB”) – from 1951 on. The GUB went on to produce mechanical and quartz chronometers until production was halted in 1978. Following reunification, the GUB was privatised to become Glashütte Original in 1994 before it was bought by Swatch Group in 2000.

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One of the thirteen historic Glashütte-made marine chronometers that were recovered and restored by Glashütte Original, alongside the 2010 platinum limited edition of the Senator Chronometer

To honour this proud Saxon tradition, Glashütte Original recovered and restored thirteen historic chronometers exhibited in the nearby German Watch Museum (co-founded by the town of Glashütte and Glashütter Uhrenbetrieb GmbH/Glashütte Original in 2008). In 2010, GO put together a collector’s package pairing a restored marine chronometer with a limited edition platinum model of the Senator Chronometer, originally released by the brand in 2009. A delightful homage to the layout of classic marine chronometers – excluding the Panorama Date window – the Senator Chronometer has appeared in different guises over the years, including the white gold 2016 model with a matte frosted blue dial followed by a slightly redesigned version in 2019. Most importantly, Glashütte Original unveiled an exquisite limited edition in 2020, which has given a lot of its design cues to the 2023 redesigned edition of the Senator Chronometer.

Glashutte Original Senator Chronometer Redesigned Version 2023 White Gold - 1-58-08-01-04-61

A Redesigned 18k White gold case

The 2023 Senator Chronometer in white gold respects the subtle design tweaks of the 2020 limited edition. Still sharing a 42mm diameter and a 50m water-resistant case, the bezel, for example, is concave, freeing up space for the dial and has a delicately knurled edge, a feature found on historical marine chronometers to enhance grip. It also retains the brushed finish on the inner flange, introduced on the 2020 model.

The hand-polished bezel, crown and top surface of the lugs contrast with the satin-brushed bevels and case flanks (there is a recessed corrector at 4 o’clock to adjust the Panorama Date). I am a little puzzled by the thickness of the new watch. According to the press release, the new Senator chronometer has a height of 11.4mm, while the 2020 edition came in at 12.47mm. But when it goes that way, we certainly can’t complain.

Glashutte Original Senator Chronometer Redesigned Version 2023 White Gold - 1-58-08-01-04-61

A bolder Frosted silver dial

Paying tribute to the clean, legible layout of marine chronometers, the dial has a small seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock, large Roman hour numerals, a railroad chapter ring for the minutes and a smaller sub-dial at noon for the power reserve. However, what sets this model apart is the stunning new colour scheme of the dial with its shimmering frosted silver background and blue elements, a testament to the craftsmanship of the experts at the watchmaker’s dial manufactory in Pforzheim. The granular texture of the silver backdrop is the result of silver plating by friction applied to the brass blank. A calibrated mixture of fine silver powder, salt and water is rubbed on the dial by hand with a brush to produce the subtly pitted texture before a final galvanic grey coating.

Glashutte Original Senator Chronometer Redesigned Version 2023 White Gold - 1-58-08-01-04-61

The traditional heat-blued and polished pear-shaped hands alight on a blue railroad minutes track with blue Roman numerals. Unlike the printed Roman numerals on the 2020 limited edition, the numerals are crafted in solid gold, coated in blue and applied to the dial giving them far more presence. A recessed sub-dial marked AB/ AUF with a blued hand at noon relays the running time, while the larger recessed counter at 6 o’clock, also with a blued steel hand, is for the small seconds. All the inscriptions on the dial are blue, with ‘Chronometer’ and ‘Glashütte 1/SA’ forming an arc.

Glashutte Original Senator Chronometer Redesigned Version 2023 White Gold - 1-58-08-01-04-61

Glashütte Original’s signature Panorama Date window with its bevelled frame sits at 3 o’clock with a blue background and white numerals. If you are interested in the history of this particular complication, don’t miss our in-depth coverage here. Furthermore, for more accurate time settings, there is a useful day/night function positioned inside the power reserve sub-dial with a black dot appearing between 27 and 18.

The Calibre 58-08

The hand-wound calibre 58-08 is not only a visual treat with its refined Glashütte watchmaking finishings, but it is also incredibly precise, like the marine chronometers it honours. Tested over a period of 15 days, each model is examined in five positions and three different temperatures by the independent Thuringian Office of Weights and Measures before being officially certified as a chronometer. Operating at a frequency of 28,800vph, the movement delivers a power reserve of 44 hours and 40 minutes and is equipped with an innovative stop-seconds/reset mechanism with a minute detent that makes it much easier to synchronise the minute and seconds hands when setting the time.

Glashutte Original Senator Chronometer Redesigned Version 2023 White Gold - 1-58-08-01-04-61

The attractive frosted finishing of the three-quarter plate is produced in the same manner as the dial – silver plating by friction. Other hallmark GO finishings include the screw-mounted gold chatons and the hand-engraved balance cock.

Availability & Price

The redesigned Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer comes with a dark blue alligator leather strap and a white gold foldover clasp. It is not a limited edition and the price will be USD 32,300 or EUR 35,800. The Senator Chronometer will be available at Glashütte Original Boutiques and select retailers worldwide in August 2023.

For more information, please consult

5 responses

  1. Has the watch industry lost all respect for the customer or is it merely avarice and arrogance without any constraints? Or is that both sides of the same question? I suppose a steel cased version of this watch that doesn’t cost north of $32,000 is out of the question. Next stop, insanity. Oops, already there!

  2. Watches are luxury goods. Prices are stupid and completely unrelated to value or cost, it is what it is.
    If you don’t like it, stop buying them.

    Although it is a pity I’ll never be able to afford some of the watches I dreamt of in 2003, which I would be able to afford now if the prices had remained reasonable (compensated for inflation).
    A base Patek wasn’t 10K, a RO was 15K and a Rolex was less than Tudor money now.

  3. Very happy with my ‘1845’ homage to L*nge pre-Swatch model. Exquisite movement. Recently servived by GO and keeping time to 1 second a day or less. And it’s c.38 mm diameter, which suits me well.

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