As you well know, dear reader, we manage to get our hands on an enviable number of incredible timepieces here at MONOCHROME. Some, like the stunning Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance with guilloché dial by Kari Voutilainen, make their presence immediately felt, whilst others, like the Tudor Heritage Black Bay steel, are decidedly more understated, although no less appealing. Today, we are getting hands on with a watch that falls decidedly in this latter category, the Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Panorama Date Moon Phase in full steel.
The Senator Excellence series
In the spring of 2016, Glashütte Original unveiled the Calibre 36 manufactory movement, which would become the basis of the new Senator Excellence collection. This collection can be seen as something of an evolution of the popular yet slightly dated Senator range, although at this stage the Senator Excellence models complement rather than replace the earlier ones.
The Senator Excellence “time only” version
The overall aesthetic is still very traditional and conservative, however, there are modern refinements here and there, such as slightly thinner bezels and cleaner dials, which I find quite attractive. In addition to the subtle design tweaks, Glashütte Original has also introduced what it calls “a new quality standard”, made possible by its vertically integrated manufacturing facilities.
Although perhaps not as well-known as some of its Swiss counterparts, Glashütte Original boasts an impressive 170-year watchmaking history, as well as state of the art manufacturing facilities. Located in the heart of Glashütte, it is there that the watches are designed and assembled, using components produced almost entirely in-house.
The Calibre 36, the base for all the Senator Excellence collection
To demonstrate the quality of its production, each model in the Senator Excellence collection is tested in-house for 24 days under conditions that exceed the standard chronometer test. When the watch is purchased, it comes complete with a certificate confirming that this testing period has been successfully completed. A special engraving on the case back of the watch serves as a Seal of Quality.
What I think is particularly cool (in a kind of geeky way), is the fact that the certificate also gives you access to an online portal, which details the specific testing procedures your watch underwent and how it performed in each test. Generally speaking, it should be enough just knowing that the watch passed the tests, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to know exactly how well it did and now, you can.
The Senator Excellence Panorama Date Moon Phase in Full Steel
Although the name of the watch we are looking at today is admittedly not that creative, it is very descriptive. The Senator Excellence Panorama Date Moon Phase offers exactly that; a panorama date display and a moon phase indicator, in addition to telling you the time, of course. There is much more to this watch than just its name, however.
For a start, the “Panorama Date” is arguably one of the complications the Manufacture is best known for, and in fact it celebrated its 20th anniversary just last year. Sitting between 4 and 5 o’clock, the distinctive display features two numerical discs mounted side by side with a common centre (i.e. they are on the same level), allowing the “big date” to be easily read at a glance, and without the need for a vertical separation bar. Some people may find it too intrusive but I actually find myself looking at my watch quite often to check the date, and so I appreciate this type of easy to read display.
Diagonally opposite from the large date window is the moonphase indicator, nestled between 10 and 11 o’clock in a crescent-shaped apeture. Although more restrained than some other similar displays on the market, it still offers a rich level of detail and rewards closer inspection. Crafted in-house at Glashütte Original’s dial manufactory in Pforzheim, it features a silver moon set against a metallic blue starry sky. In actuality, there are two silver moons on the disc, although one is always hidden from view. This enables a display of the moon cycle of precisely 29.5 days, which will remain accurate for up to 122 years (assuming the watch is kept running).
Both these displays stand out nicely against the varnished silver-grainé fine matt of the dial, which also features a mix of Roman and Arabic numerals for the hours and minutes respectively. A railroad chapter ring runs around the periphery of the dial and beautifully-shaped blued hands indicate the time, both familiar features of the Senator and Senator Excellence families. It’s a clean, conservative aesthetic, which we’re used to seeing from Glashütte Original and it’s suitable to wear with just about everything.
The matching steel bracelet, with satin-polished centre links, gives it a slightly more casual, perhaps even sporty feel, although this is certainly not a sports watch, at least not in the traditional sense. On the wrist, the 40mm x 12.2mm steel case looks perfectly sized and sits very comfortably. Everything is nicely proportioned and I could see myself wearing this watch to the office with a suit and tie or in a more relaxed setting on the weekend with friends.
The Senator Excellence Panorama Date Moon Phase is powered by the in-house Calibre 36-04 automatic movement, which is visible through the sapphire caseback. Offering an impressive 100 hours of power reserve, it features 43 jewels and oscillates at 28,800 vph. In true German style, the movement is beautifully decorated and features a Glashütte three-quarter plate with stripe finish, bevelled edges, polished steel parts with perlage, and a skeletonized rotor with 21ct gold oscillation weight.
Available now from Glashütte Original, the Senator Excellence Panorama Date Moon Phase also comes on a black Louisiana Alligator leather strap if you want to go for an even more formal look. Pricing is set at EUR 11,700, which is quite reasonable given that you are getting a manufacture movement from a major brand that has undergone 24-days of quality testing.
More details on www.glashuette-original.com.