For the last few years, German watch manufacturer, Glashütte Original, has been on a mission to appeal to a younger, hipper audience, and it seems to be working. Best known for its restrained, classic aesthetic (very stereotypical German, in other words), the brand has made a concerted effort to inject some colour and personality into its various line-ups. Some of my recent favourites include the Sixties Iconic Square collection, with five distinctively colourful dials, the sporty-looking Senator Chronograph Panorama Date in steel and the recent modern, yet classic, additions to the Senator Excellence collection. Now, there’s another new model to add to that list; the Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar Limited Edition.
Fans of Glashütte Original will no doubt already recognise this model, as it is in fact not a new watch at all. The brand launched the original iteration of its classic perpetual calendar 20 years ago, with its most recent major update coming just last year (read our detailed review here.) That model though was still very much in the traditional GO style, meaning a functional yet refined design, with a very minimalist aesthetic. This new limited-edition model still offers the same well-thought-out display, but it’s presented in a much more contemporary way and I have to say it is quite attractive in the metal.
The first thing to grab your attention is, of course, the elaborate guilloche decoration on the main plate of the perpetual calendar module, made visible thanks to the open-worked dial. This gorgeous spiral design alone is enough to give this classic QP an entirely new personality, one that changes depending on how the light hits the dial. I think it was a smart decision by Glashütte Original to go with an open-worked dial versus fully skeletonizing the movement, as it means that the perpetual calendar indications remain the key focus and are still very easy and intuitive to read, whilst still ensuring the watch stands out in a crowd.
The colour scheme is also thoroughly modern, dominated by black and shades of grey, with subtle blue highlights to add that extra something to the dial. It’s quite pleasant to look at, especially on the wrist and it is so unlike Glashütte Original’s usual conservative style that one can’t help but admire its understated boldness. This is an exceptionally complicated watch presented in a very simple way, allowing it to be enjoyed equally by seasoned collectors as by complete novices, albeit for different reasons.
Presented in a 42mm white gold case – unusual for the Senator Excellence collection which normally only offers models in steel or 18k red gold – the QP display mimics that of the original model. Spectacularly uncluttered, it is arguably one of the easiest of this type of complication to read on the market. Travelling clockwise from 4 o’clock, we find first the Panorama date, followed by the moon-phase at 8 o’clock, day-of-the-week at 10 o’clock, leap year at 12 o’clock and month at 2 o’clock. Time is displayed centrally via blued steel hands, something of a trademark of the brand.
Turning the watch over reveals the in-house Calibre 36-02 automatic movement, part of Glashütte Original’s celebrated Calibre 36 family, which the company debuted in 2016. Offering a power reserve of at least 100 hours, it runs at 28,800 v/ph and is equipped with 43 jewels. Although not quite as elaborately decorated as the main-plate on the dial side, the finishing of the movement includes a Glashütte three-quarter plate with stripe finish, bevelled edges, polished steel parts with perlage, and a skeletonized rotor with 21ct gold oscillation weight. Each watch also comes with a certificate from the manufacturer confirming that it has been thoroughly tested for 24 days in Saxon manufactory, with the results available online via an exclusive, owner’s only online portal.
Limited to 100 pieces and offered on a dark blue Louisiana alligator leather strap, I have to say the Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar Limited Edition took me somewhat by surprise. It was not a model I was expecting from the brand and is arguably not a direction I would have gone but in the flesh, it really is a great looking watch that allows the brand to step away from its conservative image without compromising on quality or functionality. Pricing is set at EUR 32,900 on an 18k white gold pin buckle or EUR 35,000 on an 18k white gold folding clasp. More details in our introductory article and on www.glashuette-original.com.