Not so long ago, at Baselworld 2016, the Saxonian brand Glashutte Original, known for its classical, technical and finely manufactured watches, introduced a new collection, named the Senator Excellence. We took a bit of time before having a look at it, but no worries, we didn’t forget about this watch. And it has some arguments, as being an elegant 3-hander, with dress design (but not too much), powered by a brand new in-house movement family: the Calibre 36. Today, we have a closer look at this new Glashutte Original Senator Excellence and the 5 features that make it rather interesting.
1- A brand new and elegant case
Before this watch was launched, the “elegant 3-hander” role was given to the Senator Automatic (a watch that is still in the collection). This watch was a simple, yet refined piece of pure German watchmaking, with a steel or gold case, a white dial with Roman numerals and some blued hands. It was powered by the rather old (yet in-house) calibre 39. Far from being a bad timepiece on its own, the new Glashutte Original Senator Excellence however just make this older edition quite obsolete.
Left, the new Senator Excellence – Right, the old Senator Automatic
At a glance, you hardly see the difference between these two watches. Indeed, both have a case typical to the manufacture, both are measuring 40mm in diameter, both have equal thickness (9.9mm for the older, 10mm for the new one) and both are quite elegant. However, there are differences, and that’s all a matter of proportions. See, the Senator Automatic has a rather bulky case, with large lugs and a thick bezel. Then, it is entirely polished.
The new Glashutte Original Senator Excellence has the same diameter, however with a much thinner bezel, so a larger dial opening, as well as thinner lugs. Overall, the case is sharper, sleeker, more modern in its look and finally, more elegant, with brushed casebands. These new proportions will virtually make the watch smaller on the wrist, however with a stronger presence, due to the larger dial. And that is something new at Glashutte Original.
2- A more refined and classy dial
The dial of a watch is (and there’s no debate here) the most important part. First, it helps to read the time… and for a watch, that’s quite something. Then, it is the most visible part, especially on a watch like this one, with no additional feature or external bezel. Thus, having a nice dial is critical. And the Glashutte Original Senator Excellence has a dial that is very pleasing to the eye.
It uses all the traditional codes of German watchmaking and of the brand, with a white face, black Roman numerals and track and blued hands – and that was the case for the old Senator Automatic. Here too, it is a matter of details. First, the dial has this great grainy texture, which gives nice reflections and an interesting color, warmer than the usual lacquered dials. Then, all the printing are slimmer than before and cleaner: Roman numerals only at 12 and 6 and simple batons for the rest. Because of that, the dial feels more opened, more refined and more elegant, while being less “old-school”. And the blued hands (real heat-blued steel) are still in place, with the classical design of the brand.
3- It even comes in a casual black version
The new Glashutte Original Senator Excellence is available in 3 versions. 2 of them are classical white dials with blued hands and Roman Numerals, with a case in stainless steel of in red gold. Both are elegant, classy and… maybe a bit traditional for some. Wearing such a watch during a weekend might not be very relevant. So what if you want to enjoy the German quality feel of this Senator Excellence, but in a more casual way? No worries, the brand has the answer.
The concept is the same as used previously in the Glashutte Original Senator Observer: a matte grainy black dial, a slightly different minute track, large and luminous Arabic numerals painted in white, glaive hands, in steel and filled with luminous paint, all of that slightly inspired by German pilot watches. While sharing the same case, the same movement, the same dimensions and proportions, this black dial edition of the Glashutte Original Senator Excellence feels like an entirely different watch. And that is actually quite clever from the brand. What you see is the new Glashutte Original sports watch… sort of.
4- A quite interesting new movement, Calibre 36
Apart from being a new collection with a new design, the Glashutte Original Senator Excellence also introduced a brand new family of movement, the Calibre 36, which will be used by the manufacture as a base, on top of which modules can be added (a large date version and a large date / moonphase version have already been introduced), without compromising the chronometric performance. And yes, this movement is performant. The previous 3-hand with central second calibre of GO, the Calibre 39 (the one in the Senator Automatic) was a rather old-school engine: 40 hours power reserve, classical materials, rather small diameter (26mm). The new Calibre 36 is much more modern and much more efficient.
This calibre 36 still runs at 4Hz, however the escapement feature a silicon balance spring (antimagnetic, less affected by temperature…), which is a first for the brand. Then, its power reserve is now a comfortable 100-hour (approx. 4 days), via a single barrel (and a long mainspring of 68cm, developed by Nivarox). The barrel is wound by a heavy and large rotor, with 21k gold peripheral mass. The overall finish is very pleasant and respectful of the German production: Glashutte rubbings on the ¾ plate, polished chamfers, skeletonized rotor with the Double G, blued screws, visible wheels… And this movement is large (32.3mm) and sized accordingly to the case, making it pleasant when looked from the sapphire caseback.
5- A in-house testing and adjusting program
Last but not least, the Glashutte Original Senator Excellence introduces a brand new testing and adjusting program. The watches are controlled and adjusted in 6 positions and to different temperatures, at 4 stages of the power reserve, and for both the precision, the amplitude and the length of the power reserve. This is done internally and not by an external certification office (as for instance COSC). The watches are delivered with a certificate attesting of the results – and from what you can see here (and these are results obtained on a real watch, it’s not a document to illustrate), precision seems quite good, to say the least.
The Glashutte Original Senator Excellence certainly does not re-invent the 3-hand, classical dress watch. However, with its elegant and refined design and a strong technical content, it has some arguments to face other heavy-weights. Prices are 8,600 Euros in steel and 15,700 Euros in Red gold.