Today, we’re taking a closer look at a German-made dress watch that’s not quite a dress watch, the Glashütte Original Senator Excellence with black dial. Modern, stylish and just a little bit quirky, it exudes a sense of casual elegance that is really quite appealing. Comfortable on the wrist and guaranteed to attract more than its fair share of attention, this is definitely an under-the-radar watch that deserves a second look. Read on for all the details.
The Glashütte Original Senator Excellence
Launched in 2016, the Senator Excellence can be viewed as something of an update to Glashütte Original’s Senator Automatic range (although the latter is still available in the current line-up if you prefer that style). An elegant three-hander, the main versions (available in a steel or red gold case) very much epitomize the traditional German approach to watchmaking, with stoic white faces, black Roman numerals and railroad chapter ring and blued hands. It is everything you would expect from a classic German dress watch.
The black dial version, however, is something else entirely. It’s presented in the same steel case measuring a reasonable 40mm in diameter and 10mm in height, with the same polished bezel and brushed casebands, yet it feels like a completely different watch. A little sportier perhaps, with just a hint of a vintage feel to it but without looking like it’s trying too hard to be different. Much more casual in fact.
Depending on how keenly you follow the brand, you may have already noticed that the aesthetic is very similar (in fact just about identical) to that of the black dial Glashütte Original Senator Observer, introduced back in 2015. A grainy, matte black dial paired with contrasting large and luminous Arabic numerals painted in white, and steel glaive hands filled with luminous paint. The chapter ring is also slightly different to the white dial version, with little triangles at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock respectively, although this is more understated in the Senator Excellence version than the Senator Observer.
Despite the similarities, however, I find the dial of the Senator Excellence to be much more visually striking. I think this is because there are no other indicators on the dial (the Senator Observer features an Up/Down power reserve display and subsidiary seconds at 3 and 9 o’clock respectively as well as date display at 6 o’clock.) As such, your attention is immediately drawn to the large Arabic numerals, which give the watch a very modern, almost sporty appearance. It’s still a dress watch of sorts but not quite in the traditional sense.
Whether you like this bolder, slightly more casual style comes down to a matter of personal taste. If you work in an office, it’s paired down enough to make a great everyday watch worn with a suit but can still transition to more relaxed weekend wear too. The white dial versions also look great with a suit but they are not as versatile as the black dial version. That said, ironically, I probably wouldn’t wear the black dial watch to a black-tie event.
Inside is the Calibre 36, a modern and efficient manufacture movement that was introduced along with the Glashütte Original Senator Excellence series last year. An automatic movement operating at 4Hz, the escapement features a silicon balance spring, which was a first for Glashütte Original at the time. The power reserve is an impressive 100-hours (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 a 21k gold peripheral mass.
As you would expect from a German watch manufacture, the movement is nicely, if traditionally, finished: Glashütte rubbings on the ¾ plate, polished chamfers, skeletonized rotor with the Double G, blued screws, visible wheels…All of which is visible of course through the sapphire caseback. Furthermore, the movement is now 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 by GO. The watch is delivered with a certificate attesting the results.
Finished with a black calf leather strap, the Glashütte Original Senator Excellence is cool, albeit different-looking, watch that sits comfortably on the wrist. Too casual to be considered a classic dress watch but not quite sporty enough to be a sports watch, it sits somewhere in between. Perfect for those who want to stand out from the crowd a bit, without going crazy overboard. And still with the superb German execution. More details on www.glashuette-original.com.
Technical specifications – Glashütte Original Senator Excellence With Black Dial
- Case: 40mm diameter x 10mm height – stainless steel, polished and brushed –Sapphire crystal on both sides – 5 Bar water resistant.
- Movement: Calibre 36, manufacture movement – automatic – 4Hz frequency – 100-hour power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds.
- Strap: Calfskin leather strap black, fold fastener stainless steel polished/satin-finish
- Price: EUR 8,600
- Reference: 1-36-01-03-02-50 (Short clasp) / 1-36-01-03-02-01 (Buckle)