The Senator Chronometer has been around since 2009 and is still one of the most acclaimed watches in the entire Glashütte Original collection. Inspired by marine chronometers, it was also the first Glashütte Original watch to flaunt official chronometer status. And then comes the elegant design, the typical Saxon details and the movement itself (sorry, we love this watch here). To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Glashütte Original has decided to give its Senator Chronometer an elegant, contemporary facelift. And here it is.
Before we move on, we highly encourage you to read the extensive review we recently published on the blue dial/white gold version of the Senator Chronometer.
Background: The Senator Chronometer
What few might know is that Glashütte was home to the creation of some of the best marine chronometers around. Determining longitude was vital for seafaring nations, thus many watchmakers worked on timepieces to be used on seas. With Dresden’s proud tradition of scientific observation watches, it was hardly surprising that the founding fathers of Glashütte’s watchmaking industry in the 19th century were inspired to produce German precision timekeeping instruments on a more industrial scale. The production of marine chronometers in Glashütte started in the year 1886 and continued in the VEB Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe (“GUB”) from 1951 on. Between the years 1886 and 1978 mechanical marine chronometers were produced and between the years 1974 and 1992 quartz marine chronometers were also produced. In total, the GUB produced around 5,500 quartz marine chronometers and around 8,000 mechanical marine chronometers.
In 2009, Glashütte Original decided to use this rich history to create its most precise watch ever, the Senator Chronometer. The similarities between the antique Glashütte marine chronometers and the Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer – excluding the anachronistic Panorama Date window – emphasize the historical ties that Glashütte Original has vindicated since it was acquired by the Swatch Group in 2000. The watch showed a typical marine display, with large central hands, a small seconds at 6 and a power reserve at 12 o’clock. As often, time was read thanks to elongated Roman numerals. The Senator Chronometer has been available in three different versions (white gold/silver dial, rose gold/silver dial, white gold/blue dial), all housed in a 42mm case.
The most desirable part of this watch, however, is its hand-wound calibre 58-01. It might not be the most complex piece in the collection, but the action below deck and its official chronometer status set the Senator Chronometer in a category all its own. The innovative stop-seconds/reset mechanism with minute detent makes it much easier to synchronize the minute and seconds hands when setting the time. When the crown is pulled, the time display is stopped and the seconds hand zips back to zero and stays there. Simultaneously the minute hand advances to the next full minute. When the crown is turned to set the time, the minute hand stops on the full minute guaranteeing the correct relationship between the minutes and seconds displayed. In other words, the watch can be set to the exact minute and second, as befits a “Made-in-Germany” chronometer. Another detail that speaks about the precision nature of this watch is the tiny click you can feel for every minute when turning the crown.
The sapphire crystal caseback reveals the beautiful manual-winding calibre 58-01, complete with the classic three-quarter plate with Glashütte stripes, the hand-engraved balance cock, screw-mounted gold chatons, blued screws, galvanized surfaces, bevelled edges, perlage on the base plate, the swan-neck fine adjustment and a planetary gear train for the power reserve display. Oscillating at 28,800vph, the running time is of 44 hours and 40 minutes.
The 2019 Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer
First of all, be reassured, the evolution is very subtle – spot on for sure, but still very subtle. This means that the marine-chronometer inspiration, the beautiful execution, the elegant layout or the great calibre 58-01 have not been touched. The update is all about design details and proportions. See below for a comparison between the 2009 model (left) and the 2019 model (right)
The first thing to note is that the 2019 Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer sticks to its 42mm diameter. Same goes for the height, which has been kept at the exact same 12.47mm. So what has changed? First of all, the material. The case used to be pink gold and is now made of red gold, giving the watch a slightly subtler and warmer tone. Then, the case has been redesigned a bit with a thinner bezel, giving more space for the dial.
Even though this doesn’t dramatically change the watch, the result is more balanced, sleeker and slightly more modern. The watch appears “lighter” than it was before, due to its wider bezel. The Senator Chronometer is now offered on a dark brown Louisiana alligator leather strap with fold fastener or pin buckle in red gold.
The main update might be visible on the dial side. The display is identical, with hours and minutes indicated centrally, a small seconds running at 6 o’clock, the Panorama Date still positioned at 3 o’clock and the “running time display” at 12 o’clock. Inside is a discreet day/night indication that simplifies the setting of the date. It is positioned in a round opening within the running time display: from 6 in the morning until 6 in the evening, the little circle appears in white, from that point on in black.
However, the finishing of the dial has evolved. Crafted in-house in the brand’s dial manufactory in Pforzheim, the dial now has a fine grain thanks to the silver-grained lacquer, resulting in a velvety texture – a finishing that we’ve seen in recent GO’s creations. The railroad chapter ring, indexes and numerals are laser-engraved and subsequently galvanized in black. All the inscriptions and numerals also appear thinner and more precisely executed than in past models, again giving more elegance to the dial. All the hands are flame-blued steel and have kept their signature design.
For the rest, the Senator Chronometer retains its superbly finished and highly precise calibre 58-01 with stop-seconds, zero-reset and minute-detent (the minute hand jumps ahead to the next full minute index when pulling the crown).
The 2019 version of the Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer will be available as of next week (May 2019) at official boutiques and retailers and will be priced at EUR 25,700 (incl. VAT), which is the same price as the previous version. More details at www.glashuette-original.com.