Chronographs are certainly the most common complication in the watch industry, going from affordable luxury segment, such as Longines, to rugged toolwatches such as the Graham Chronofighter that we reviewed a few weeks ago or even highly complicated Haute Horlogerie timepieces like the new De Bethune DB27 Maxichrono. And to think of it, a mechanical chronograph is actually one of the most difficult complications! Yet, chronographs can be found in every segment, and in every style, even in the dress/classic style like Montblanc’s Heritage Pulsograph. At Baselworld 2014, Glashütte Original introduced an interesting chronograph in the dress/classic segment: meet the new Senator Chronograph Panorama Date.
The new in-house Calibre 37
Besides introducing the new Glashütte-Original Senator Chronograph PanoDate, we’re also introducing GO’s new in-house chronograph movement calibre 37-01. This movement is entirely designed, developed and manufactured in-house in Glashütte, Germany. It’s an integrated chronograph movement that GO claimed to be as simple as possible. However -looking at the technical specifications- let us be a bit sceptical on how this Saxonian brand defines “simple”. The Calibre 37-01 comprises of 450 parts, including 65 jewels.
The new calibre 37-01 features several complications:
- An integrated design – meaning that the chronograph parts are not added on the top of an existing movement (as a module) but fully integrated in the movement for a better flow of power and compactness
- A self-winding capacity in both directions and a 80h power reserve, with a single barrel
- A simplified column wheel mechanism to actuate all chronograph functions (activate, disengage and return to zero), which means a more precise and smooth start of the central chronograph second hand.
- A fly-back, that allows a quick reset of the second-hand by only pushing the button at 5 o’clock (no need to stop the chronograph, to set it back to zero and start the chronograph again)
- A big date – so-called Panorama Date – at 12 and a power reserve indicator at 9, in the small second counter
- A free-sprung balance that swings at 28.800vph (4 Hertz) for a better isochronism (accuracy over time) and precision. In classical watchmaking, the balance spring is fixed to a regulator, which allows small changes to the length of the spring, and thus adjusting the precision. The GO Calibre 37 has a free-sprung balance without regulator, such as Patek Philippe’s Gyromax, and the rate is adjusted by 4 weight screws (in gold) on the balance rim.
So Glashütte Original says simple… We say complicated. GO has aimed to create a “simple” movement for the watchmaker, so that various parts could be serviced, while other parts remained untouched in the movement. That makes it easier to work on and reduces the chance for errors/mistakes, and reduces the costs for service and repairs. It’s clearly a modern movement. And we love that. The Calibre 37 is part of the new generation of movements, like we can find in the modern Omega, IWC and Girard-Perregaux collections.
One thing to notice is that the Calibre 37 is really nicely built, considering the finishing and the layout of the elements. With the modern and integrated chronograph movements, mechanical parts are usually hidden. Here you can see the levers, balance and column wheel working.
The Senator Chronograph Panorama Date
The new Senator Chronograph has been presented in two versions: in platinum and in 18k red gold. Both share the same case design – a diameter of 42mm, short and very curved lugs, a finish combining mirror polished on the top and brushed on the sides – the main difference is in the treatment of the dial and a blue sapphire cabochon in the crown of the platinum version.
Not only the design is different, as the platinum version has a tachymeter scale, but the material and building process are specific to each version. The platinum one has a hand-finished silver-tone dial, made of gold, with laser-engraved scale, railroad chapter ring and Roman numerals. Those engravings are filled in black before polishing the dial. The last operation consists of an application -by hand- of silver powder; a technique called “silver plating by friction”. Once done, the dial presents a silver tone with a grained surface. The red gold version is presented with lacquered silver grained dial, without tachymeter scale, that gives a cleaner appearance, more in line with a dress watch, and perhaps more in line with other models in the Senator collection. Both versions have the specific hands, in blued steel, which can be found in the rest of the Senator line.
The dial has a classical approach: a 12-hour counter at 12 o’clock, the small running second at 9 with the power reserve indicator inside, a 30-minute counter at 3 and the Panorama Date display in the lower part of the dial. The design is really legible – especially on the red gold version – and clean enough to be considered as a classical watch.
On the wrist, the watch sits perfectly with its 42mm. The lugs are very short, and curved downwards, so the watch wears smaller. The only complaint could be the thickness of the watch – 14mm – that we found a bit excessive, especially for a classic styled timepiece like the GO Senator. This feeling is also visually reinforced with the shape of the case, as the sides are totally flat.
We know that it’s the case with almost every automatic chronograph, however we also feel that a dress watch is something should fit under your cuffs; that has to be discrete and elegant. Instead of saying that the Senator Chronograph Panorama Date is a dress watch, we prefer to say that it’s a classical and elegant approach of a chronograph, combining the simplicity of the German style with a highly technical movement. Glashütte Original has now a serious contender to face an IWC Portuguese Chronograph Classic or the Girard-Perregaux 1966 Column-wheel Chronograph.
The Senator Chronograph Panorama Date will be priced at € 25.500 Euro in red gold and € 45.000 Euro in platinum. The Calibre 37 has also been presented in the Seventies collection, a square sport watch with a so-called TV-Dial that we introduced to you in 2011.
More on www.glashuette-original.com