The Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer does stealth-wealth the German wayFergus Nash
Glashütte Original’s Senator collection is a curious one, capable of great humility and opulence but always pursuing excellence. It doesn’t matter if it’s a time-only watch in a steel case or precious metal with a tourbillon movement, a Senator will always be the very best that Glashütte Original has to offer. Here, the new Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer rides a delicate triple-line between stealth wealth, classical elegance, and a hint of sporting flair thanks to a blend of antique and contemporary design elements.
Getting straight into the good stuff, the dial of the new Senator Chronometer is a delightful example of handmade craft. The frosted texture is created by silver powder, salt, and water being rubbed by hand into the brass dial plate, before being galvanised for the final grey hue. The layout is inspired by marine chronometers that were essential for navigation at sea during the 1700s, specifically the kinds that were coming out of Glashütte. The glamorous poire hands, the running seconds subdial, the Roman numerals, and the power indicator at 12 o’clock were all highly typical of antique marine chronometers.
As for the subtler elements of the dial’s composition, there’s something about the applied hour markers being heat-blued that makes them feel sporty in conjunction with the silver dial. Bluing has been common on hands for hundreds of years, but numerals were usually printed, and applied ones now come with a higher sense of luxury. The large Panorama date aperture at 3 o’clock is another relatively modern addition, with a blue background that helps to fill in the space of the lost marker. Lastly, a day/night indicator has been fitted at the base of the power reserve, switching from white to black from 18:00 to 06:00.
The use of 18k white gold is mainly what contributes to the stealth-wealth aspect of the Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer, as its lustre will most likely look like stainless steel to an untrained eye. The polished finishes offset the matte texture of the dial beautifully, with a slender bezel to maximise the dial space. As such, it’s got an impressive amount of wrist presence thanks to the 42mm diameter, but it’s still friendly to average wrists with a lug-to-lug length of 48.4mm.
The side profile is smooth and rounded, flowing over to a flat sapphire crystal caseback that shows off a lot of the movement. At 11.4mm tall, it’s definitely the kind of watch which could slip under a dress cuff if you wanted it to. Otherwise, it might be the kind of watch which gets you to tailor your sleeves so that it never gets covered up. It’s not exactly the kind of thing you’d wear to the beach, but the 50 metres of water resistance is appreciated for occasional splashes or quick, accidental submersions.
As the undisputed watchmaking capital of Germany, Glashütte is renowned for its movements. There’s even legislative protection for watches which display Glashütte on the dial far more specific than “Made in Germany”, ensuring that their movements are made there. The Calibre 58-08 for the Senator Chonometer includes the signature three-quarter plate, which has been decorated with a matte, galvanised surface similar to that of the dial. Below it, in the space occupied by the hand-engraved balance cock, you can see some more elaborate perlage. The bevels are also polished to add a slight highlight, and the screws have been blued. Running at 28,800 vibrations per second, the movement has a very specific power reserve of 44 hours and 40 minutes, which can be tracked by the power indicator on the dial.
In addition to being tested over a period of 15 days in five positions at three temperatures by an independent office before being chronometer-certified, the Calibre 58-08 also features an incredibly useful hacking seconds system. Rather than simply stopping the seconds hand, pulling out the crown resets the seconds hand to zero so that you can easily synchronise your watch to the beginning of any new minute. Adjusting the Panorama date is done via a hidden pusher just below the crown on the right side of the case.
While there may not be all that much to say about the dark blue alligator leather strap, there’s plenty to say about the strap’s hardware. Firstly, the curved spring bars allow the strap to conform to the watch’s shape and give it an integrated feel without departing from tradition. Secondly, the 18k white gold butterfly clasp is over-engineered in the best way possible. The double-security pushers have a satisfying action, and every component is made to be thick and sturdy, from the chunky struts to the smallest springs. The finishing is just as precise as on the case, with differing matte and polished textures setting it apart.
At A$50,550, the new Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer lies in an interesting spot. It’s definitely in the higher tiers of luxury, yet not so expensive that it’s assumed you have millions in disposable income. This watch could be a grail for someone as much as it could be part of a collection rotation, and I think Glashütte Original have done well in that regard. It’s a watch which is as classical as it is innovative, with a striking, timeless beauty that also has a unique identity. The chronometer certification and ease of time-setting shows that they want this watch to be worn, and it will do its duties beyond the splendour of its decoration.
Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer pricing and availability
The new Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer is now available at Glashütte Original retailers. Price: A$50,550
|Case Dimensions||42mm (D) x 11.4mm (T) x 48.4mm (LTL)|
|Case Material||18k white gold|
|Water Resistance||50 metres|
|Crystal(s)||Sapphire crystal front and back|
|Strap||Blue Louisiana alligator leather, 18k white gold clasp|
|Movement||Calibre 58-08, in-house, manual winding, hand-engraved balance cock, swan neck regulator|
|Power Reserve||44 hours and 40 minutes|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, small seconds, power reserve, grande date, day/night indicator|