Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite
Are you the most advanced world-timer ever?
About a month ago, I visited the town of Glashütte; a small town that is located 30 minutes by car from Dresden, in what I call “the Silicon Valley of German watch-making”, where at least every second big enterprise is a watch-manufacturing company. A visit to Glashütte Original is an experience that makes you understand what crafting watches actually means for the German and a visit to the town's museum is also a testimony to the century-long work that lies behind this community at the service of chronometric precision. Among the purposes of my visit, was the the idea to devote at least one hour of my time to the Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite; one of the brand's masterpieces. There is no better place that the manufacturing place itself to do so, as the Cosmopolite timepieces are not that very common in Italy, whereas in Germany, you can talk directly to those, who have developed this watch.
The concept of aesthetic simplicity, minimal forms is entwined with German culture but it would be a big mistake to associate it to a lack of mechanic complication too. When you take a look at a Senator Cosmopolite, you can objectively say that it is the triumph of aesthetic cleanliness but when you start using it and talking to a watch-maker within the manufacturing company, you will soon discover, step by step, that this timepiece is a high-range complicated watch and, from a technical point of view, it is everything but minimal.
Starting off from the Cosmopolite family that gave birth to the Grande Cosmopolite Tourbillon – the most complicated timepiece ever crafted by Glashütte Original -, the brand's engineers have created and fine-tuned one of the most advanced and completed timepieces that displays different time-zones. I should probably deepen my research a bit further, but I am pretty positive that, among the most popular brands, there is nothing else that could offer the same level of mechanic complication within this market segment.
The Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite allows the user to view the time in each one of the 37 officially recognized world time-zones. The first big difference is that it adds 13 time-zones to the usual 24 we have familiarized ourselves with already and that often make the choice of this second family quite easy; you simply need to choose your favourite brand and your favourite looks as the complication type is, pretty much, the same all across (the only small exception being Breitling and its somehow more complex Unitime). Not every time-zone in the world is a whole multiple of the Greenwich meridian time-zone (Terranova and Nepal are two examples), therefore, a real timepiece with a double time-zone, should correctly display each one of these time-zones also and is, therefore, much more complicated.
That's because ten time-zones differ by thirty minutes, while three of them differ by either 15 minutes or 45 minutes if compared to the Greenwich time-zone. The Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite allows the user to view the time with an offset by one hour/half-an-hour/a quarter of an hour/three quarters of an hour; that is to say anywhere in the world. Your home time is located within the small 12-hours dial at the top, in the middle are two hands that indicate the time at your destination that you need to set once the two times have been aligned and the set-up of the home time has been made.
Once you have set the home time, the day-time/night-time indication, the date and the IATA code, all the adjustments of the local time can be made in one go only by using the crown located at 4 o'clock that moves the hours hand at a pace of 15-minute-clicks until it has reached its destination that is indicated by one of the two windows located at 8 o'clock. No additional adjustments are required, date included that is synchronized with the international date line. From an aesthetic point of view, the Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite mimics the layout of a Senator Chronometer with its continuous seconds dial located at 6 o'clock as per the typical architecture of the big navy chronometers and a tribute to its long experience as a supplier within this segment. Both the panoramic date window located at 4 o'clock and the power reserve indicator located at 12 o'clock are elegantly placed on a fine grained silver dial that is in-house made; these features complete a “moderately” rich aesthetic summary, which is able to transmit an enviable coherence and balance.
The only touch of real colour in such an understated environment is represented by the blue hands that glow when hit by light. The 89-02 calibre that manages the Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite's functions is an extremely beautiful and entirely in-house built calibre that guarantees up to 72 hours of power reserve that, both from an aesthetic and technical point of view, summarize the brand's characteristics.
The off-centred rotor is the measurement of German engineering, while the balance wheel cock is the best example of their decorative art and it stands out against the rigorous geometry of the Cotes de Genève pattern on the bridges. An aesthetic cleansing that “hides” from view the over 400 parts that make up the calibre and its spectacular and masterfully-crafted complication.
The Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite measures 44mm in size, almost all of it is taken by the 89-02 calibre. It is the "smallest" of all the 44mm-timepieces that I have ever tried on and it clearly shows that a watch, which is important in size, doesn't necessary have to appear big at all cost. Its style is a tribute to logics thanks to all the local time indicators positioned in the foreground and the ability to adjust every single piece of information through a single crown (excluding the "fine" DST adjustment located at 4 o'clock). Pity this timepiece only comes in red and white gold; the only two metals that suit this exceptional complication and that place this watch a few levels above its competitors, within its own segment, and inevitably make its retail price close to the 40,000-euro-psychological-threshold.
(Photo credit: Horbiter's proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter