Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer Blue Dial
If you follow the world of horlogerie, it is your moral duty to remind all its aficionados at least twice per year, right before the opening of the two most important fairs, what Saxon watch-making is all about so that the two brands that make the small city of Glashütte an extremely interesting place can be properly honored. The exchange of knowledge and skills that took place between the big masters of watch-making from the end of the 18th century to the beginning of the 19th century, created the two watch-making giants – content-wise rather than size-wise – that were funded and developed in this little city located at the Swiss border. One of these two companies is Glashütte Original, one of the premium pillars of the Swatch Group.
The common marketing meaning of the term “segmentation” doesn’t apply to the world of Saxon horlogerie. This type of watch-making occupies the top position in the sector and it boasts a unique characteristic; its constant search for minimalism is some sort of ostentation, and it is almost something to be proud of. The Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer is not the most complicated Glashütte Original timepiece, in order to find that, you need to go up a few levels, where you will find the Grande Cosmopolite Tourbillon. Nevertheless, while I am composing this article, this timepiece is the most complex and interesting Glashütte Original that has ever graced Horbiter’s pages and one of the brand’s pivotal collections. In the last 15 years, Glashütte Original has progressively given up its production of aviator’s and sport watches by focusing on the development of calibers instead, these are getting more and more complicated with their rich but austere style. The final result of this effort is the creation of a well-formed aesthetic identity and technique. The Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer is the perfect witness of this change. The term “Chronometer” is generally overused or used incorrectly, it is supposed to identify a phase in the history of watch-making when precision was some sort of an obsession and chronometers were navigation instruments that you couldn’t do without.
The Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer collection isn’t a novelty in the Senator family but the white gold version with a blue dial is. It is a milestone because it represents the first timepiece that Glashütte Original certified as a chronometer in accordance with the requirements established by two independent German bodies and the political vision – shared by many other brands – that shifts the concept of manufacturing from crafting parts to the more complicated concept of company philosophy. This is also a manner to stress the quality of a timepiece that is fully compliant with the historic meaning of the term “Chronometer”, a manner that is definitely more reliable than the COSC ranking and that, at the same time, underlines the all-German-pedigree of the Senator Chronometer.
The use of the blue color is something the brand is familiar with, and, lately, it is also a trendy hue that many manufacturers opt for and interpret differently; there are those manufacturers that use a vivid blue hue to give a touch of personality to a somewhat too sober collection and those manufacturers, like Glashütte Original, that prefer a lighter and matted shade of blue that can show everybody what the brand is able to do with its own dials. This particular shade of color is crafted in the workshops of Pforzheim and is the result of a long process that requires the lacquer to be first applied and then dried.
The Roman indices and the “Chemin de fer” minute ring are engraved on the dial and then treated with a silver galvanizing process. The final result is an exceptionally deep dial, a dial whose depth is accentuated by the presence of two big counters, the running seconds counter located at 6 o’clock – an aesthetic homage to the architecture of the big navy chronometers that feature an extremely thin hand – and the power reserve counter located at 12 o’clock. Both counters are recessed. The sober matted fine grained finishing is interrupted by white gold-made pear-shaped hands. The small opening that you can spot on the base is the day/night indicator, within this is a rotating disc crafted in two colors only; black and white that represent the night-time and the day-time respectively. Another trademark of a Glashütte Original is its big date window, also called the “Panorama Date”.
The best tribute to the history of the Chronometer is the 58-01 caliber. The caliber is 35mm wide and is hosted within a white gold case that measures 42mm, the height is 6,5mm and it reminds us of a big caliber hosted within a pocket watch – despite its 4Hz running frequency -. The power reserve totals 44 hours and 40 minutes and this is the first time that I have come across such a precise and detailed figure. The design is almost monolithic thanks to the ¾ plate, Glashütte Original has decided to leave the hand-engraved balance cock on full view, where a swan-neck fine regulating device has been mounted. Every other part that is not on full display has been fully finished. The caliber boasts a refined seconds stop system; when you pull the winding crown, the seconds hand moves to the beginning position while the minutes hands moves to the index of the next full minute. When the crown is turned to set the time, the minutes hand is locked in the full minute position while the seconds counter is locked in the beginning position so that you can synchronize the hourly time.
It is unbelievable how much Glashütte Original has grown both as a brand and as a manufacturer. Its positioning is one of the most coherent and believable in the haute-horlogerie industry, it is based on contents that no watch expert will ever be able to deny both from the point of view of technical choices and style, an extremely sophisticated style that can satisfy even the most demanding expert. The brand is the real example of the so-called German school, the only true alternative to Swiss haute-horlogerie and, from a certain perspective, even a winning competitor; the ensemble of the case, the dial and the movement represents an enviable aesthetic balance and the Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer with its blue dial stands out even among the different collections of the brand. If, after reading this article, you start thinking about a possible “investment” focusing on this timepiece’s value, you are heading towards the wrong direction and that’s not because a Senator Chronometer isn’t able to acquire any additional value with the passing of time and reach a value that goes beyond a 27,200 euro retail price but simply because this is the type of timepiece that you buy to enjoy for the rest of your life.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Glashutte Original; Horbiter's proprietary photo-shooting by Entropik)
Gaetano C @Horbiter
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