Glashütte Original Senator Excellence
40mm, a top notch caliber and no date at all!
After a week that will mark a great moment in history more for the merging and acquisition operations that took place during it than for anything strictly linked to the world of watch-making, it is high time we went back to talk about real timepieces and pure mechanics. On one side I am referring to Frederique Constant, Alpina and Ateliers de Monaco being acquired by the giant Citizen, an acquisition that makes the presence of the Japanese manufacturer on European soil even stronger and that also adds to its portfolio the already existing brands Angelus and Arnold & Son managed through La-Joux Perret, on the other side I am putting the spotlight on the new caliber 36 by Glashütte Original, the choice of this marketing name appears (willingly?) odd since it is ideally associated to a caliber produced by one of the manufacturer’s major competitors.
Four main pillars have marked the development of the new caliber 36 housed inside the new Senator Excellence; extreme stability, long autonomy, high-range precision and aesthetic style. Glashütte have paid particular attention to the crafting of their new movement by reducing the number of its parts and by coming up with an extremely compact automatic caliber. From an aesthetic point of view the caliber is very smooth also thanks to its overly skeletonized bi-directional winding rotor that totally eliminates the need for a detent click winding system. A bayonet system that resembles that of optical elements fixing in cameras allows the housing of the movement within the case of the Glashütte Original Senator Excellence and makes it extremely shock-resistant while also making it totally maintenance-friendly when servicing operations are required.
The silicon-made hairspring has eventually reached the workshops of Glashütte Original too, the internal migration between the different brands pertaining to the same group is thus continuing and it is no surprise at all that there are still so many differences across them when it comes to applying such technology. It is not a matter of technological maturity but the main point is that the silicon technology is available inside the group but every brand adopts it and then adapts it according to its specific developmental plans.
Glashütte Original is one of the most traditional brands of the group, in my opinion it is even more traditional than Breguet, and before organically inserting this technology in their products they have probably waited for the full development of a new caliber (or possibly even for the development of a family of new calibers.) The silicon-made hairspring is not affected by either magnetic fields or temperature variations and it sports a strongly isochronous oscillation amplitude. The caliber 36 has also been tested in six different positions versus the 5 ones required by COSC, this is a customization of the Swiss testing procedures whose parameters are, however, still quite far from what is required to obtain the Master Chronometer certification, the internal benchmark on the market.
The Glashütte Original Senator Excellence tells us a story of tradition; its caliber 36 puts together the very best of existing applied technologies with the quintessence of traditional watch-making, like, for instance, the 100-hour-power reserve that is linked to the 4Hz-frequency of the balance wheel (when duration meets precision.) In order to achieve this phenomenal result, Glashütte Original have used a single barrel, they have stretched the length of the spring and maximized the number of windings around the shaft of the barrel whose dimensions, if compared to a standard one, have been reduced.
From an aesthetic point of view Glashütte Original calibers are among the most prestigious ones, their finishing and attention to details is quite unique and despite the fact that the caliber 36 is a time-only caliber it has been crafted with a specific objective in mind; to provide the owner of a Glashütte Original Senator Excellence with the utmost pleasure and feeling of satisfaction. The three-quarter main-plate, the stainless steel and gold rotor with the logo on full view, the ribbon-pattern decoration and the gear train of the manual winding system contribute to create a rich and satisfying ensemble where quality is the top priority and perfectly counterbalances the style of quite an “understated” dial.
The dial is an anthem to German simplicity where Roman numbers have been placed at 6 o’clock and at 12 o’clock. The numbers are extremely thin, they have been crafted using a laser cutting technique followed by a galvanization process and they are coupled with the same-colour minutes. The minutes present on the yellow gold version of this timepiece are red and they create quite a fascinating mix with the colour of the case and the blue “Poire” hands.
Glashütte Original have also released a third version of this timepiece that reminds us of their famous observation watches and of some of their collections from ten years ago, the third version sports a stainless steel case, Arabic numbers and white “chemin de fer” minute ring, a combination that is, however, not as visually successful as the other two versions. The case of the Glashütte Original Senator Excellence measures 40mm by 10mm and this classic three-hands is one of the most satisfying, refined, technologically advanced and original timepieces in its category currently available on the market. This could be the perfect topic of conversation to tackle if you are one of those haute-horlogerie connoisseurs that meet in an old town-centre café and bring along a velvet pouch bag containing their very own classic timepiece.
(Photo credit: Horbiter's proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter