This year at Baselworld, Glashütte Original has unveiled a newcomer to their Senator collection, the Senator Excellence, a superb 40 mm dress piece, powered by a completely redesign in-house base movement, the automatic Calibre 36.
Before we would go into more details about the watch, let’s go through the list of new features that the Calibre 36 is bringing with it. The driving principles behind the development on the Calibre 36 were: stability, precision, extended power reserve and timeless beauty. Here is a short video that will walk you through these four principles that we will discus in more detail, after the break.
Don’t be fooled by the dressy look of the Senator Excellence, the movement powering it was design to be robust and reliable. It was the first priority of the Glashütte Original engineers to develop a stable and compact (Ø 32.2 mm / 4.45 mm heigh) automatic movement by reducing the number of components (180 parts), especially targeting the parts vulnerable to wear and tear.
The traditional detent click of the winding system is replaced by a bi-directional-wind reduction gear.
They also use an innovative bayonet mount to settle the movement in the case, similar to the bayonet mount of a camera lens, rendering the movement shock-resistant and, at the same time easier to assemble and service.
The Calibre 36 is the first Glashütte Original movement to be equipped with a silicon balance spring. We see more and more high-end watchmaking brands turning to silicon, because of its anti-magnetic qualities and resistance to changes in temperature. Its advantages are ideally matched to the mechanics of the movement: a bi-directional winding mechanism ensures that the watch remains within the optimal charge range; a guarantee for excellent rate results. In addition, a regulator-free oscillation system makes it possible to adjust the rate using weighted screws directly on the balance rim. The movement is tested and adjusted by Glashütte Original in six different positions – one more than a chronometer certification test would normally require.
Extended power reserve
A stable and precise watch deserves a healthy dose of Gangreserve. The Calibre 36 is delivering 100 hours, more than four days, of power reserve, beating at a frequency of 4 Hertz (28,800 alternations per hour). Usually, a movement with such a long power reserve would have two barrels, but in this case, we have only one spring barrel, although it has a larger diameter and a smaller barrel arbour, making place for a longer mainspring.
When it comes to aesthetics, it’s the usual high standard finishing we would expect from Glashütte Original: polished steel parts, polished and blued screws, three-quarter plate decorated with Glashütte stripe finish, skeletonized rotor with double G, bi-colour galvanised engraving. All this beauty is visible thanks to the sapphire crystal see-through back of the Senator Excellence. To further please the eyes of the wearer, the manual winding chain was left visible, revealing the fascinating work performed as the watch is wound by hand.
The Calibre 36 makes its debut in the Senator Excellence, an elegant minimalist piece following the design patterns of the Senator Collection: slim bezel, domed sapphire crystal, finely ribbed crown, the hands, etc. The Senator Excellence debuts with three models, all having a diameter of 40 mm and a height of 10 mm and matched with black alligator straps.
First of all, a stainless steel and a red gold model, both with silver-grained lacquer dial along with laser-cut, galvanised black indexes, roman numerals and a corresponding railroad minute ring.
The third model, the Senator Excellence Black Dial is made in stainless steel and just like the Senator Observer 2015, is inspired by the famous Glashütte observation watches. Observation watches, also known as deck watches, were used as navigation instruments on the high seas, until late in the 20th century. Deck watches were used as a secondary timepiece to be wound and synchronised daily with the chronometer. Unlike the chronometer that would be kept in the instrument room, deck watches, as pocket watches were portable, helping out in calculating the correct course of the ship, even under the most difficult conditions.
Here, the more classic, blued pear hands of the first two models are replaced with sportier, elongated white-gold sword hands and the indexes and Roman numerals are making place to bold Arabic numerals. The numerals on the black varnished dial and the white-gold hands are painted with plenty of Super-LumiNova in order to offer great visibility in darkness. With the Black Dial model, Glashütte Original is catering to a clientele looking for a great balance between an elegant dress watch and a practical tool piece.
The Calibre 36 is quite a big news, it is a new base movement, opening a new chapter in the history of the German company, hence, the Senator Excellence is a must-have for seasoned Glashütte Original collectors and a great starting point for aspiring collectors. Pricewise, the steel models will cost €8,500, while the red gold version will go for €15,500.