Glashütte Original Senator Automatic: How To Turn Serious Horology Into A Glamorous Event Watch
As the sixty-sixth edition of the Berlinale, Berlin’s Film Festival, captures the movie world’s attention for a week in February 2016, scores of Hollywood and other personalities travel to Berlin to introduce their new films and network in search others.
This is certainly Germany’s most glamorous event, and right at the forefront of it is watch manufacturer Glashütte Original, who has now been a major partner to the Berlinale for six years.
An amazing feat
One of the most amazing feats in conjunction with this has been Glashütte Original’s ability to go from sober, serious watch manufacture to a glittering magnet for glamorous attention.
The Senator Automatic, a three-handed watch from one of the German manufacture’s four pillars makes for a perfect case in point.
By day, this 40 mm timepiece is a sober, serious backbone of the Senator collection powered by automatic manufacture Caliber 39-59.
How serious can a three-handed watch be? Well, it hacks for one. And for another it is a product of a true manufacture.
But what struck me when I was handed this watch to try out during my time as a guest of Glashütte Original at the 2016 Berlinale, was how positively transformed it could look by adding a simple, clean ring of diamonds on the bezel.
Originally conceived as a men’s model, the addition of a few scintillating gems morphs the Senator Automatic into a superb unisex wristwatch ready for anything.
I would never have guessed.
And though this particular watch had never quite struck me as a highlight of the brand’s collection (I’m quite partial to the various Sixties models), all of a sudden I knew this was a splendid timepiece to suit my personality, wrist size, and – above all – the glamorous place in which I was spending a couple of days.
The brand at its best
Though Glashütte Original makes a host of excellent, highly complicated wristwatches, I really find this brand to be at its best in simpler watches – hence, most likely, my partiality to the Sixties line (see Sixties Iconic: Glashütte Original’s Richly Multicolored Homage To Vintage East German Style).
I find that the Glashütte-based designers do an excellent job with straightforward simplicity, really getting each and every detail right.
The Senator line at times can really also look a tad old-fashioned. But the Senator Automatic really hits the sweet spot in every way, hinting at traditionality while remaining undoubtedly fresh.
And the addition of diamonds on the bezel, which is also not usually my favorite type of design expression, just adds icing to the cake here: the solid silver dial with clear Roman numerals and beautiful blued hands is as proportionate as they come; the diamonds add to the look in this case rather than detract.
The crown, too, is proportional to the slim case, though, again, I tend to be a bit more partial to bigger crowns. That having been said, this one was not uncomfortable to use.
The only fly in the ointment for me, which is a detail that tends to run through Glashütte Original’s modern collection, is that the size of Caliber 39 is too small for the contemporary collection measuring 40 mm and more. It’s worth noting that the Caliber 39 was introduced before East German parent company Glashütter Uhrenbetrieb was privatized following Germany’s reunification and has now been more or less replaced by the more modern Caliber 100 as the base three-hand movement.
When you turn the watch over to look at the movement through the transparent case back, the empty space around the movement inside the case is too defined for my taste. It’s a bit like wearing white in the winter: while it’s not a hard and fast rule, it might irk traditionalists a bit.
The very positive note to Caliber 39, which is outfitted with a traditional three-quarter plate and swan-neck fine adjustment, is that it hacks. This is an element that I find important for a true manufacture to include in its movements.
The fine finishing featuring prominent Glashütte ribbing (Geneva waves applied at a slightly different angle) and two-tone galvanic coatings remain instantly recognizable hallmarks of this brand’s decoration arsenal.
For more information, please visit www.glashuette-original.com/senator-automatic.
Quick Facts Senator Automatic
Case: 40 x 9.9 mm, stainless steel set with a ring of brilliant-cut diamonds around the bezel
Movement: automatic Glashütte Original Caliber 39-59
Functions: hours, minutes, hacking sweep seconds
Price: approx. $12,500 with diamonds as shown (approx. $7,000 without diamonds in stainless steel and approx. $15,000 in red gold without diamonds)
Also published on Medium.