Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer Limited Edition
The Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer Limited Edition is housed in a 42mm white gold case, featuring a Panorama Date, silver-plated dial, poire-style hour and minute hands and a rose gold-plated hand-wound movement. This limited-edition model is restricted to just 25 pieces.
In many respects, the marine chronometer was the most important chapter in the history of horology. I concede there were primitive forms of imparting time prior to the advent of marine chronometers. Likewise, scientific luminaries such as Christiaan Huygens advanced clockmaking with the invention of the pendulum. However, the first marine chronometers were literally life savers.
During the 18th century, navigating the world’s oceans was a perilous pursuit. Ships would often crash into rocks and other maritime hazards. At the time, a mariner was unable to determine longitude while at sea. In 1707, four ships came to grief off the lsles of Scilly, culminating in the loss of four ships and 1300 men. This led to the 1714 Longitude Act. Ultimately, John Harrison developed a series of marine chronometers (H1, H2, H3 and H4) which conferred impressive accuracy, despite experiencing numerous positions and shocks as a consequence of violent seas. Horology led to a means of determining longitude while at sea and, by default, preserving life.
England was not alone in overcoming the problem of finding longitude at sea. Ferdinand Berthoud, a son of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, was working in France, crafting clocks and watches. In 1760, Berthoud published papers on marine chronometers. Three years later, in 1763, he was appointed by the King of France to examine Harrison’s H4 marine clock. However, the Englishman refused his request for help. Undeterred, in 1765, Berthoud completed two marine clocks.
The first marine chronometers to be produced in Glashütte were made in 1886. They were subsequently evaluated by the Naval Observatory in Hamburg. Today, ships use a variety of electronic means to identify both longitude and latitude, however, ‘chronometers’ continue to endure, usually in wristwatch form. The term ‘chronometer’ denotes a high degree of precision, an attribute common to some of the finest watches.
The Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer Limited Edition is a new addition to the German marque’s collection. The new model upholds the brand’s love of the Panorama Date, often termed a big date. In addition, the solid gold dial is engraved and subject to a manual application of silver powder. Its high quotient of elegance is heightened with the addition of blued poire-style hour and minute hands. This exquisite high-end watch is housed in white gold and limited to just 25 pieces.
The brand’s press release (July 2020)
Precious materials and luxurious decorative finishes
The Senator Chronometer made its debut in 2009 and in 2010 was voted “Watch of the Year” by readers of the German trade magazine Armbanduhren. Since then the elegant timepiece has become a permanent and successful part of the Senator Collection.
The year 2020 brings a particularly exquisite and precious follow-up model featuring not only a white gold case but a dial in solid gold and a gold-plated manufactory movement with refined decorative finishes.
Certified timekeeping and German chronometer standard
The term “chronometer” refers to the most precise timekeepers of their time. These exceptionally accurate instruments were used primarily for navigation on the high seas in order to determine, by means of the precise time of day, the exact position of a ship. The manufacture of the first marine chronometers in Glashütte began in 1886, which were soon tested by the Naval Observatory in Hamburg, where they achieved excellent results.
The standards today remain equally high: a timepiece may only be called a “chronometer” if certified as such by an authorised testing institute. All wristwatch chronometers from Glashütte Original have their rate precision tested by the German Calibration Service, whose tests are based on the German chronometer standard. The distinguishing feature of the German standard consists in the requirement that the timepiece enable setting of the time precisely to the second, and that the movement complete the entire test while mounted in its case.
Authentic historic models
The design of the displays is inspired by historic marine chronometers: the small second is positioned at 6 o’clock, the running time display at 12 o’clock.
In addition, the characteristic Panorama Date is located at 3 o’clock, whose colour matches that of the dial. Thanks to the so-called “jumping date”, the date change takes place precisely at midnight and takes only a few seconds.
The corrector, which allows one to set the date quickly, is located on the side of the case at 4 o’clock. A discreet day/night indication makes it easier to set the time and is located in a round opening within the running time display: from 6 o’clock in the morning until 6 in the evening the small circle appears in white, from 6 p.m. on in black.
Historic models also served to inspire the concave shape of the bezel, which allows more visual space for the dial.
The bezel is fitted with a delicate knurled edge, which served to improve the grip on marine chronometers of the past.
Elegant colouring and surface texture
The elaborate decorative finishing of the dial testifies to the craftsmanship of the experts who make this miniature work of art at the watchmaker’s own dial manufactory in Pforzheim. The blank is made of solid gold and is engraved with great care. The engravings are subsequently filled with black lacquer and burnt in with heat in a kiln.
In a final step the blanks prepared in this way are manually silver plated. An elaborate process calls for a perfectly calibrated mixture of fine silver powder, salt and water to be rubbed on the dial by hand with a brush, in order to achieve a shining silver surface. This results in a fine, even shimmer across the surface texture of the dial.
Pear-shaped hands in blued steel follow their paths to indicate the hour and minutes. Additional blued hands mark the running time and small second displays, whose silhouettes have been milled into the dial, thus lending the dial additional depth.
The timepiece is powered by the finely finished Calibre 58-03 manual winding movement, whose wheel bridge is also silver plated and subsequently given a galvanic coating in rose gold. The other frame components are also coated entirely in galvanic rose gold.
The innovative manufactory movement features, among others, a refined second-stop mechanism: when the crown is pulled out, the time display stops and the seconds hand is reset to zero and held there; simultaneously the minute hand advances to the next full minute index. When one then turns the crown to set the time of day, the hand jumps from one minute index to the next – thus ensuring that the correct relationship between seconds and minutes is maintained.
A sapphire crystal case back allows one to take in the classic features of the Glashütte art of watchmaking at a glance: the characteristic three-quarter plate, screw-mounted gold chatons, polished and bevelled steel parts and the hand-engraved balance cock unite exceptional watchmaking expertise with a genuine work of art.
Rounding off the new chronometer’s design is a dark blue Louisiana alligator leather strap with a foldover clasp or pin buckle closure in white gold.