….“is a joy forever”. It’s an old adage but true. Look at Glashütte Original’s Meissen Tourbillon.
Just gaze at that face! Exquisite!
It is a classic, timeless in its appearance and will still shine in years to come as an exemplar of haute horologie and as an aesthetic masterpiece.
Saxon ancestry and artistry
Such qualities are to be expected of a watch of its pedigree, with Dresden connections, that wonderful city where clocks and automatons wooed kings to excess whilst nearby Meissen still produces the finest porcelain. In this watch the two meet; the tradition of the watch and clock makers, amongst them Julius Assman, one of the founders of the watchmaking industry in Glasshütte who moved from the court of Dresden to the town of Glashütte, and the skilled artisans of Meissen.
The flying tourbillon is from Saxony. This horological complication was invented by Alfred Helwig in 1920 as he strived to improve accuracy in timekeeping. He was one of those who taught watchmaking skills at Glashütte and dedicated his life to achieving as great a precision as possible. The Senator Meissen Tourbillon boasts a flying one-minute tourbillon.
Glashütte watches present many faces but none with more appeal than the Senator Meissen Tourbillon, proudly bearing the Meissen swords on the dial and with Tourbillon proclaimed on the back.
Glashütte rests in the Erzgebirge Mountains, south of Dresden. With a population of approximately 4,700, it is the home of German watchmaking. It was there that the industry grew as an avenue for employment when mining ceased and to which those skilled Dresden craftsmen from the Dresden court repaired. In that remote village the residents learnt the skills of watchmaking, nurtured them and passed them on. That tradition continues. In 2008, the German Watch Museum opened there. Part of the building houses a school, appropriately. In the Manufactory nearby, remarkably nearly all of the components that go into a Glashütte Original watch are made and assembled, which can be witnessed by visitors during a guided tour.
For a time residing as it does in what was formerly East Germany Glashütte was part of Glashütter Uhrenbetreibe, a conglomerate formed in 1951, under collectivisation. After the German re-unification it regained its identity and proud name.
Face and Case in Harmony
Say nothing. Just gaze.
The dial is Meissen, the finest wafer of porcelain. The cutaway which houses the small second face at 6 o’clock challenges the craftsman’s skill in its milling. Care is essential to avoid damage to the paper thin porcelain.
The crossed Meissen swords stand out blue against the pure white, shiny disc. Those selected for painting must be flawless and are hand-selected. Their blueness is echoed in the graceful sweeping hands for hours, minutes and seconds and contrast with the black of the slender roman numerals, all hand-painted, totally free-hand. The painting is out-sourced to Meissen. The porcelain paints are applied in two layers, fired separately, to achieve the desired depth of colour.
The visual impact of the 18ct. rose gold case, concentric circles embracing the face, beveled component edges, is exquisite. It highlights those carefully crafted features of the face. The lines sweep in graceful curves and the interhorns are rounded. Brushed gold is set against polished gold, the one enhancing the other. The crown rests without apparent intrusion on the smooth case. The alligator strap sits comfortably in the integrated lugs and is finished with a fold fastener, predictably of rose-gold. It boasts sapphire crystals top and bottom.
The reverse is of German silver with Glashütte ribbing.
The preferred term for the marriage of work done by hand and innovative technology, respecting that broader tradition of watch making brought together with passion for tradition which the term “technology” does not really cover.
Apart from the work undertaken by Meissen, an alliance of expertise and sublime skills, this is a product drawing upon the extraordinary skills of the Glashütte citizens, bred in the traditions and passion of handcrafted watchmaking. Design and production rests with them. Components from the smallest screw to the most complicated movement are hand-finished and hand assembled. The setting of the ¾ plate, of the duplex swan-neck fine adjustment, both require tremendous skill and artistry. Components are highly polished.
The Senator Meissen Tourbillon’s movement is automatic, the Glashutte Original Caliber 94-11. The case is screw based and waterproof up to a depth of 5 ATM, a fact embossed on the case. It has 30 jewels, a detail again etched in the gold. It also proclaims two diamonds and the proud declaration “Made in Germany”. It has bilateral winding which maximises the rotor’s movement and has a power reserve of 55 hours. The blued screws stand out and the gold set rubies are clearly visible, characteristics of watches where the strictest quality standards and specifications have been applied.
“Passion is the best mainspring”
This watch is Glashütte’s mantra exampled. Classical lines, a high quality movement with careful attention to detail showing respect for tradition.
This is German engineering refined and perfected in a village which needed to create a future for itself and in doing so created and continues to create horological masterpieces resulting from an alliance of unique expertise, vision and craftsmanship.