Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer - The Only One

Inside the Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer hides a complication no other brand has.

Glashütte Original is in good company when it comes to making timepieces that possesses the Zero Reset (second hand) function. A. Lange & Söhne, Montblanc (with a Minerva calibre), Akrivia and Jaeger LeCoultre are the other brands that I know how that has timepieces with the zero reset feature. What's the big deal you might say. Big deal if you are like me - one who waits till the second hand reached zero (sixty) before pulling the crown, setting the time and depressing the crown and hoping the minute hand does not advance forward beyond the marker. You will agree with me that when you start winding the watch and the seconds hand is at the 10 second marker that you have to wait 50 seconds till you pull the crown. The zero reset solves that problem.

Basically, what the zero reset does is exactly what it says - it resets to zero when you pull the crown. Very much like the flyback function in a chronograph when you depress the pusher. It surprised me that many brands do not consider this a useful feature or is it because it takes too much to even incorporate such a feature into a timepiece. So a few brands have done that but no more than one hand full in the watch industry and Glashütte Original is one of them.

Zero reset only addresses the first part of my pet peeve - what about the shifting minute hand when you depress the crown. Fact is many (general) automatic movements and even some in-house movements are well known to have the minute hands shift when the crown is depressed. And for many collectors, this is not acceptable. Enter Glashütte Original with the minute increment adjustment mechanism.

Notice in the picture above the second hand it at the zero position and how the minute hand sits nicely at the 11 minute position. When the crown is pulled, the zero reset mechanism returns the second hand to zero and the minute hand to the nearest minute marker. When the user turns the crown to adjust the minute, the minute hand ticks away, yes it ticks from one minute marker to the next and so on. The feeling is a smooth ticking sensation when you turn the crown. Ingenious!

What is even more amazing is the reset function - if the second hand is before the 30 second mark and you pull the crown, not only will the second hand reset to zero, the minute hand will retreat to the minute before. For instance, the minute hand could be between the 10 and 11 minute mark and the second hand is at the 20 second mark, when you pull the crown, the second hand advances (clockwise) to zero while the minute hand retreats to 10 (minute). The same is true when the second hand is at the 35 second mark and you pull the crown, the second hand advances to zero while the minute hand advances to the 11 minute mark. Impressive!

Technical features aside, the timepiece on the whole is well proportioned. Large date at three o'clock... notice how the dial is grainy rather than a smooth dial.

And the blued hands are pretty well finished too.

Power reserve is at the 12 and a day/night indicator window within the power reserve. The day/night indicator comes in the form of a black or white window that changes at 6 o'clock - 6 pm and it changes to a black window and at 6am, changes back to white. Picture below is showing as 2.24am with the day/night indicator being black.

And the movement side... Featuring the Calibre 58-01, the manual winding movement is all German - the three quarter plate construction, the ribbing...

...the hand engraved balance cock. All signature features of German watchmaking.

The finishing on the Senator Chronometer is industrial. Ok but not great. I had expected more on the finishing of the movement especially when this timepiece is one of their higher end pieces. Power reserve is also rather limited at 42 hours.

The movement is Chronometer certified by the Glashütte Observatory who provides the certification while working in conjunction with the offices of weights and measures in Thuringia (LMET) and Saxony (SLME). While the certification is similar to the Swiss standard, the main difference is that the movement is encased in the watch case when undergoing certification. For the Swiss COSC, the movement is encased in a temporary case.

The 42mm Senator Chronometer was unveiled some years ago and I first saw it at an exhibition in Bangkok. I recall the piece to be rose gold with the same white coloured dial. The first timepiece that is exacting in it time adjustment capabilities - zero reset second and actual minute adjustment.

For more information on the timepiece and its variations, please visit the Glashütte Original website. The website video shows all the features of the Senator Chronometer including the minute increment peculiarity.

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