Timekeeping accuracy is the ultimate objective measure of high-end watchmaking creations. Grasping the intangible flow of time by measuring it reliably and precisely goes beyond the subjectivity of perception and helps set apart aspirational partakers in horology from those who dedicate their efforts to each and every detail that makes a fine watch stand out. The Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer’s breathtakingly detailed exterior, remarkably refined dial, and chronometrical performance are prime examples of the Saxon manufactory’s dedication to watchmaking’s true values. Today, let us discover its special focus on chronometry.
With its purposeful dial layout and exceptional legibility, the Senator Chronometer clearly indicates its inherent connection to history’s most accurate timekeepers. While on the wrist, every glance at the high-contrast dial will suffice to remind its wearer of this watch’s genuine sources of inspiration — even without measuring its certified chronometer performance or looking at its specially designed manufactory caliber. Chronometers, more specifically marine chronometers, have been with us for more than 250 years since their invention as a device to revolutionize navigation in open waters. In the 18th and 19th centuries, marine chronometers were the be-all and end-all of marine navigation tools, as their never-before-seen timekeeping precision allowed seafarers to accurately determine their longitude. Marine chronometers have been produced in Glashütte since 1886, and the small town in the Ore Mountains quickly became the center of German chronometer production, for example, through the works of Paul Stübner and Gustav Gerstenberger.
The German Watch Museum of Glashütte is home to a great many marine chronometers designed and manufactured in the Saxon center of German watchmaking history. The Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer pays homage to the accuracy-focused design and engineering of these devices — and its determination to place a true German chronometer on the wrist goes way beyond pure aesthetics. Still, let us begin with exactly that — and dig deeper as we proceed.
For a start, the dial composition of the Senator Chronometer pays homage to those century-old pieces of horological technology by placing its running time indicator directly above the center of the dial and its running seconds indicator directly below it. Accurate reading of these indications is of primary importance — notably, painstakingly optimized legibility is a design trait of every Glashütte Original timepiece manufactured today. As such, the hours and minutes are indicated by main hands of exceptionally grand proportions. Different in shape for quick and easy identification and of the perfect length to make to-the-minute reading easy, these hands indicate not just the time, but also Glashütte Original’s uncompromised focus on functionality.
Another rare, subtle, yet fascinating tribute to marine chronometers is a peculiar detail of the running time indicator at 12 o’clock: When the Senator Chronometer is fully wound and every bit of its 44-hour and 40-minute long power reserve remains, the indicator sits at “Auf,” at what is essentially the full mark. This is in line with how marine chronometers displayed their energy status — what actually is read here is not the power reserve remaining, but rather the time since fully wound. For example, when the Senator Chronometer’s running time indicator reads 18, that is not 18 hours remaining of its power reserve, but that the watch has been running for 18 hours. Placed neatly inside the running time display is a small aperture that functions as the day/night indicator.
Its Glashütte Original Manufactory Calibre 58-01 allows the Senator Chronometer to pursue precision in unique — and uniquely interactive — ways. Specially designed and manufactured in-house by Glashütte Original, Calibre 58 is equipped with two very special mechanical complications that were developed with unrivaled precision in mind. Sheer chronometric performance, which we shall discuss soon, begins with a timepiece’s ability to be accurately synchronized with a dependable reference time source. To allow for this, the Senator Chronometer is equipped with a special zero-reset mechanism: once the crown is pulled out, the balance wheel is stopped and, at the same time, the subsidiary seconds hand is quickly and precisely reset to its zero position. This is combined with a minute detent for the minute hand to ensure that, once the watch has been restarted, the minute hand passes exactly and accurately over its respective minute mark when the seconds hand completes a full minute.
In addition to this, the minute hand can be adjusted through the crown in a uniquely accurate and tactile way: through one-minute jumps. When the crown is pulled out into its time adjustment position and turned backward or forward, the minute hand advances backward or forward in one-minute jumps. The haptic feedback on the crown, as this fine mechanical interaction happens, is a truly unique sensation — something highly rewarding and a solid indicator of the mechanical refinement that defines Calibre 58.
Flip the Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer around, and a spectacular caseback view begins to reveal yet more of its refinement. Defined by four characteristic elements, the sapphire crystal caseback features fascinating insights into the movement, including a large mainspring barrel, a system of planetary gears connected to it, a large, partially openworked three-quarter plate in true Saxon heritage, and an individually hand-engraved balance cock. Additional components such as the screw-mounted gold chatons, the mirror-polished swan-neck fine adjustment system, the individually heat-blued screws, and the refined, engraved, golden lines of text render the Calibre 58’s appearance a solid match to its exceptional performance.
Timekeeping performance is an objectively measurable and verifiable aspect of a fine watch — and, in an effort to best prove its outstanding performance, Glashütte Original ensures that every Senator Chronometer is individually tested in the astronomical observatory of Glashütte, which nowadays is also the home of a chronometer testing institute. The testing procedure is independently certified by the German State Offices for Weights and Measurements of Thuringia (Landesamt für Mess- und Eichwesen Thüringen, or LMET) and that of Saxony (Staatsbetrieb für Mess- und Eichwesen, or SME). These independent bodies make sure that all tests are performed in accordance with the German DIN 8319 standard, created specifically for this purpose.
The German chronometer test lasts 15 days and checks the precision of every submitted timepiece in five different positions and under three different temperatures. These aspects are, in fact, rather similar to how the Swiss independent chronometer testing facility, COSC, tests its movements. A big difference, however, is that under DIN 8319, the submitted timepieces are cased up and complete watches, not only movements. This is done to ensure that the complete watch — often with delicate cases crafted from gold, for instance, with select Senator Chronometer references — performs to design and that no alteration during the testing process can happen (as it could when casing a movement). These are complete watches that, once tested and certified, require just the fitting of a strap or a bracelet and a final quality control procedure to ensure their perfect condition — and then are ready to be delivered to their loving new owner.
With its roots firmly set in the history of Saxon watchmaking, the Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer has taken what made chronometers such invaluable pieces of precision engineering and turned it into a modern watchmaking tour de force. It exemplifies the manufactory’s dedication to marrying exceptional wristwatch design with a beauty that isn’t just skin deep. With its unique zero-reset and minute detent mechanisms, accurately moderated running time display and certified timekeeping precision, the Senator Chronometer upkeeps Glashütte Original’s reputation of excellence. Discover every Senator Chronometer model through Glashütte Original’s homepage.
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