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Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer Watch Review

Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

I’ve been wanting to review the Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer watch since it was debuted back in 2009. Part of the larger Senator watch collection, the Senator Chronometer has a beautiful symmetrical dial design and wonderful feature set that make for an attractive and technically superior timepiece. Pictures alone don’t do the Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer justice because the real appeal here is what it is like to operate the movement.

The Senator Chronometer is the Glashütte, Germany-based brand’s first “chronometer” watch. Most people consider “chronometer” watches to be certified by COSC in Switzerland, but that isn’t always the case. There are also German chronometer watches which mirror the COSC standards and are certified by the Glashütte Observatory. The watch retailer Wempe – who also produces watches under their house label – apparently set up a certification department in the Glashütte Observatory in about 2006 designed to test watches that fall within certain performance requirements under DIN 8319 standards. While German and Swiss chronometers both share the daily rate result maximum range of minus four or plus six seconds per day, there is an important difference.

Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Apparently, chronometer watches certified by the Glashütte Observatory are movements which are tested inside of the case. This is unlike COSC chronometers which are movements that are tested outside of the watch case. The difference matters, and a better indication of real-world performance is clearly given when movements are tested after being all cased up. This explanation about German chronometers is important and helps explain the “Chronometer” term which is printed on the dial of this German watch, as opposed to the “Chronometer” label which is printed on the dial of, say, a Swiss Rolex watch.

Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

German Chronometer certification isn’t the only thing which marks the in-house-made Glashütte Original caliber 58-01 movement as being special. To date, I don’t believe that any other Glashütte Original movements operate in exactly this way, aside from the caliber 58-04 (an evolution) which exists in the later-released Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer Regulator. So let me explain the various small details which, in my opinion, make this a movement that will probably bring a smile to your face when first operating it.

Let’s first discuss the caliber 58-01’s basic operating specs. The movement has traditional finishing and decor, but operates as a modern movement should. It has 44 hours of power reserve and operates at 4Hz (28,800bph). The movement is 6.5mm thick and quite nice to look at, with its very distinguishable Côtes de Genève-style pattern that is actually a bit different which GO refers to as Côtes de Glashütte finishing, differing with a distinctive German look. The movement also features fine edge beveling, blued steel screws, and gold chatons. In typical Glashütte-region manner, the caliber 58-01 uses a larger “3/4” plate on the rear of the movement which was designed long ago by A. Lange & Söhne to increase the durability of mechanical watch movements.

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Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Of course, the recessed regulation assembly benefits from having a hand-engraved balance cock, and you’ll notice a cool set of planetary gears adjacent to the mainspring system. Part of this goes to the power reserve indicator display on the dial. Other features meant to enhance performance are the screw-regulated balance wheel and the swan-neck regulation system.

Functionally, the 58-01 is manually wound and offers the time with subsidiary seconds as well as a power reserve indicator and a big date display at 3 o’clock. Last, there is a small, round window at the bottom of the power reserve indicator dial which is an AM/PM indicator. As a daily wear, the indications on the dial are ideal, and reading everything on the classic-looking face is extremely legible. The first feature that you’ll only understand by operating the movement is the “seconds reset” feature. Many watches have a “hacking seconds hand” which stops moving when you pull the crown out. This is designed to enable the user to set the time more precisely. With the Senator Chronometer, Glashütte Original steps it up a bit with a system that not only stops the seconds hand when the crown is pulled out, but also jumps the seconds hand to “0” – or the 12 o’clock position. The idea, again, is to make setting the precise time more simple.

Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

My favorite feature in the movement is a bit different and something I’ve never seen before until I first played with the Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer a few years ago. The same system also exists in the Senator Chronometer Regulator. This system is designed to help make setting the time more precise. Any time you adjust the time on an analog watch, you have freedom to position the minute hand wherever you like on the dial. Of course, what you want to do is position the hand at an exact minute position.

So that is exactly what the Glashütte Original Senator Chronometer allows: the minute hand moves with 60 little clicks, sort of like how a rotating bezel might work. The operation is subtle but highly effective, and the result is the satisfaction in being able to set the precise time, all the time. Nerdy? Absolutely, but this is the type of stuff you should be looking for in high-end watch movements. The best part is that you really feel as though Glashütte Original was trying to produce not just a beautiful machine, but also a precision instrument (the German philosophy to all of their best watchmaking).

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  • Dual barrels and only 44 hours of power reserve? yeah it’s nice looking but something about the 12 descending into the power reserve indicator bothers me a little. It would be nice if they had another crown position or another crown (or dual adjusters) so that you could adjust only the hour hand back and forth but in this case without resetting the seconds and minutes. So that as you change time zones you would not lose your current minute and seconds in the process. mechanically a lot to like about this watch.

    Besides COSC and Glashutte it’s possible to have a chronometer certified by the Besançon observatory in France (just a few km over the border from the Swiss watchmaking centers in the Jura).

    • Boogur T. Wang

      Perhaps we should set-up a shuttle service for this certification procedure?

      • Oh yeah, plus there is Metas which Omega uses. Chronometer? Pick the flavor you like…

  • anel

    A bit large for my taste, but the design is impeccable. The automatic reset is an interesting technical complication, useful up to a degree.

    Now for the negatives:
    -I feel it’s a little bit thick for a hand-wound movement
    -A 42mm watch should have more power reserve

  • Aditya

    While I could have wished for a slightly smaller and thinner case, I think the watch is absolutely stunning. It’s just too bad though that GO should be priced 40-50% lower than what they are priced at. I’d take an ALS or JLC over a GO given their current price points even by sacrificing complications. More is the pity, if GO was actually value for money it would be one of my favourite manufactures along with FPJ, JLC, ALS and Grand Seiko and not necessarily in that order.

  • Marius

    In my opinion, Glashutte Original offers some of the best value on the market, alongside brands such as JLC and Grand Seiko. Watches such as the Pano series, the 60s, 70s, and the Senator range offer incredible value at the under $20,000 price point. They have very good in-house movements as well as a high-quality fit & finish of the dials and cases.

    However, once you reach the $30,000 level, Glashutte Original seems a little less compelling and this watch is a very good example. Sure, it`s a great watch, but the overall quality level is slightly below Lange. What`s more, keep in mind that Lange is famous for applying a high-end finish even to the parts that are not visible, whereas GO mostly decorates only the visible parts. Additionally, for this price you could also buy a JLC Duometre Chronograph that also features a highly interesting movement.

    The reality is that when people spend over $30,000 on a watch, the brand name becomes very important and GO is currently not in that club. Case in point: even the JLC Duometre, although a great watch, is not a best seller simply because many potential buyers will rather buy a less complicated, but equally expensive watch from Patek, Vacheron, AP, etc. because these brands are perceived as being more prestigious.

    • Aditya

      Even under the USD 20,000 price point JLC have GO beat squarely. GO certainly can’t be considered good value at any price point, at-least in the dress watch category. I still want the Pano Reserve blue though!

      The JLC duometre was never intended to go up against Patek, VC, AP on prestige, it was for purveyors of fine horology to have what very well could be one of the finest types of movements in existence. When it comes to prestige, half the world will scoff at anything that is not Rolex. If I had to chose only one manufacturer to buy from for the rest of my life, it would be JLC hands down.

    • The Duometre a Chronographe also came to mind as a good, but notably more expensive comparison. The problem is that the chronographe is only available for sale in PG for quite a bit more than this. The moonphase variant bottoms out at $37k but is not as compelling as the chrono IMO.
      With regard to Lange, you will dry out your options if you only rate a watch by movement finishing. The GO offers more than ALS at this price point. Sure it might be at the expense of half a days extra polishing of an unseen part, but something like the 1815 up/down, which is a glorious watch, does not have as much functionality as this. I have to say I would really struggle with a choice between both and so long as I could put a Lange 1 into my collection, I would go for the GO in this case.

    • DanW94

      The holy trinity is not the only club in town for people purchasing 30k plus watches and perceived prestige is not the only reason those same people purchase said watches. I think it’s a bit more involved than just that…

  • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

    I agree with Ariel, this watch could be a much more interesting value proposition in steel.

    Another thing: why doesn’t GO have a boutique in London? I’d be inclined to check out some of their pieces (especially the Sixties Iconic dials), but Paris is the closest location.

    • Graeme

      The Wempe store on New Bond Street used to have a selection of Glashütte Original pieces in. That might save you a trip on the Eurostar.

      Look on the bright side, I’m in Australia these days, and the brand has only just arrived here. Prior to that, it would have involved a long haul flight.

      • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

        Thanks I’ll check them out. Just afraid that some of the more exiting GO stuff is actually boutique only.

  • BrJean

    This precise minute hand setting is an ultimate killer feature! When setting time on my watches I always try to do it perfectly and usually it takes some effort to align minute hand with a minute marker. And there is always a chance that when you push the crown back the minute hand will slide a bit (ETA 7750, I’m talking about you!) and you have to start all over. Ahhhrrrrr!!

    • laup nomis

      I’m the opposite. If you wear a rotation of mech/automatic watches, it’s difficult and time consuming to set them exactly. I just set it to the nearest minute, and don’t worry 🙂

      • Kuroji

        Ditto. The only watch I try to set right on the money is my superquartz. It’s pretty pointless with the rest. Sometimes I’ll reset the seconds on a digi or anadigi if I’m bored enough.
        I also set the date sometimes.

  • This, actually the regulator in WG, is one of my all time favorites at this price point. The design is bang on the money and the functionality is as crisp and perfect as anything coming out of Glashutte. Loved it when it was released, still love it now. Please please, GS, once more but in steel!

    • Berndt Norten

      once more with steel… and with FEELING ! It’s gorgeous, tried true and tested. But… a bit staid. A bit ‘old man.’ But yes, I’d wear it because that backside is sublime.

  • SuperStrapper

    Not my favourite GO movement, but maybe my favourite GO watch. Which is saying something considering the lineup.

    Steel would be nice, but at least in white gold. The coloured gold takes away from the overall aesthetic.

    • Kuroji

      Don’t leave me hanging.

      • SuperStrapper

        On my favorite GO movement? I’m not sure… I’m just not all that into the 3/4 plate stuff so much. I know it is traditional, but that means little to me when you see other GO movements like PantoRetroGraph or cal 60 and the like.

        The more it looks like big brother ALS, the better.

        • Kuroji

          I hate the power reserve indicator so much it hurts, and I suspect the trick movement would be even better with a central seconds hand.

  • The precision minute hand setting is fantastic! What a simple, elegant, functional idea. If I had that on all my watches I could probably cut back on my OCD meds.

    • Kuroji

      That’s cool, but when the alignment goes off, it will drive you insane.

      • I would hope, for that kind of money, that doesn’t happen for a long, long time!

  • cluedog12

    For the past year or so, the watch market has been tanking, yet this versatile masterpiece is still only available in precious metals. As soon as Glashutte Original releases the updated Panograph and Senator Chronometer in steel, I’m going to buy some Swatch stock.

  • CryptoReporter

    Gorgeous watch really. I always start with… what is it I “dont” like about this watch? And the answer on this one is none.

  • MEddie90

    The senator chronometer has got to be of the most interesting and innovative watches on the market yet seems often under appreciated. Awesome PR indicator (I love the placement and the planetary gear system) a subtly integrated and legible grand date, handy am/pm marker, the zero reset seconds and precise minute setting for accuracy. Not earth moving complications but well done and the type that seem to strive for simple and accurate reading of the time.

    Put all of that under a gorgeous textured dial and you’re onto a winner. If only they offered a more budget version in steel.

    Also as a side note “”3/4″ plate on the rear of the movement which was designed long ago by A. Lange & Söhne to increase the durability of mechanical watch movements.”. While its true that a 3/4 plate is more durable in general than a full bridge movement the main reason the 3/4 plate was initially developed by my understanding was to slim down the full plate movements most manufacturers were using at the time, not durability.

  • Tom

    Incredible. Truly amazing to look at. Unfortunately entirely out of my price range. This is a great for very unique and affordable (sub £100) watches https://royaletimepieces.com

  • Bill W

    What a handsome watch with a wonderfully unique movement. The only thing that concerns me is that I’ve heard a lot of women are wearing these now, so I really don’t know if I should wear it.

    • laup nomis

      Haha

  • mandimemike

    Absolutely superb offering from Glashutte Original. Aesthetically beautiful in all aspects, housing a genuinely interesting and engaging movement. I love secret or under the radar complications that can only be enjoyed by the owner, and to be honest, most of the complex ‘complications’ seen today aren’t called upon during normal wear. Here, GO has considered what type of interaction owner’s have the most with their watches, and have improved that experience greatly. This one gets a standing ovation from me.

  • Kuroji

    Why AB/AUF when all the other text is English?

  • Boogur T. Wang

    A very fine timepiece.

  • funNactive

    The style is not exactly my cup of tea, but I like the accuracy of the movement & setting the watch.

  • Brian Russell

    Beautiful watch, but would love to see it in steel like others. Would also like to see more movement and less plate.

    Also, http://www.pronounceitright.com/pronunciation/glashutte-5404

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