Today, Glashütte Original officially announces an important extension to its Senator Excellence watch collection, that is also a clear message to its collectors of where the brand is going. This article introduces two new watch models (each available in steel or 18k red gold) which are the Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Panorama Date and the Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Panorama Date Moon Phase. Each of these watches include the brand’s still new and really cool Caliber 36 automatic movement, which was introduced earlier in 2016 with the three-hand Glashütte Original Senator Excellence watches (here).

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To call these watches new is not entirely accurate, even though they are new models with nice refinements. People who follow Glashütte Original will be quick to point out that the esteemed German brand has been selling extremely similar watches for a while (with almost identical names). The Glashütte Original Senator Panorama Date and Glashütte Original Senator Panorama Date Moon Phase are existing models that lack the “Excellence” part of the name. What Glashütte Original is doing is using the Caliber 36 movement architecture in more and more of their core collection. That means a better, more accurate, more reliable movement as well as some design tweaks to handsome, longstanding parts of the brand’s collection.

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The Caliber 36 movement has a lot of excellent features, which I think most watch lovers are really going to like. The simple three-hand model with no date that Glashütte Original debuted the movements in offered a clean way of introducing the handsome mechanism. The brand’s intent with the movement is to serve as a base, and the Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Panorama Date and Panorama Date Moonphase add modules with additional complications, which are the big date as well as the big date plus moon phase features respectively.

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Previous non-“Excellence” models had the Caliber 100-03 and 100-04. This will likely be phased out very soon, and I fully expect Glashütte Original to keep putting the caliber 36 in more movements. One of the nice things that I think people will appreciate is that now the big date and moon phase indication complications are each set with the crown, as the inset case pushers have been eliminated. A big thumbs up for that, as it makes adjusting the watch more convenient and the case overall more aesthetically pleasing.

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The moon phase complication now lasts for about 122 years before having to adjust it. But I am sure the movement will need a few services during that time… You also have a more precise jumping date complication rather than a slightly slower-moving one when midnight hits. I also want to mention that adjusting the big date complication is more satisfying from a tactile perspective. You get a nice solid sounding “clink” when you change the date which I think you’ll really enjoy.

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Overall, these aren’t just the same Senator Panorama Date and Panorama Date Moon Phase watches with a new movement, but rather tweaks and enhancements that you can feel and appreciate. I spend a lot more time talking about the Caliber 36 in an upcoming, more full review. Suffice it to say that this is an excellent base caliber operating at 4Hz with 100 hours of power reserve, a silicon balance spring, and fantastic performance that comes complete with a German Chronometer certification from the brand with individualized performance results.

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The 40mm-wide case size is also unchanged, and the Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Panorama Date and Moon Phase watches continue to look handsome yet substantial on the wrist. Thicker than the time-only, three-hand Senator Excellence, it feels like a solid 40mm rather than something smallish. I will, however, say that if you are the type of person who feels 40mm is a large watch and that 42mm wide is too large, I recommend that you make sure to get a shorter strap for the watch or opt out of the folding deployant buckle, as it will not be as comfortable as the watch with a more traditional ardillon-style pin buckle on the glossy black alligator strap.

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Other welcome design elements are tweaks to the dial design, which are slightly refined and very handsome-looking. The blued-steel hands are perfectly sized, and everything is wonderfully legible. Part of this is because Glashütte Original bought their Pforzheim dial supplier a few years ago and tightly controls dial production (including date wheels, etc.) to maximize dial beauty and legibility. Notice the red color accents on the dial of the red gold models which make for a nice, slightly sporty personality. For me, this element reminds me that these aren’t just pretty watches but also tools in the German watch tradition.

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In steel or 18k red gold, the two watches are excellent choices even if they don’t feel totally new given that the duo’s major novelty is in the new module as well as the update of existing collection pieces. I am not sure if existing owners of the Glashütte Original Senator Panorama Date or Senator Panorama Date Moon Phase watches will immediately upgrade, but for first-time buyers of these models the new Exellence versions are an excellent choice (had to say that).

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Glashütte Original does a good job of offering useful, attractive luxury and prices that feel more fair than a lot of the competition, and you don’t see a sacrifice in value. While there might not be as much hand finishing as some watches from, say, A. Lange & Söhne that can cost a few times more… Glashütte Original isn’t asking you to spend a few times more. In other words, there is good value here for watches that I think people are going to get a lot of use out of now and into the future. Price for the Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Panorama Date is US$10,400 in steel on the alligator strap, US$11,900 in steel on the matching steel bracelet, and US$20,900 in 18k red gold. The Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Panorama Date Moon Phase in steel on the alligator strap is US$11,400, on the matching steel bracelet it is US$12,900, and in 18k red gold it is US$21,900.

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