At Baselworld 2018 Glashutte Original released the “skeletonized dial” version of the Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar that aBlogtoWatch originally debuted here. This builds upon the very successful Senator Excellence collection produced in-house by Glashutte Original, with their still new Caliber 36 movement series. The Caliber 36 boasts excellent chronometric performance and reliability, which is why Glashutte Original originally designed it. The Caliber 36-02 which is contained in this Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar reference 1-36-02-03-04-01 has the brand’s newest Perpetual Calendar module installed on it. This is an update to the brand’s existing (non “Excellence”) perpetual calendar watches that do not have all the benefits of the caliber 36 (a discussion best left for other articles since the caliber 36 conversation is exhaustive at best).
Today we look at the “skeletonized dial” version of the Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar which adds to the very modest ranks of “open dial” and skeletonized watches that Glashutte Original produces. When we first debuted this watch we mentioned how this isn’t really a skeletonized watch, in that only the dial is skeletonized (and not the movement). In fact, this watch really doesn’t have a more specific name aside from “Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar,” which is the same name as the rest of the collection that does not have open-worked dials. That’s a shame because we feel that timepieces like this with added levels of personality should be given a unique name and not just a unique reference number. Actually, there are three reference numbers for this model depending on which of the three strap options you select. More on that detail later.
As an aesthetic exercise I appreciate what Glashutte Original is doing here, even if this watch isn’t the prettiest at first glance. In my opinion this is a watch for someone who likes to carefully inspect the details of a watch dial as opposed to someone who wants an immediately good-looking or familiar look. This Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar watch also comes with a close to $40,000 price point, but could easily be missed for not being such a luxurious timepiece. This is more or less the same price as a Rolex Day-Date “President” but is comparatively much more subtle in its expression of conspicuous luxury.
What Glashutte Original did with the dial is open up the middle part while retaining the outer ring that has an hour and minute scale. Further, each of the five areas on the dial which have information related to the calendar complication are connected to the outer ring. Since the middle part is cut out, it would not be incorrect to say that the dial (not the movement) is skeletonized. Glashutte Original then gives the top-plate of the movement an attractive machine guilloche engraving, which is an added decorative layer to the watch.
Technically the open dial works well since it offers a skeletonized look while retaining legibility and functionality (a hallmark of the Glashutte Original brand). With that said, a very good argument can be made that the dial skeletonization adds little aesthetically so much as it offers an “interesting” look at the dial. Skeletonized watches are often liked because they make the dial look pretty in exchange for some lessened legibility or overall utility. Here, we have the easy to read blued-steel hands and perpetual calendar plus moonphase information, but not too much added in the aesthetics department. So for me this is a sort of “half-way” skeletonization project that is a good experiment, but I’m not sure it adds significantly to the personality of this watch. Though, I would gladly wear the watch should it be presented to me.
For the Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar, Glashutte Original uses a 42mm wide case that is 12.8mm thick (certainly a bit on the thicker side). For this model 18k white gold is used, which matches the tones of the exposed movement surfaces. Steel might have been a nice choice since it would have made the watch more accessible to more people, but I do believe Glashutte Original knows that at the least, this version of the Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar is going to be niche in its customer appeal.
The Caliber 36-02 automatic movement is full of nice details, least of which is its roughly 2-second per day accuracy. It also has a number of features designed to support constant accuracy over time along with a 100-hour power reserve (operating at 4Hz). I think I would have liked it if the guilloche-style engraving on the dial was mirrored in some way on the back of the movement, as seen through the sapphire crystal caseback. Given that the perpetual calendar system is a module it means that adjusting the indicators requires pressing inset pushers on the side of the case. In this era where some of the fancier perpetual calendar systems have more elegant adjustment solutions that are faster or don’t require tools, I am already forming the expectation that in the future Glashutte Original follow suit with their own take on the “everyday perpetual calendar” that includes convenience in addition to functionality.
With that said, reading the perpetual calendar information is straightforward and elegant. I am however curious about what the dial would look like if the big date indicator and the moonphase indicator were somehow combined into one element position over 6 o’clock on the dial. This would be technically and artistically challenging, but I think it would help boost the brand’s technical merit (by having the first big date mixed with a moon phase indicator), and also increase the symmetry of the dial which in my opinion would help increase customer interest.
Above I mentioned how this Glashutte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar “Skeletonized Dial” watch has three reference numbers. That is because the deep blue alligator strap comes in one of two lengths on an 18k white gold folding deployant (reference 1-36-02-03-04-30 for the regular length straps and 1-36-02-03-04-50 for the shorter strap – for me). For those who prefer a traditional ardillon buckle there is also the reference 1-36-02-03-04-01. Depending on the strap style, retail price for the Glashutte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar “Skeletonized Dial” watch is $37,500–$39,900 USD. glashuette-original.com