July 26, 2017
by Kenny Yeo
First things first, the Glashütte Original Senator Moon Phase Skeletonized Edition watch that you see here isn’t actually a new watch. Glashütte Original actually put out a rose gold version in 2012. But that was a limited edition version of which only 100 pieces were made. On the other hand, this new version, which was announced late last year, will be a regular production model. So if you missed out on the rose gold version in 2012, now’s your chance to get the Senator Moon Phase Skeletonized Edition watch, albeit in a different case material.
The first limited edition Senator Moon Phase Skeletonized Edition watch came in 18k rose gold. The new regular production model one, on the other hand, comes in an 18k white gold case. If you like your watches to look more discreet, the white gold case is a boon. One thing to note is that the entire case is mirror-polished, and that means two things: 1) it glimmers and shines like mad under direct light and 2) for clumsier owners, the watch is a scratch magnet.
Between the moon phase sub-dial at 10 o ‘clock, cone shaped power reserve indicator at 2 o’clock, seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock, and the decorated movement components, the dial can veer on looking almost chaotic but the cohesive execution succeeds. It’s a wonderfully elaborate design done in a distinctly Glashütte way.
Case dimensions remain the same at 42mm in diameter and 11.2mm in height. It sounds modest, but the watch actually wears a little larger than you might think. That is because the lugs are quite long. They do curve downwards so wearing comfort isn’t too bad. However, the lug to lug length of the watch is quite substantial, which means it wears more like a 44mm or even 45mm watch. Fortunately, the case is quite thin, which should be the case for a watch that is as ornate as this.
The crown doesn’t screw down, but it is signed with the double-G logo of Glashütte Original. The sapphire case back is screwed down and the watch has a rated water resistance of 30m. This is pretty much standard stuff for dressy hand-wound watches such as this.
The dial of this new white gold Glashütte Original Senator Moon Phase Skeletonized Edition watch is identical to the rose gold model from five years ago. Unlike some other skeletonized watches, Glashütte Original hasn’t done away with the dial entirely. In fact, to put it more accurately, the dial has been “edited” and sliced to reveal the skeletonized movement below. The moon phase display, power reserve indicator, and the subsidiary seconds, are actually all intact. The chapter ring is intact too and the hours are rendered in classic-looking Roman numerals and on the periphery is a railroad-style minutes track. The hour and minute hands, as well as the hands for the power reserve indicator and subsidiary seconds, are all flamed blue.
Legibility is usually an issue with skeletonized watches, but the Glashütte Original Senator Moon Phase Skeletonized Edition watch isn’t too hard to read all things considered. The moon phase display in between 10 and 11 o’clock is easy to read and so is the power reserve indicator in between 1 and 2 o’clock. The subsidiary seconds indication, on the other hand, is a little harder, mainly because the seconds hand is a little thin. But I think this is something that most owners can get used to, once they realize it is quicker to scan for the seconds hand by looking at the ring that houses the seconds track. Besides, how often do you need to know the exact second?
As you might be able to see from the photos, it can be quite hard to make out where the short hour hand is especially if it is hovering above parts of the dial that have been cut out. The highly decorated movement doesn’t provide enough contrast to make the flamed-blue hour hand easily distinguishable. Luckily, reading the minutes is much easier as the thin flamed-blue minute hand extends all the way out to the minute track.
The movement here is the Calibre 49-13 and it is a skeletonized movement that has been heavily and intricately decorated and embellished by hand. Flipping the watch over, you can make out what is left of the three-quarters plate that is a tradition of German watchmaking.
The remaining bridges are beveled by hand and feature lots of hand-engraving. The hand-graving is really intricate and one could easily stare at it for hours and just soak in all the details. The winding wheels have double sunburst decoration and the movement jewels sit in screwed gold chatons. Visible screws are either flame-blued or polished.
But what I enjoy most about the movement is looking at the large screwed balance wheel. The Calibre 49-13 beats at 4Hz and so the large balance wheel swings quite rapidly. There’s a swan-neck fine adjustment mechanism and the balance cock is engraved in true Glashütte tradition. Power reserve of the Calibre 49-13 is about 40 hours, which isn’t too bad considering its 4Hz beat rate and that it only has a single mainspring.
I’m usually not a fan of skeletonized watches, but there is a lot to admire about the Glashütte Original Senator Moon Phase Skeletonized Edition watch. For a start, it is slightly more legible than other skeletonized watches, but only slightly. Trying to tell the hour is slightly problematic for me, but at least the phase of the moon is easy to read and it is easy to tell how much power the watch has in its movement. But what I admire most about the watch is the amount of intricate engraving that has gone into the movement. Is it slightly over the top? Maybe. But it is quite nice to look at and it is something that sets this watch apart from the rest. The Glashütte Original Senator Moon Phase Skeletonized Edition watch is priced at $45,000. glashuette-original.com