I literally feel as though I am wearing a beautiful clock on my wrist while donning the Glashütte Original Senator Observer watch. New for 2015, this latest entrant in the Glashütte Original Senator family blends sporty sophistication with classical appeal. This, in my opinion, makes it a win for many tastes. We liked the Glashütte Original Senator Observer so much that we included it in our list of The Top 10 Watches Of Baselworld 2015. So now, after wearing the watch for a while, how does it live up to our initial excitement?
Perhaps the most important difference between the specific Glashütte Original Senator Observer watch we covered in our hands-on piece and this review model is the bracelet. While the watch we handled for our hands-on article back in April of 2015 has a black calf leather strap, I requested this review model to be on the available steel bracelet. It was good news that we were able to get this because, in my opinion, the bracelet really transforms the Glashütte Original Senator Observer into a different watch from a visual standpoint. It doesn’t hurt that the bracelet is very uniquely engineered and great to wear.
So let’s get the topic of the bracelet out of the way. Honestly, the watch looks good on the black leather strap or the bracelet – and people of good taste can easily disagree on which helps the watch be more handsome. I personally happen to have a favorable bias toward good bracelets, so I am partial to the Glashütte Original Senator Observer on this bracelet.
From the outside, the steel bracelet is a three-link style with a polished center link and brushed outside links. Everything fits together very snugly, and there are no gaps between the lugs. Simply wearing or running the bracelet over your fingers will allow you to appreciate the incredibly tight tolerances involved in producing the bracelet links.
What really impresses me is that despite how tightly the bracelet links and parts fit together, I didn’t experience any arm hair pulling – which can often result from bracelets like this that aren’t engineered as well. With that said, your mileage may vary when it comes to hair pulling, since it really depends on the length and thickness of your arm hair (yes, really).
Look at the sides of the bracelet links, and you might be surprised to see rivets but no screw heads. How exactly do you adjust the size of the bracelet? The system for that is also interesting. Glashütte Original developed for these bracelets (I don’t think they are unique to the Glashütte Original Senator Observer) a “less tool-intensive” system that uses a screw-style pusher on the inside of the bracelet. Using a screw driver, you press in the screw and then turn it about 90 degrees. The screw pusher stays in a bit, and that means the adjacent link bar can be pushed out to adjust the bracelet. I know that doesn’t sound much simpler than unscrewing a bar, but it does at the very least make for a more “engineered” system – a system that only took me about 10 minutes to figure out. Instances like this really make me wish watch brands included an instruction manual with things such as how to adjust the bracelet links.
In addition to all that, the bracelet features a push-button micro-adjust. This has been around on some Glashütte Original bracelets in the past, and I believe Glashütte Original tinkers with the system now and again to upgrade it. In order to use the micro-adjust system (similar in concept to some used by Rolex and Omega), the wearer actually presses in the Glashütte Original logo in the deployant clasp. That releases the bracelet to lengthen or contract by a few millimeters. This is very welcome, not only when initially sizing the bracelet, but to offer some “breathing room” for those times when your wrist naturally expands.
In my opinion, there is something much more “substantial-looking” about the Glashütte Original Senator Observer on the bracelet. It has a more “casual sport” look that, in my opinion, makes it more relevant for daily wear on a lot of people’s wrists. On the black strap, the Glashütte Original Senator Observer still looks great, but feels more vintage inspired and “mature.” For the classic nautical clock look in a modern package, you should opt for the watch on the bracelet. In my opinion, the bracelet is worth the $1,500 retail premium over the leather strap on the Glashütte Original Senator Observer.
Speaking of nautical clocks, that is what inspired the dial. Glashütte Original has another Senator watch with precisely the same movement and dial layout but in off-white and with more classic, non-lumed hands and numerals. The matte deep gray (almost black) dial serves as an excellent background for the hands and markers. Glashütte Original really took the concept of a ship’s deck clock and adopted it for use on the dial of a modern luxury sports watch. This doesn’t just feel “inspired” by a ship’s clock, it feels like a successful emulation of one.
Part of that has to do with the relatively thin and sloping polished bezel that helps the dial feel expansive within the 44mm-wide case. The slightly retro, decorative font and excellent contrast, in my opinion, make for a beautiful dial that is not only quite legible, but also durable from a stylistic standpoint. The dial isn’t perfect, however, but it doesn’t have any major flaws. Glashütte Original uses polished hands, and that polish causes some undesirable glare. A more matte finish for the exposed metal of the hands would have been more to my liking. With that said, even the subsidiary seconds and power reserve indicator hands are painted with SuperLumiNova luminant. Darkness viewing for the watch is excellent.
On the dial of the Glashütte Original Senator Observer, you have the time with subsidiary seconds dial, power reserve indicator, and a big date indicator at 6 o’clock. The dial is pleasantly symmetrical and all the hands are the proper length. To describe the dial as “Germanic” would be too obvious – even though it certainly is. I prefer to simply say that the dial of the Glashütte Original Senator Observer is a wonderful interpretation of a precision clock for professionals that would have looked at home in a prestigious hands-on work environment from 100 years ago.