Over the dial is an ever so slightly domed sapphire crystal with AR-coating on the bottom. While it isn’t a deal breaker, I am not a huge fan of this crystal. Despite its very minor amount of curvature, it produces a lot of glare. It also happens to be a fingerprint magnet. I feel as though the dial would have been that much stronger and the wearing experience better if Glashütte Original was able to use a sapphire crystal that produced less glare and didn’t attract as many finger prints (as easily). There is, however, almost no distortion of the dial when seen through the crystal, save for at the most extreme angles.
On the wrist, the 44mm-wide Glashütte Original Senator Observer feels very thin. At 12mm thick, it isn’t the thinnest watch in the world, but relative to the width, it feels thin – which is a positive thing. On the rear of the case is a sapphire crystal exhibition window over the movement – which is an appropriate touch. One issue I have with the case is the mere 50 meters of water resistance. That means light swims are a “maybe.” The crown does not screw down, which is possibly why there isn’t at least 100 meters of water resistance. More likely than not, 50 meters of water resistance will be totally fine for the majority of owners, but I could easily see someone putting a rubber strap on it and wanting to be a bit more sporty with the Glashütte Original Senator Observer.
Actually, I’ve had plenty of dreams of what the Glashütte Original Senator Observer would be like as a dive watch. Glashütte Original currently has no divers in their collection, and I think the caliber 100-14 automatic movement would serve as a great base for a diver as well. Just imagine the Glashütte Original Senator Observer with a rotating bezel in a case that is water resistant to 300 meters. Maybe the polish is also taken off the hands in favor of a brushed finishing. Would this not make a lovely retro-style diver? Here’s hoping that at least someone at Glashütte Original has the same idea.
While the caliber 100-14 is a movement we’ve seen before, it isn’t a slouch. An automatic with 55 hours of power reserve, it offers a lot of useful information on the dial and operates at 4Hz. The automatic rotor is 21k gold, and the movement is nicely finished – even if the finish has more of a machined versus hand-applied look. Everything taken together makes for a good backdrop to the “Made In Germany” statement on the dial. Given though Glashütte Original is owned by The Swatch Group and there is a sense of Swiss character to the completed product, compared to its sister Swiss brands, Glashütte Original continues to display a distinct German character.
With a great vintage deck clock character and an excellent wearing experience, the Glashütte Original Senator Observer is both useful and beautiful. There are days when I look at the dial and feel that it is lovely but unexciting, and there are other days when I love the almost nostalgic sense I get from the style of the dial. Those looking to wow others with their modern sport watches probably aren’t the best customers for this timepiece, but if you like a good conservative luxury sport timepiece that still thinks it is a tool watch, then something like the Glashütte Original Senator Observer will hit the spot. Price for the Glashütte Original Senator Observer ref. 100-14-07-02-30 on a strap is $11,800 and this ref. 100-14-07-02-70 on a bracelet has a retail price of $13,300. Even though it is a great watch, there is a fair amount of other options at that price level. glashuette-original.com
>Brand: Glashütte Original
>Model: Senator Observer ref. 100-14-07-02-70
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Conservative person looking for a potentially daily sport-style watch.
>Best characteristic of watch: Excellent overall presentation and detailing with a beautiful dial and useful movement.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Could use a more refined sapphire crystal with better AR. Dial could do away with polished hand elements. Pricey.