How does one build an excellent watch? By standard if a movement beyond reproach of course. Last Baselworld, Glashutte Original debuted a classic three-hand Senator Excellence with the new calibre 36 automatic. The biggest draw for watch aficionados was that the Glashutte Original calibre 36 was properly sized to the dimensions of the case, which meant that there was no use of a casing ring to hold the movement – a 32.2mm update to the 26.2mm calubre 39 descended from the East German movements. For Baselworld 2017, the Glashutte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar builds upon the Saxony future with the all improved 36-02 movement.
Review: Glashutte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar
Having introduced a perpetual calendar complication almost 20 years ago, Glashutte Original is not new to the perpetual calendar genre. The signature four windows for each element of the calendar look remarkably similar to the original model introduced two decades ago but what you get with the new Glashutte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar is a whole different beast without too much of a price jump.
Case, Dial, Hands
The Glashutte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar may look similar to the predecessor QP model but it enjoys a new case, new dial and new base calibre (which we will discuss in a bit). That said, the perpetual calendar module remains the same, thus, the indicator positions and calendar elements on the dial front are aesthetic replicas: signature equal-plane (that is, both on the same level as opposed to one higher than the other) two-disc, oversized date display remains at four o’clock, with day, month and moon phase windows all optimally positioned around the dial for visual balance and legibility. At 12, sits the leap year indicator in a small (relative to the size of the moonphase) but readable subdial.
The mix of painted roman numerals and baton indexes are an interesting if classical flair which saves the pristine white dial from being too cluttered. It’s a point of distinction that the stainless-steel model presents minute numerals in black while the red gold version are painted in red. Contributing to the high legibility of the display are the slim blued hands with the hour pointer slightly thicker in an “ace of spades” styled arrow head while the seconds needle is counter-poised with the GO motif; The 42mm Glashutte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar is as easy to use as it is to read; setting of the moon, day and month are done via recessed pushers in the mid-case, while the date is adjusted via crown. It’s my assessment that the pristine silvered white dial couldn’t be better unless it was done in enamel.
Overall, the Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar is proportionally balanced thanks to the larger dial made possible by larger case dimensions and a slimmer bezel. The case is also slimmer at 12.8mm vs 13.6mm of the calibre 100 older model.
The recently released manufacture calibre 36, used as a foundational movement for the Glashutte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar is touted to be the future of the manufactory. Bequeathed with a four-day or 100-hour, power reserve, the larger mainspring provides greater stability for timekeeping due to the steady power supply which fuels the gear train and thus amplitude of the balance wheel. Compared to the predecessor perpetual calendar, this QP with the calibre 36-02 has double the power reserve of the previous calibre 100.
The signature, flat-polished swan neck regulator returns – an eccentric (for reasons I will explain) if elegant oddity because the balance on this model is free-sprung. Ultimately, you can use it to adjust the poise of the hairspring for better isochronism but free-sprung nature of the balance means adjustment is done primarily on the four weights on the periphery of the wheel – fussier method of adjustment compared to the swan neck but more traditional.
The silicon hairspring makes a debut appearance for Glashutte Original – amagnetic and temperature immune, making it more precise and less affected by environmental variables which threaten regular hairsprings on a day to day basis.
In steel, the Glashutte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar retails for S$34,600. In red gold, it is priced at S$57,600. Given the technical and material improvements, they are only priced slightly higher than the previous calibre 100 Perpetual Calendar models. Interestingly (but not pictured here), the steel model is also available on metal bracelet which is a rarity given the classical nature of the complication. Furthermore, given that the Calibre 36 is thoroughly tested, adjusted and then certified by Glashutte Original, the Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar comes delivered with the paperwork testifying as to the its performance after adjustment in 6 positions, different temperatures and at 4 intermittent stages of power reserve – what you’re getting is a thoroughbred timepiece.