The biggest news from German watch manufacture Glashütte original at Baselworld 2016 was the launch of a new, in-house automatic movement, Caliber 36, which makes its debut in a new watch model, the Glashütte Original Senator Excellence.
In developing Caliber 36 as its newest base movement, Glashutte Original focused on extreme stability, in rate as well as overall construction; maximum precision; extended running time; and aesthetic beauty in the distinctive Glashütte style.
To ensure stability, the movement designers reduced the traditional number of components, eliminating those that were the most potentially vulnerable to wear and tear, such as the winding system’s traditional detent click, which is rendered superfluous by the new bi-directional-wind reduction gear. They also added an innovative bayonet mount, similar to those used for camera lenses, to more securely position the movement inside the case — resulting in a construction that is extremely shock-resistant and also easy to assemble and service.
Glashütte Original Caliber 36 also represents another milestone for the Saxon haute horlogerie brand, namely its first movement outfitted with a silicon balance spring. This high-tech material — used by just a handful of high-end watch manufacturers, including some of G.O.’s Swiss sister brands within the Swatch Group — renders the ultra-thin spring immune to changes in temperature and to magnetic fields, while contributing to the balance’s extremely isochronous oscillations. The bi-directional winding rotor is another factor in ensuring rate accuracy, keeping the movement consistently charged with energy. A regulator-free oscillation system makes it possible to adjust the rate using weighted screws directly on the balance rim. The movement is tested and adjusted by Glashütte Original in six different positions – one more than a chronometer certification test would normally require.
Finally, the movement boasts yet another first for Glashütte Original (and a rarity in the watch world as a whole): a power reserve of up to 100 hours, at a frequency of 4 Hertz (28,800 vph), and stored in only one spring barrel. Developed specifically for use in the new caliber, the barrel has an increased diameter and a smaller barrel arbour, which made it possible to lengthen the mainspring and sharply increase the number of winding turns.
The watch’s sapphire caseback provides a view of the typical Glashütte decorations and technical features, including the characteristic three-quarter plate and skeletonized rotor, “Glashütte stripe” finishing, perlage, blued screws and finely wrought decorations on the wheels and rotor track. The elegantly executed manual winding chain is also presented in full view.
The new Senator Excellence, the classically elegant model in which Caliber 36 makes its debut, has a 40-mm-diameter round case (in stainless steel, below, or 18k rose gold, as in the photos above) with polished and satin-brushed surfaces, a slim bezel and a domed sapphire crystal, nonreflective on both sides. The fluted crown is engraved with the brand’s double-G logo, a hallmark of the Senator collections. The understated dial features a new design, with Roman numerals only at the 6 o’clock and 12 o’clock positions, and simple thin indices to mark the remaining hours.
The Glashutte Original Senator Excellence is available in three versions. Two models have a silver-grained lacquer dial with laser-cut, galvanized black indices and a railroad-type minute ring. The stainless steel watch has finely drawn minute numerals inspired by those of historic pocket watches, laser-cut and galvanized in black, while the rose-gold version has these numerals printed in luminous red. Both feature long, slim poire hands and a filigreed seconds hand and black Louisiana alligator leather straps with pin buckles.The third model (below) is executed in the style of a historical Glashutte-manufactured observation watch, with a stainless steel case and a black dial and finely curved Arabic numerals coated generously with Super-LumiNova for low-light legibility. The luminous substance is also used on the slim white gold hands, the arrow-tip of the seconds hand, and hour indices. The white railroad minute ring and five-minute markers provide a contrast to the ebony dial. This watch comes on a black calfskin strap with a traditional pin buckle. The steel models of the Senator Excellence will be priced at $9,700 while the rose gold models will be $17,700.