“We are building on Senator Excellence,” says Thomas Meier, CEO of Glashütte Original, referring to his brand’s high-precision, efficient Caliber 36 (automatic) and 37 (chronograph). Learn more in this exclusive interview conducted by WatchTime’s Rüdiger Bucher.
RB: Mr. Meier, how is Glashütte Original doing?
TM: 2016 was a good year for us. We were [also] able to confirm the results from 2015. And 2017 has started very promisingly.
RB: Did you not suffer from the crisis, like many other brands did?
TM: I would not use the word “crisis.” Only those who are inflexible and have no long-term strategy speak of a crisis. We do not get involved in increasing and reducing prices and we also do not have to create cheap, new introductory models. We have a long-term strategy.
RB: What is this based upon?
TM: With our automatic Caliber 36 we have laid the foundation for the coming years: 100 hours of power reserve, a silicon balance spring, and an elaborate 24-day test for the final check. I sign each certificate, which goes with every Senator Excellence model, that it has passed our strict quality inspections. Every owner can obtain detailed test results for their watch via an exclusive owner portal on our website. To build on this will be groundbreaking for us in the coming years. In 2016, we presented the Senator Excellence as a three-hand watch with the Caliber 36. Based on this, upgrades with a panorama date, as well as panorama date with moon-phase, followed in autumn [of that year]. The Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar [introduced at Baselworld] is coming in 2017. We will continue to move in this direction.
RB: The second major new movement in recent years was the Caliber 37 chronograph, correct?
TM: Our fully integrated, compact chronograph movement, with column-wheel control and 70 hours of power reserve, was introduced by us in 2014, initially in platinum and red gold cases. Now, the chronograph follows in steel; with a black dial, and blue indices in Super-LumiNova, it looks very chic. Additionally, it has 100-meter water resistance and there is a choice of three different straps: rubber, steel, and leather – the latter with blue seams that take the Super-LumiNova color. It is very popular.
RB: Regarding Super-LumiNova: At the moment we are seeing more and more color on watches, due to luminous material among other things. Is emotion important for high-quality watches?
TM: The product should, of course, bring emotion and awaken desire through its shape, color, and style. We don’t artificially fill [our products] with external emotions, or with actions or activities which do not suit us [as a brand]. We do not work with brand ambassadors, unlike many of our competitors. We place emphasis on the art of watchmaking. With us, the product speaks for itself. This begins with our clear design and continues right through to the high quality of the work. We are constantly working on it. Primarily, we count on quality. We also task ourselves with offering the best price-performance ratio in the German watchmaking sector. With us, you get a wonderful movement, refined in accordance with the Glashütte tradition, with angled edges and stripes. With the new Calibers 36 and 37 we control accuracy very precisely with screws on the balance wheel. The silicon spring prevents disruptive magnetic influences.
RB: Is reliance on watchmaking quality also enough for the younger generation to identify with your products?
TM: Yes and no. Yes, because love of watches can be passed on from parents. On the other hand, we appeal to young people through our distinctive design. I am thinking about this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, Berlinale, where we presented the Sixties Iconic Square limited edition — 25 models each with five differently colored dials, painted in several layers at our own dial factory. I was really amazed to see how many young men were interested in these watches due to their colors and also their cushion-shaped design. Interest from young people comes either from the original design or the sophisticated technology, but mainly it is a combination of the two.