Several years ago, Glashütte Original introduced its first Senator Observer, a limited-edition, white-gold timepiece that celebrated the memory of German watchmaker Julius Assmann and famed explorer Roald Amundsen. It was modeled on the traditional observation watches (more widely known as “deck watches”) made in the German town of Glashütte, which were used by navigators to determine a ship’s position at sea. In 2012, an unlimited version in a stainless steel case with two dial options, made its debut. This year, the brand launches the first Glashütte Original Senator Observer with luminous material on its dial.
Assmann was one of the legendary watchmakers who established the industry in Glashütte, located in the German state of Saxony. His firm specialized in the manufacture of observation watches and marine chronometers, which were renowned for their precision and reliability, particularly under extreme weather conditions. Pioneering explorers such as Amundsen, who took several Julius Assmann observation watches with him on his legendary expedition to the South Pole in 1911, found these timepieces to be indispensable instruments for navigation. (To read more about marine chronometers from Glashütte, click here.)
The Senator Observer takes its design cues directly from those vintage observation watches made in Assmann’s Glashütte atelier, though its interior workings have at least one significant difference: in contrast to the hand-wound movements of the historical deck watches, the movement in this contemporary version, Caliber 100-14, is self-winding.
The matte black dial, produced in Glashütte Original’s own dial manufacture in the German town of Pforzheim, is made with three separate layers of lacquer. The dial makers placed the Super-LumiNova highlights, which emit a distinctive green-white glow in the dark, with maximum legibility in mind — on the hour numerals, in the center of the hour and minute hands, and on the indices of the chapter ring.
The running seconds are on a subdial at 9 o’clock, and the power-reserve display — with the German indicators “Auf” (“Up”) and Ab (“down”) at either end — is at 3 o’clock. The so-called panorama date display, a hallmark of Glashütte Original timepieces, is prominently placed at 6 o’clock. The hands are made of white gold, the elegantly curving Arabic numerals — evocative of those on the historic deck watches — are in white, and a milled railroad chapter ring is on the periphery of the dial.
The 44-mm case is fashioned of polished and satin-brushed stainless steel and is available on either a black calfskin leather strap or a steel bracelet, both equipped with a stainless steel fold-over clasp. A sapphire viewing window in the back shows off Glashutte Original’s manufacture Caliber 100-14.
The movement in the Senator Observer is exquisitely finished and provides the watch an approximately 55-hour power reserve. The finishing of automatic Caliber 100-14 provides a visual treat, with traditional Glashütte high-horology features such as the characteristic three-quarter plate with Glashütte ribbing, polished steel components and beveled edges, and a skeletonized gold rotor with the brand’s double-G logo.