Developed in the 18th century, marine chronometers played a crucial role in shaping maritime history and enabling global exploration. Constructed to withstand the rigors of a seafaring environment, they counteracted the effects of a ship’s motion, temperature changes, and variations in atmospheric pressure. Before the technology’s invention, determining longitude at sea was a significant challenge, often leading to inaccurate navigation and, as a result, many shipwrecks. With a reliable marine chronometer on board, navigators could compare the local time of their current position with the accurate time at a reference location, usually a home port or a known landmark. The time difference between these two points provided the basis for calculating longitude. To this day, a chronometer is the epitome of a precisely working timepiece.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, marine chronometers from the German fine watchmaking town of Glashütte were highly regarded around the world. The latest descendant of these precise and precious navigation instruments is Glashütte Original’s Senator Chronometer, now offered in a new version in white gold with a stunning silver-blue dial. It has a diameter of 42mm and a height of 11.4mm.
A part of the Glashütte Original product portfolio for years, this timepiece combines a sophisticated manufacture movement with traditional elements and elegant, timeless design. In addition, it brings to life an old handcraft on the dial and parts of the movement, which is known as silver plating by friction.
In this elaborate process, a mixture of fine silver powder, salt and water is rubbed onto a surface by hand, which lends it a fine, shimmering texture. Subsequently, it receives a gray coating layer. The high-class impression is completed by traditional blued hands and very fine Roman numeral appliques.
As is typical for this timepiece, the dial features a railroad minute track, a prominent subsidiary seconds dial, and a Saxon-style power-reserve indicator with up and down indications, and a small day/night indicator just below 12 o’clock . Of course, there is also a large date display, which Glashütte Original introduced 26 years ago as the Panorama Date. Here, the numerals appear in white on a blue background.
At the heart of the Senator Chronometer ticks caliber 58-08 with manual winding, which operates at a frequency of 28,800 half-oscillations per hour and has a running time of 44 hours and 40 minutes. The chronometer-certified movement is equipped with a refined second-stop mechanism: when then crown is pulled out, the time display stops and the second’s hand is reset to zero and held in that position. When setting the time, the characteristic minute detent ensures that the minute hand jumps ahead from one minute index to the next with an audible haptic click – thus ensuring that the correct relationship between seconds and minutes is maintained at all times and allowing the time to be set precisely to the second.
The sapphire crystal case back unveils the classic, finely finishing quality of Glashütte fine watchmaking, such as the characteristic three-quarter plate, perlage, a swan-neck fine adjustment, screw-mounted gold chains, and the hand-engraved balance cock.
The Senator Chronometer sits on a dark blue Louisiana alligator leather strap with a white gold clasp and retails for $32,300.
To learn more, visit Glashütte Original, here.