Lately I have been fascinated by marine chronometer clocks and I had been reading few well written books on its history and technical details.  I would highly recommend Chronometer Makers of the World by Tony Mercer.  I was mentioning my fascination of chronometers to Mr. Rene Marx, Head of Digital Marketing for Glashütte Original in a casual email conversation. He replied back that my timing could not have been better as there is a chronometer exhibition at the Deutsches Uhrenmuseum Glashütte from June 17 th to November 20 th .  That was a great motivation for me to dial in the address of Glashütte museum in my GPS.


Marine Chronometer Exhibition

A Lange & Sohne chronometer

The exhibition was a feast for technical geek like me.   The primary focus was on the German chronometers, which has a unique history since Germany began to manufacture marine chronometers much later than England and France.  The German Naval Observatory Hamburg was created in 1875 and marine chronometers had to pass rigorous testing.  The first German marine chronometer to pass the test was Lange in 1886.  Now Glashütte is celebrating 130 years of chronometer manufacturing.

After an informative exhibition I met with Mr. Marx for afternoon coffee and snacks.  As we discussed topics of chronometer and watches, an idea developed that I test drive the newly released Senator Excellence for rest of my road trip.  I gladly put on the watch and looked forward to driving to picturesque Weesenstein castle brewery, Berlin for sushi at KaDeWe, beer diploma in Bamberg, and vineyards in Rüdesheim.

Mr. Rene Marx at the Weesenstein castle brewery

Inside the Weesenstein castle brewery

I selected the observer dial for the 40mm Senator Excellence case,  since Senator Observer is my favorite watch from the recent Glashütte Original collection.  My first impression was the noticeable slim height of 10mm.  I am used to wearing PanomaticLunar with 12.7mm height, so this was a delightful change.

KaDeWe shopping center in Berlin

While I received compliments from friends and family on the dial, I was impressed with the caliber 36 automatic movement.  While I could not test the power reserve or accuracy due to good consumption of delicious German beer, I will attest to the fact that few times when I took the tram and train in the city, the time was spot on for departures and arrivals.  But Glashütte does thorough testing before delivering the watch to customers.

Assembling of caliber 36

Mr. Marx stated that the testing standard is stricter than that of German chronometer test.  To quote the official statement, “At the heart of the Senator Excellence the manufactory Calibre 36 introduces a new generation of timepieces, and with it the Glashütte Original manufactory defines an innovative new standard of quality. Every single one of these watches bears a special engraving on the case back, which must be understood as a promise. Together with an individual examination certificate, the engraving guarantees the owner that the watch meets the highest standards in terms of stability, running time, precision and aesthetics, and that it has been thoroughly examined over the course of a long-term test lasting 24 days – under conditions even more demanding than those in force for the standard German chronometer tests.”  I will write an in-depth feature on the 24 days of testing by Glashütte.

I like the fact that Glashütte is bringing forward the traditional watchmaking with modern elements.  This is the first time a 100-hour power reserve is offered with increasing the length of spring to 680mm, while keeping it to a single spring barrel.  This is also the first time the brand has used silicon balance spring to provide more accuracy with zero negative effect from magnetic field or temperature fluctuation.

As I came to the end of my road trip, I was left with a positive impression of the Senator Excellence, especially with the observer dial.  It is an expensive watch at $9,700 for the stainless steel observer watch I wore, but once you begin to discover the details behind the manufacturing of this watch, you begin to understand the pricing.

You can discover more about the Senator Excellence on Glashütte Original  website .