The Germans have a reputation for efficiency and engineering prowess, and these two qualities are also reflected in their watchmaking sensibilities. A good example is Glashütte Original’s Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar. Perpetual calendars are one of the most useful complications, but because they need to display so much information – the time, day, date, month, leap year – some perpetual calendar watches can also be difficult to read. This isn’t a problem with the Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar because instead of using the more traditional subdials, this watch displays all the calendar information through simple, highly legible windows. Now, there’s a new version. Let us tell you what has changed.
The Senator collection is Glashütte Original’s most timeless and classic, so it is no surprise that the new Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar looks so elegant. Available in stainless steel and red gold, the case size is a modern, if slightly large, 42mm. A defining feature of older Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar (as reviewed here) was the use of Roman numerals on the dial as well the railroad minutes track. In the new version, the railroad minutes track makes a return, and Roman numerals are still used, but only at 12 and 6 o’clock. The rest of the hours are marked out by simple black indexes. This, I think, helps the watch look less stuffy.
Both stainless steel and red gold versions will come with blued hands, which contrast brightly against their silver-grained dials. The hands are pear-shaped, and the seconds hand features the Glashütte Original logo as a counterweight.
In the Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar, the day, date, and month are displayed using windows around the dial. Just like the model it replaces, there’s the brand’s signature Panorama Date display at 4 o’clock, while the day and month displays are positioned at 10 and 2 o’clock, respectively. An aperture displaying the moon phase is positioned at 8 o’clock. An interesting detail is that the moon on the moon phase indicator matches the case material. For the red gold model that means a red gold moon; and for the stainless steel model, a white gold moon.
I remember first placing a Glashütte Original Seventies watch in my wrist back when the brand published the collection in 2011. I’d seen the watch in pictures before trying it out and was amazed how much more I liked it when wearing it than the images would have suggested. Like most timepieces, this is one of the bits that just happens to come alive when on the wrist as opposed to being viewed from the vacuum of advertising images. I believe that is since the cushioned square case with its finely made tapering bracelet is very flattering to the organic curves of somebody’s hand and arm – which allows the design to sell itself via aesthetics and wearability. If you’re interested in another shoot, we previously reviewed the non-chronograph version of this Seventies Panorama Date watch here. This makes it a true square, and the case itself feels a lot more like a retro tv screen, which is deliberate. Square or even non-round watches are tough to get right. Finding the proportions and total design of a non-round watch correct such that it is both legible and looks good on the wrist is quite difficult to perform. Though when it’s done properly it’s the makings of a classic.
What’s new on the latest Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar is the leap year indicator. On the older model, it used to be a tiny aperture right about at the center of the dial. On the new model, there’s a larger leap-year indicator that is displayed using a more traditional sub-dial fashion. As a result, the Glashütte Original logo is moved to the 3 o’clock position. Personally, I’m indifferent to this change. The dial does look a tad busier, but the new leap-year indicator is certainly more functional. That said, how many people would need to know if the current year is a leap year or not?
The biggest change is under the dial. Inside the new Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar is a new movement based on the Calibre 36, which was introduced last year. The Calibre 36 will be the brand’s new workhorse movement and modules will be developed for it to add complications. Already, there’s a version with a Panorama date display and another with a moon phase display.
The Calibre 36 enables the new Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar to run at a very modern 4Hz. It is an automatic movement and features a very long power reserve of 100 hours. This is made possible using a single barrel with an exceptionally long 68cm mainspring developed by Nivarox – one of Glashütte Original’s Swatch stablemates. The movement also looks handsomely decorated with its large rotor and attractively embellished third-quarter plate.
Overall, I think the new Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar will certainly delight fans of German watchmaking because it wholly embodies the Germans’ love of functionality and efficiency. If you think traditional perpetual calendars are too difficult to read, the new Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar will impress with its remarkable legibility. The Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar in stainless steel with an alligator strap is priced at $22,300. On a bracelet, it is $23,800. The Glashütte Original Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar in red gold with matching pin buckle is $35,100, and with a deployant clasp, it will be $37,100. glashuette-original.com