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Presentation of the new Senator series and cal. 100 (2005)

August 9 2005 at 2:29 PM

Marcus Hanke  (Login mhanke)
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GO “Senator” series, presented in Basel 2005

About four years ago, Heinz W. Pfeifer, then president of Glashütte Original, mentioned a new automatic movement, designated cal. 100, to be in development. Of course, this stirred some unrest among the fans of the brand, and many hesitated to purchase a watch with a movement that seemingly would be replaced within some months or so.

However, the years passed by, and the cal. 100 remained unseen. We knew it would eventually come and replace the traditional GO standard movement, the cal. 39, but the exact date of its release was unclear.

Finally, at the Basel fair 2005, Dr. Frank Müller, now the man at the company’s helm, proudly presented the new cal. 100 movement. Since a movement alone is not enough, a completely facelifted Senator series, to be equipped with the new movement, was unveiled.

One could state that this was overdue, since the Senator series has served from the very beginning of the Glashütte Original brand. Aside minor cosmetical facelifts, as the replacement of the early coin-edge bezel with a smooth one, the only more substantial change this series saw was the introduction of the cal. 39, a rather drastically redesigned cal. 10-30, which it finally succeeded.

As a consequence, it is not surprising that the new Senator line is showing some discontinuity; it is designed to be much more than a mere facelift, and expresses this.

The first apparent sign of the changes are the dials, which are now adorned by a guilloche pattern in the centre. This pattern necessitates a series of difficult manufacturing steps and is very delicate. At normal viewing distance, and in ambient daylight, it looks more like a satinized surface, revealing its pattern only when direct light hits the edges of the guilloche. This looks extremely attractive.

The design of the indication window frames, too, was changed for a stronger presence. Even if some enthusiasts expressed concern that the former “German purism” or soberness would now be compromised by a decoration, I am sure that the fineness and complexity of these new dials will earn the Senator series many new friends. And - who knows - maybe there will be other variants with other surface finishes in the future?

Another change, albeit less apparent at first sight, affected the cases. Now, all case sides are fully polished, which nicely matches the cleaner and more geometric outlines of the case.

The former case was a little bit baroque-looking, with its barrel-shaped sides. However, a brushed finish made the curves appear less conspicuous. Now, with the case being straightlined and cylindrical, this trick was not necessary any more, and the fully polished finish makes it look even a bit more valuable, especially in gold. Although the case dimensions of old and new Senators only differ by about a millimetre, the dial surface has been substantially increased, due to the cylindrical shape and the thin bezel. Consequently, the watch looks larger on the wrist, which especially helps the thicker complications appear more elegant.

The two small corrector pushers in the case reveal the most important change in the new Senator series: the cal. 100 movement. The entirely new developed movement will become the automatic standard movement of Glashütte Original for the years to come.

For this purpose, it was designed to be compatible with a manifold of additional complications, from the power reserve indication to the perpetual calendar. To deliver the energy necessary for these mechanisms, without compromising the rate of accuracy, the movement got two mainspring barrels, but a rather conservative power reserve of 55 hours. Unlike its predecessors, the cal. 100’s rotor is winding bidirectionally. While the movement appears to be of a classic Glashütte 3/4-bridge design at first glimpse, its designers practically opted for a separate lid allowing direct access to the twin mainspring barrels, thus reducing the service costs.

Back to the corrector pushers: Instead of a simple hack second, the cal. 100 has a very sophisticated mechanism, allowing an instant reset of the sweep second to zero, as soon as the pusher is pressed. Upon release, the second hand will restart immediately. This mechanism, which in fact is an elaborate vertical clutch system, decouples the seconds pinion from the train and thus the balance keeps running during this process. This avoids the inevitable loss of amplitude and therefore accuracy, which happens when the balance wheel has to be stopped and restart again.

The other pusher is used for the panorama date’s quick setting. Compared with the cal. 39, the cal. 100 is a bit larger in diameter (31.15mm vs. 30.95mm), but thinner (5.6mm vs. 5.9mm - all dimensions together with panorama date module!).

Completing the list of changes further are some attributes that make the Senators better suited for everyday use, such as luminous materials on hands and markers, and also make them more attractive for collectors, by offering a larger array of different dial colours: silver, white, champagne, grey, blue ...

This new Senator series is exactly what I had asked for since years: Wonderfully crafted, not too stealthy, showing just a touch of luxury, a modern and very unique movement, and designed to be a reliable everyday companion!<br />

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