Glashütte Original Senator Perpetual Calendar Watch – Review

By Jonathan Spira on 19 January 2012
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In an age where we carry myriad devices that tell us the time (think smartphone, tablet, or laptop, just to name a few) and Glashütte Senatortime is all around us (look around the room, from the microwave and stove to the DVR/settop box to the clock on the wall), some pundits have gone so far as to say that wristwatches are passé.  Indeed, ask someone the time: that person will most likely pull out his mobile and glance at it to answer.

While watches first appeared in the 17th century, wristwatches are a relatively new development: during the First World War, soldiers fashioned them as they found pocket watches inconvenient on the battlefield.

A watch tells time.  That’s just as true for a $20 watch as one that costs $20,000.

But some watches do much more than display the hours, minutes, and seconds.  Other fairly common features include a day/date display, chronograph, or automatic winding mechanism.  However, any feature beyond these is typically referred to in horology as a “complication.”  Some of my favorite complications include a perpetual calendar and moon phases.  The more complications in a watch, the more difficult it is to design, build, and maintain.  While a watch with day-date functionality may only have 250 parts, a complex watch can have as many as a thousand, if not more.

To find out the difference between more and less complex timepieces, we must go to Glashütte, a town in Sachsen (Saxony) Germany and the birthplace of German watch making.    In this town of 4,700 people there are six watchmakers including A. Lange & Söhne and Glashütte Original.  Both firms were part of VEB Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe, an East German company commonly referred to as GUB that took over all watchmaking companies in Glashütte after the founding of East Germany .  While both A. Lange & Söhne and Glashütte Original trace their roots back to 1845 and Ferdinand Adolph Lange, who started making quality pocket watches, Glashütte Original was founded in 1994 as part of the privatization of GUB and A. Lange & Söhne was re-founded in 1990.

At the Glashütte Original factory, everything from the tiniest screw to the most complex mechanism is made on-site, and much of the work is done by hand.

Click here to continue to Page 2 – The Glashütte Original Senator Perpetual Calendar

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