Bang For The Buck

Ex­cel­lent value can be had at any price point, and here are some choice picks

World of Watches (Singapore) - - Basel Report | Highlights - WORDS JAMIE TAN

OUT­STAND­ING DE­BUT

Glashütte Orig­i­nal’s Sen­a­tor Ex­cel­lence boasts a brand new move­ment backed by ex­ten­sive in-house test­ing, all at a price that’s more than rea­son­able

If a sin­gle time­piece can epit­o­mise all the talk of value at Baselworld this year, Glashütte Orig­i­nal’s Sen­a­tor Ex­cel­lence is it.

Cen­tral to the Sen­a­tor Ex­cel­lence is Cal­i­bre 36, a ground-up de­vel­op­ment that took three and a half years to com­plete. Con­ceived with a fo­cus on per­for­mance, it fea­tures sev­eral tech­ni­cal de­tails that im­prove its pre­ci­sion, sta­bil­ity, and run­ning time. For a start, the bar­rel’s outer wall and ar­bor have both been thinned down to cre­ate more in­ter­nal space, which al­lows a longer main­spring to be fit­ted. The re­sult is a 100-hour power re­serve with just a sin­gle bar­rel, in a move­ment beat­ing at 4Hz, no less. Of course, the ben­e­fits of a long power re­serve only come with an ef­fi­cient wind­ing sys­tem. To that end, Cal­i­bre 36 is equipped with a bi-di­rec­tional wind­ing mech­a­nism.

The move­ment uses a free-sprung bal­ance, where the hair­spring’s length is kept con­stant and rate ad­just­ments are done by ad­just­ing the weights on the bal­ance wheel’s rim. There­fore, the bal­ance is free to breathe con­cen­tri­cally in all po­si­tions, which im­proves the move­ment’s po­si­tional ac­cu­racy, al­beit with a greater dif­fi­culty in reg­u­la­tion. The swan neck de­vice here is used to ad­just the mov­able stud that the outer end of the hair­spring is at­tached to, again to achieve max­i­mum con­cen­tric­ity as the hair­spring breathes. The hair­spring is made of sil­i­con, which makes it im­mune to mag­netic fields and tem­per­a­ture changes, while also im­prov­ing isochro­nism.

To quan­tify these im­prove­ments, Glashütte Orig­i­nal has de­vel­oped a com­plete suite of tests. Run­ning the gaunt­let takes 24 days, and in­cludes a com­plete assess­ment of the 100-hour power re­serve as well as tim­ing tests in six po­si­tions (one more than COSC’S usual five). Each Sen­a­tor Ex­cel­lence is shipped with a cer­tifi­cate attest­ing to its move­ment’s per­for­mance, with de­tailed test re­sults for ev­ery in­di­vid­ual move­ment avail­able on­line for its wearer to pe­ruse. The Sen­a­tor Ex­cel­lence also bears Glashütte Orig­i­nal’s seal on its case back, as a mark of the move­ment pedi­gree within.

Thought has been put into how Cal­i­bre 36 is en­cased too. The move­ment is mated to the Sen­a­tor Ex­cel­lence via a bay­o­net mount­ing sys­tem, just like how a re­mov­able cam­era lens is at­tached to the cam­era body. This sys­tem is more se­cure and hence less prone to shocks. It is cer­ti­fied DIN 8308, the Ger­man equiv­a­lent of ISO stan­dards, which re­quires a watch to re­main ac­cu­rate to +/- 60 sec­onds a day even af­ter a one-me­tre drop onto hard­wood floor­ing.

The Sen­a­tor Ex­cel­lence is avail­able in three ref­er­ences – a clas­sic and con­tem­po­rary dial de­sign each in steel, and a clas­sic dial de­sign in red gold. MOVE­MENT Self-wind­ing Glashütte Orig­i­nal Cal­i­bre 36 with 100-hour power re­serve

CASE 40mm in steel or red gold, wa­ter re­sis­tant to 50m

STRAP Black al­li­ga­tor or calf­skin with steel ardil­lon buckle, or black al­li­ga­tor with red gold ardil­lon buckle

PRICE $14,300 (steel) $26,000 (red gold)

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