Work­ing On the Basics

The Glashütte Orig­i­nal Se­na­tor Ex­cel­lence not only has a new face but also a com­pletely new move­ment that will be the ba­sis for the brand’s fu­ture time­pieces.

WatchTime - - CLOSE-UP - — by Martina Richter —

— Glashütte Orig­i­nal’s new au­to­matic Cal­iber GUB 36 could be de­scribed as “sim­ple yet dif­fi­cult to make.” e move­ment fo­cuses on one es­sen­tial task: in­di­cat­ing the cor­rect time. Hours, min­utes, sec­onds. Noth­ing more. No panoramic date dis­play, no Glashütte-style “Auf und Ab” (up and down) in­di­ca­tor for the re­main­ing power re­serve, noth­ing else. What, then, could be so dif­fi­cult?

When the watch­mak­ers and en­gi­neers at Glashütte Orig­i­nal set out to de­velop a new watch move­ment, they fo­cused on sta­bil­ity, pre­ci­sion, a long power re­serve and an ap­peal­ing aes­thetic. Trans­lat­ing these re­quire­ments into tick­ing re­al­ity took a full three years. e re­sult is a move­ment that links to­gether 179 in­di­vid­ual parts, in­clud­ing an au­to­matic ro­tor that tight­ens the main­spring in both its di­rec­tions of ro­ta­tion and works in tan­dem with a re­duc­tion gear that si­mul­ta­ne­ously ac­com­plishes the task or­di­nar­ily as­signed to a re­tain­ing pawl. e ro­ta­tions of the self-wind­ing sys­tem re­fuel a 100-hour power re­serve. A sin­gle bar­rel stores all of this po­ten­tial en­ergy and grad­u­ally trans­fers it, via a to­tally newly cal­cu­lated gear train, to the es­cape­ment, which has a bal­ance and a sil­i­con hair­spring that os­cil­late at a pace of 4 Hz. Hats off. We’re im­pressed.

e devel­op­ers chose 28,800 vph as the fre­quency for their new cal­iber. A so-called “fast os­cil­la­tor” de­mands more en­ergy than, say, a 3-Hz move­ment, so the en­gi­neers also had to de­sign a cor­re­spond­ingly large bar­rel. And the com-

pany wasn’t con­tent with an or­di­nary power re­serve of just two days. e siz­able bar­rel nearly fills the en­tire ra­dius of the cal­iber. Fur­ther­more, the spring core is very small, so the bar­rel can ac­com­mo­date a main­spring with more wind­ings and a length of 68 cen­time­ters. is is the first time Glashütte Orig­i­nal has achieved a power re­serve of 100 hours for a move­ment with a fre­quency of 4 Hz – an im­pres­sive com­bi­na­tion that is rarely en­coun­tered in the watch world.

The length of this power re­serve not only demon­strates skill­ful con­tem­po­rary watch­mak­ing; it also of­fers greater con­ve­nience for the watch’s owner, who can leave his Se­na­tor Ex­cel­lence un­worn over a three-day week­end and find it still tick­ing when Tues­day morn­ing rolls around. Fur­ther­more, the rate re­mains sta­ble while the bar­rel’s store of power de­clines, a steadi­ness that we con­firmed in our rate test. We ex­am­ined the Se­na­tor Ex­cel­lence first when it was fully wound and again after it had been al­lowed to run for 24 hours with­out a fill-up. Our elec­tronic tim­ing ma­chine mea­sured only slight de­vi­a­tions and sim­i­larly neg­li­gi­ble dif­fer­ences among the sev­eral po­si­tions. e am­pli­tudes sink by 20 de­grees of arc in the course of a day. Glashütte Orig­i­nal guar­an­tees that the Se­na­tor Ex­cel­lence will run with chronome­ter-wor­thy pre­ci­sion for up to 72 hours: Dur­ing this in­ter­val, the am­pli­tudes re­main on ap­prox­i­mately the same level as they do after the watch has run for 24 hours, and they de­cline only slightly after 72 hours have ex­pired.

Of course, if the watch is worn reg­u­larly, the bidi­rec­tion­ally ac­tive au­to­matic wind­ing sys­tem as­sures that the main­spring is al­ways in the op­ti­mally wound range. is, in turn, guar­an­tees that the rate re­mains steady. e short span of time avail­able for us to test this model un­for­tu­nately made it im­pos­si­ble for us to con­duct our own em­pir­i­cal test on the wrist, but the record of a three-month ex­am­i­na­tion per­formed in Glashütte shows that the watch de­vi­ated from per­fect time­keep­ing by an av­er­age of 1.7 sec­onds per day. is per­for­mance more or less matches the “snap­shot” we took with our tim­ing ma­chine.

The time dis­play is clean and the case has clear, at­trac­tive lines.

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