In 2010 Glashütte Original announced an exceptional tribute to marine chronometers and the art of navigation at sea: the noted German maker of high-end mechanical watches recovered and restored thirteen original marine chronometers and paired each with an officially certified Senator Chronometer Platinum. The two mechanical chronometers are linked, apart from aesthetic details, by a shared tradition of high-precision watchmaking in Glashütte.
Both timepieces represent the finest of German watchmaking traditions: the marine chronometers originally manufactured in Glashütte have been lovingly restored by experts from Glashütte Original’s Atelier. The second member of this extraordinary set is the Platinum edition of the high end Saxon manufacture’s extraordinary Senator Chronometer, winner of multiple “Watch of the Year” awards in 2010 and one of the finest of contemporary mechanical timepieces. Set side by side in a handmade oak case, these exceptional chronometers form a unique and distinctive tribute to the history of navigation and the role of precision timekeeping at sea.
Construction and development of mechanical marine chronometers began in the 19th century. Over the course of more than a century, some 13,000 were manufactured in Glashütte. Thirteen of these historic instruments, manufactured during the final years of production in Glashütte, were discovered during preparations for the opening of the German Watch Museum Glashütte. It was an astonishing find, and each has been carefully restored and lavishly finished: the entire chronometer housing has been carefully polished and given a sophisticated rhodium finish, as have the fittings and screws.
Glashütte Original’s restoration experts built new gimbal mountings for each of the chronometers, and highly skilled artisans crafted thirteen wooden cases in matt black oak. In addition to the technical testing and adjustment of all components, restorative work performed on the chronometer movement includes extensive finishing. All plates, bridges, screws and pillars have been finely ground, polished and finished with hard gilding. The balance rim, weights and adjustment screws have also been carefully examined, re-worked and polished. The dial has been restored too: the sophisticated frosted silver plating has been refurbished in such a way as to retain the original milled, black inlay numerals and indexes. New fonts and the numbering of each unit complete the unique style of this distinctive nautical timepiece.
The contemporary component of the Glashütte Original Marine Chronometer Set – Limited Edition is the Senator Chronometer Platinum. The evident „family relationship“ between the two timepieces is by no means coincidental. Its elegant „Chemin de fer“ minute ring, for example, quite intentionally evokes the classic look of Glashütte marine chronometers and many other details have been inspired by the historic navigational instrument.
The Senator Chronometer is the first precision timepiece from Glashütte Original to receive official chronometer certification. Tested over the course of 15 days by the chronometer-testing branch of the Office of Weights and Measures of the State of Thuringia, this prestigious timepiece passed a series of severe tests with flying colours, thus earning an official chronometer certificate – certified assurance of the highest rate precision in a mechanical watch.
Notable features of the Senator Chronometer Platinum include an innovative stop-seconds reset mechanism that makes it much easier to synchronize the minute and second hands when setting the time. The new feature has won considerable praise from watch experts, who have commented as well on the Senator Chronometer’s rapid date change mechanism – the Glashütte Original panorama date display jumps ahead precisely at midnight – and noted the newly developed planetary gear train for the power reserve display.
On the back of the exclusive platinum case, an antireflective sapphire crystal reveals the artful mechanics of the Caliber 58-01. The finely decorated three-quarter plate, screw-mounted gold chatons and hand-engraved balance cock provide impressive further evidence of superb horological craftsmanship. Black Roman numerals and indexes and polished blued steel hands lend an elegant aspect to the sophisticated silvery dial, framed and complemented by the precious platinum case and hand-crafted Louisiana alligator leather bracelet.
The marine chronometer marks the end of the journey after two eventful centuries of precise mechanical timekeeping at sea. For its part, the Senator Chronometer offers ample evidence that the technical and artistic brilliance of an extraordinary era in Glashütte remain a living heritage, one that continues to evolve and to inspire the creation of the most extraordinary of timepieces.