Observation watches, known more familiarly as ‘deck watches’ were used by navigation officers to help determine a ship’s position at sea. Marine chronometers and observation watches (also known as “B-watches”) were made in Glashütte until well into the 1970s. This testifies to the continuing high quality of watchmaking in the German town – even under challenging circumstances. Taking great pride in this tradition, in 2011 Glashütte Original presented a new version of the observation watch: a limited edition in white gold honouring the memory of Julius Assmann and Roald Amundsen. In 2012 the brand updated the collection with a stainless steel version, available with two elegant variants of the dial.
Julius Assmann was one of the extraordinary watchmakers who established the industry in Glashütte. His firm specialized in the manufacture of these handmade wonders, and the precision and reliability of its observation watches – in particular under extreme weather conditions – made them indispensable instruments for navigation officers, pilots, and pioneering explorers such as Roald Amundsen, who took a number of Julius Assmann observation watches with him on his legendary expedition to the South Pole in 1911.
The design of the Senator Observer takes its inspiration directly from the observation watches made in Julius Assmann’s Glashütte atelier. Two stainless steel models are presented, one with a lacquered silver grained dial, the other with a lacquered gray grained dial.
The dials of both are built up slowly from three separate layers of lacquer and present a finely textured, grained surface, and show a subsidiary seconds dial at 9 o’clock and the power reserve display at 3 o’clock. Glashütte Original’s compelling panorama date display features prominently at 6 o’clock. Blued steel hands and a milled railroad chapter ring frame black/white Arabic numerals.
The Senator Observer features a 44-mm case fashioned of polished and satin-brushed stainless steel and is available with either a black Louisiana alligator leather strap or a “vintage” brown calfskin strap, both available with a stainless steel fold-over clasp.
At the heart of the Senator Observer is the automatic Caliber 100-14, an exquisitely finished self-winding movement with a 55 hour power reserve (+/- 10%). Although traditional observation watches used hand-wound movements, Glashütte Original has chosen to outfit the Senator Observer with a contemporary automatic movement in order to maximize comfort for the wearer.
Thus, the ‘Ab Auf’ indicator on the dial represents a true power reserve, rather than a simple indication of running time. The exquisite finishing of the automatic Caliber 100-14 is easily visible through the sapphire case back. The movement features the characteristic three-quarter plate with Glashütte ribbing, polished steel components and bevelled edges that distinguish high end mechanical watches from Glashütte Original.
Model: Senator Observer Stainless Steel Version
100-14-05-02-04 (varnish silver grainé dial)
100-14-02-02-04 (varnish grey grainé dial)
Case diameter: 44 mm
Height: 12 mm
Waterproof up to 5 atm
Glass: Sapphire crystal, anti-reflective on both sides
Bottom: Sapphire crystal
Automatic movement, Caliber 100-14
Diameter 31.15 mm, Height 6.5 mm
Oscillating frequency: 28.800 A/h, equivalent to 4 Hz
Power Reserve: 55 h (+/- 10%)
Balance screw balance with 16 weighted screws Remarks Hours and minutes, small second (off centre), power reserve display, second stop, panorama date; exquisitely finished movement, bevelled edges, polished and brushed steel parts, swan-neck fine adjustment, divided three-quarter plate with Glashütte ribbed finish, skeletonized rotor with 21-carat gold oscillation weight
Louisiana-Alligator leather, also available with calfskin strap or with metal bracelet