In Watches

Glashutte Original has just introduced a new watch at this year’s 2007 Baselworld, which I am really looking forward to seeing. This timepiece is called the Senator Sixties watch, and apparently it will be part of a larger collection of watches that share the same classic, retro styling. The “Senator Sixties” moniker, as humorous as it might seem, was not intended to evoke a certain age demographic – rather, it calls to mind the age of the 1960’s when round watches with minimalist dials were offered by many fine companies, a time just before the world of the mechanical watch was totally shaken up by the 1970’s and the quartz revolution. These new Glashutte Original timepieces has really elegant details, and some that are also decidedly retro – for example, the recessed “pie-pan” type dial, which curves at its outer-edge, and also hands which are subtly bent at their tips, toward this curved dial edge. These are both very nice details, which few manufacturers bother to go to the trouble to reproduce in their lineups of more dressy or classical watches. Another aspect which Glashutte Original  has captured with this watch is the relative relationship of the dial to the case; with this Senator Sixties watch, Glashutte has produced a very subtle, minimalist case (compared to the regular Senator watch collection) which results in the dial being that much more emphasized as a result. And, with a dial as elegant as this one, complete with very distinctive, yet appealing Arabic numerals at 12, 3, 6 and 9, alternated with svelte “stick” hour indexes, you will be very hard-pressed not to want to look at it, even when you don’t really need to know what time it is.

Glashutte Original will apparently offer the Senator Sixties watches in both stainless steel and 18K rose gold, with silver or anthracite dials. I have not yet seen a picture of the rose gold versions, but the stainless steel watch looks great in the photograph (meaning that it should look much better in the metal!). An aspect of the stainless steel version that I find particularly nice is the gold-plated hands and stick hour markers; this makes for a subtle and attractive contrast that is really aesthetically satisfying. Glashutte Original has chosen to use their proven and excellent Caliber 39 movement for this timepiece, rather than the newer Caliber 100. To me this makes sense, in that the Caliber 39 has quite a long and impressive history as a Glashutte automatic-winding caliber, and that somehow seems appropriate for a watch which evokes a retro feel. In addition, the Caliber 39 still offers excellent timekeeping performance, and it is also very pretty, with its 21-K gold segmented rotor, polished swan-neck spring, and rich Glashutte decorations.

Fortunately to many, Glashutte Original will concede to modern tastes in a couple of regards with the Senator Sixties watches. First of all, this watch won’t feature a smallish 34-35mm case, as was the fashion with watches made 40 years ago; this watch will have a 39-40mm case. Also of note, the watch will have an exhibition sapphire caseback instead of a solid one, so that the pretty movement doesn’t have to stay hidden from view. All in all, I doubt this new Glashutte Original watch will excite those who want to stay on the cutting edge of fashion, or who prefer watches that can be submerged hundreds of meters below the sea (this one is only water-resistant to 30 meters.) However, it should be very appealing to those watch fans who are looking for a really nicely detailed mechanical timepiece that offers horological value, a fine movement, and unpretentious elegance.

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