This watch has long been part of the Glashütte Original collection, and even though the brand connects it to the world of navigation at sea, I personally find it close to the pilot’s watch aesthetic, with its black dial, generous green SuperLuminova, and Arabic numerals that are vertical in all positions. There are extra elements, the small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock, the power reserve indicator at 3 o’clock, and the big date indicator, but I think that this is as much a pilot’s watch as Patek Philippe’s Calatrava Pilot Travel Time. And the name “Observer” recalls the Beobachtungs-uhren (often abbreviated to B-Uhr), or Observation watches, supplied to the Luftwaffe in the war years. I have the feeling that we are warming up for 2016 which will be an important year for pilot’s watches, with IWC renewing its entire pilot’s range.
Origins of the design
Julius Assmann was a watchmaker working in Glashütte in the early 1900s, and Roald Amundsen purchased one of his pocket watches for his 1911 expedition to the South Pole. Glashütte Original launched the Senator Observer 1911 to commemorate Assmann and Amundsen in 2012. This year’s piece has a very balanced, symmetrical design, and for those who like the pilot’s watch look along with some practicality and usability, this is perfect: the continuous seconds to show that the watch is running, the power reserve indicator that tells you when you have to put it back on to keep it going, and the large date, the most useful complication of them all.
The watch is powered by the Calibre 100-14 automatic movement providing 55 hours power reserve. It is visible through the sapphire caseback, with its three-quarter plate with striped finish, and skeletonized rotor with gold oscillating weight and double-G logo. The watch has a 44 mm case in stainless steel, with black calfskin strap or stainless steel bracelet.
The Senator Observer by Glashütte Original costs €9,900 (with leather strap) and €11,100 (with stainless steel bracelet).
Below, a photo showing the green SuperLuminova on hands, hour numerals and indices, and subdials:
Below, the version with leather strap costs €9,900:
Below, the version with stainless steel bracelet costs €11,100:
Below, the Calibre 100-14 automatic movement: