The Topper Blog consists mainly of original writing by Rob & Russ Caplan with occasional special contributions and interviews. All photography in the blog is taken at Topper Fine Jewelers , or on location unless otherwise indicated in the photo captions.

The Glashütte Original Senator Observer Collection

The updated black dial 2015 Senator Observer on steel bracelet.

A few years ago, Glashütte Original discontinued the Navigator series, a watch collection that will always be relevant to me not only because I found it an incredibly attractive and clean pilot series, but because the Navigator Panorama Date model was my father's daily wear watch for the last several years of his life. It would be far too linear to say that the Senator Observer replaced the Navigator when it was introduced around a year after the Navigator was retired, but it's probably the closest model that the company currently makes to that series.

Like the Navigators, the Observers feature 44mm cases and large Arabic numerals for the hour markers. The theme is of course different. While Navigators took design cues from the pilot watches of the 1940s, the Observers are styled after the earlier "observation watches" and marine chronometers that were developed by famed pioneer, Julius Assmann, in the early 1900s. Marine chronometers were used as a central clocks to coordinate all time related events on a ship. Observation watches were carried by the crew and had to be rugged to endure the elements. The design aspects of the Senator Observers capture that pioneering spirit from over a century ago. This post takes a look at the new 2015 Observer, and offers photos comparing it to the two other dial options.

All of the Senator Observer models feature the same complications. The 100-14 movement features the traditional elements inherent with all Glashütte Original models (in-house movement, three quarter plate) and features the specific complications of a grand date and a power reserve indicator. The finish on the movement is perhaps its greatest strength. While the skeletonized and 18kt gold adorned rotor is attractive, it's the quality of the finish elements including Glashutte ribbing, beveled edges, and polished surfaces that are most attractive.

The sapphire case back of the Calibre 100-14 movement.

The original Senator Observer models are more formal than the new 2015 version. The earlier models feature varnished grainé dials. This texture can cause the dials to seem as if they shimmer in certain lighting. The silver dial features heat blued steel hands, and the grey dial features white gold hands. The subdials are depressed into the dial, and the date is displayed within a square and recessed aperture.

The two dial options of the original Senator Observer models shown here on black alligator straps.

The grey shimmery dial of the Senator Observer.

The white shimmery dial of the Senator Observer.

The 2015 Observer is the first new model in the series since Glashütte Original opened their dial making facility in Pforzheim, Germany, in 2013. As a product of their new capabilities, the 2015 dial seems more complex than previous versions. The main achievement of the 2015 Observer is the application of significant lume treatment while keeping the elegance that is Glashutte Original's hallmark. The tone is less formal, and the piece feels closer to a traditional pilot watch or piece of instrumentation. The font is heavier, and all hands, hour indices, numbers, and subdials are lumed. The dial is a much deeper black and does not have the shimmer of the prior models. Instead it features a matte black finish. The hands are again white gold, but they are broader and are inlaid with Super-LumiNova. The Arabic numbers are larger and of a more elegant font than on the previous models. There have also been minor changes in the subdials, but they still perform the same functions (seconds and power reserve). The hands within the subdials are also now painted with Superluminova. The date wheel is also the perfect shade of black to complement the dial.

The updated black dial Senator Observer on steel bracelet.

The lume of the 2015 Senator Observer.

One of the true standout features of the Senator Observer model is its bracelet. Although the option is $1,400 more expensive than the strap versions ($13,200 vs. $11,800), it is one of the finest bracelets on the market. Aside from the finish, it's an incredibly adjustable bracelet. By depressing the double "G" logo on the clasp, you can resize with the ratcheting micro adjustment even while wearing it.

How does the Senator Observer wear? Pretty large. Pilot watches can certainly handle more size than other design themes, but the relatively thin case makes the watch wear even larger than its 44mm size would suggest.

Below are additional photos of the three dial options of the Senator Observer.

The new 2015 Observer on bracelet on a seven inch wrist.

The 2015 Observer with leather strap on a seven inch wrist.

The off white Senator Observer with alligator strap on a seven inch wrist.

The gray dial Senator Observer with black alligator strap on a seven inch wrist.

The side profile of the Senator Observer.

The micro adjuster of the Glashütte Original Steel bracelet while extended.

From left to right: the updated 2015 Senator Observer on a calf leather strap and the older Senator Observer on an alligator strap.

The more formal gray dialed Senator Observer.

The power reserve indicator of the gray dial of the Senator Observer.

The seconds subdial of the gray variant of the Senator Observer.

The date complication of the Senator Observer.

The off white dial model of the Senator Observer.

The seconds subdial of the Senator Observer.

The power reserve complication of the off white dial Senator Observer.

The date complication of the off white dial Senator Observer.

The updated black dial 2015 Senator Observer on steel bracelet.

The new larger and lumed hands of the updated 2015 Senator Observer.

The seconds subdial of the 2015 Senator Observer.

The power reserve indicator of the 2015 Senator Observer.

The date complication of the 2015 Senator Observer.

The Topper Blog consists mainly of original writing by Rob & Russ Caplan with occasional special contributions and interviews. All photography in the blog is taken at Topper Fine Jewelers , or on location unless otherwise indicated in the photo captions.