Glashütte Original nicely brings an end to this year with the presentation of the Senator Tourbillon Edition Alfred Helwig. It is therefore not a brand new watch but a declination of an existing model. I really like the first version, dating from the year 2013.
The Senator Tourbillon stages two complications perfectly mastered by the manufacture from Saxony: the flying tourbillon which occupies the lower area of the dial and the large date, housed in the upper zone. The tourbillon immediately catches the eye thanks to its beauty and the excellence of its realization. The fact that it is a flying one accentuates obviously the captivating aspect of the visual rendering as well as the sensation of depth. That's all the virtue of the unique fixation point of the tourbillon! The view is clear and the result is all the more convincing. The cage makes its revolution at a speed that I would consider as classic, more precisely a full revolution in one minute. The big date is located opposite the tourbillon and brings an aesthetic balance: without it, the watch would seem empty in its upper zone.
The first version of the Senator Tourbillon seduced me with this simple and effective lay-out of the complications and the grainy finish of the anthracite gray grainé dial. Despite the strong classicism of the watch, it manages to offer a contemporary style that suits it perfectly. The Alfred Helwig edition, limited to 25 pieces, is distinguished by two details, one that is obvious and the second much more discreet.
The first detail is the change of the dial color: this time, a clear silver-grainé dial is used and this significantly changes the atmosphere of the watch. It now appears much more traditional than the first version. In addition, the perceived size increases and it seems a little less balanced than the anthracite gray dial watch. It is of course a matter of taste because both watches share the same rigor and the same excellence in execution and in finishes. Finally, the discs of the big date display adapt to the color change of the dial and become white again.
The second detail is much more subtle. The Alfred Helwig edition offers a very original way to display its limited serial number: the Roman index at one o'clock represents this individual number. This solution is clever, elegant and rewarding for the owner of the watch because he is the only one who can notice this number, yet very present dial side.
The watch is animated, not surprisingly, by the caliber 94-03 with a frequency of 3hz and a power reserve of 48 hours. This automatic movement offers an interesting architecture. Although the regulating organ is located on the dial side, the caliber 94-03 is rather pleasant to look at the back of the watch. I really like the three-quarter rotor located at the top actually releasing the lower part thus allowing to affix a screwed plate reminding us the major complication it animates. The finish of the movement is flawless with in particular a very beautiful continuity of the Glashütte stripes and the traditional typical details of the high-end German watchmaking style like the blued screws. On the other hand, I am less seduced by the visual rendering of the winding mass. I would have liked a more ambitious decorative approach or at least one that brings more contrast compared to other models of the brand to better highlight the prestigious nature of the complication.
This minor criticism doesn't spoil the pleasure of the Senator Tourbillon edition Alfred Helwig. The 42mm diameter of the white gold case feels more noticeable with this version but the magic of the flying tourbillon operates with the same efficiency. I would have surely appreciated one or two millimeters in diameter less but as the movement generously occupies the case, at no time does the watch appear as unbalanced. And then the anthracite gray dial version partly corrects this concern with its lower perceived size. Finally, it is a very good idea for Glashütte Original to offer the Alfred Helwig edition with a dial featuring an opposite color to the original dial one. The two watches complement each other perfectly. But for me, the first watch remains my favorite.
The Senator Tourbillon edition Alfred Helwig is sold at a price slightly lower than 100,000 euros with taxes in Paris what is reasonable, in my point of view, for a flying tourbillon.
Thanks to the team of the Glashütte Original boutique in Paris located Rue de la Paix.
+ the magic of the flying tourbillon
+ the irreproachable quality of the execution
+ the architecture of the 3/4 rotor movement
+ the clever display of individual limited edition number
- the perceived size is greater than the anthracite gray dial version
- I would have liked a more rewarding decoration of the oscillating weight