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Living just 45 minutes away from the Glashütte Original factory, and having worked across the road from the building for three years, following six years with the Swatch Group, you’d think I’d know everything there is to know about Glashütte’s (arguably) longest-running watchmaker. And yet, thanks to a series of understandable coincidences I do not. I enjoyed learning more through the prism of the Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite in blue, pictured below for your pleasure.

It really is a looker. The lustrous blue dial may well be the aspect that catches your eye first, but the case’s arresting proportions will do doubt have some subtle effect on that also. Despite a 44mm diameter and 13.9mm thickness, the Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite has a surprisingly sympathetic 51.5mm lug-to-lug. That makes what would otherwise be a truly hulking housing quite wearable, even for those of us with slimmer wrists. The stout lugs look odd in profile but make perfect sense when in use. And, to be frank, given what’s going on inside, this watch could have been a whole lot bigger…

Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite

Nonetheless, this is a tall watch on the wrist. For me, that makes pairing this model with a (21mm) leather strap essential. While this may seem counterintuitive given that a bracelet would balance out the unavoidably top-heavy timepiece, I prefer to have my taller watches strapped tightly to my wrist without any of the wiggle room a properly sized bracelet often affords. Furthermore, the whole mien of the Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite is one of elegance. This is a well-named watch, after all. The Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite would look at home on a senator’s wrist, or, at the very least, the wrist of a cosmopolite.

Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite

Complicated but clear

Perhaps the Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite’s greatest achievement is its legibility. When you run down this watch’s functionality, legibility doesn’t sound likely. And yet, thanks to the smart arrangement of neat, clearly defined windows, the watch scores highly in that regard. It is an impressive example of form following function. While we’ve come to expect that from German brands in general, this is a notable success within a field of successes.

Let’s start with the time. This is communicated by the large, centrally-mounted hour and minute hands as well as a generously proportioned going seconds hand in the sub-dial at six o’clock. The big date at 4 o’clock is linked to the main time display also. RJ and I recently waxed lyrical about our love for Glashütte Original’s double-digit date format when it comes to the brand’s big date windows. This isn’t standard practice in Glashütte. Some brands use a single digit format for days 1-9. That means that half of that massive aperture remains empty for almost one-third of the month. We don’t like that; we do like this.

Additionally, a day/night indicator at 9 o’clock pertains to the main time display, as do the two little windows, either side of the 8 o’clock marker. These indicate Daylight Savings Time and Standard Time by way of airport codes.

Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite

Home time has a trick up its sleeve

At 12 o’clock, a second sub-dial displays your home time. This is the dial you should, theoretically, never have to change. The really cool thing about this sub-dial (aside from the power reserve arc above the hand pinions) is the day/night “dot” indicator in its lower half. Rather than using a graphical indicator like the day/night function at 9 o’clock, here the Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite relies on a small, circular aperture to communicate the same information. When the dot is white, it is daytime at home. When the dot is blue, it is night.

Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite

A wise movement

The three-day power reserve of the 89-02 caliber is really quite impressive. That’s especially true when one considers everything that’s going on here. The movement is beautifully decorated in the traditional German style. Plates are decorated with Glashütte ribbing (pretty much the German corollary for Geneva stripes), and the balance bridge (for extra stability) is hand engraved.

Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite

As we often see with German watches, the barrel and train bridges have been replaced by a large, three-quarter plate. This massive bridge protects the gearing of the movement from dust ingress and increases the overall rigidity of the caliber. Theoretically, this improves timekeeping consistency and reduces friction over time.

It’s a really nice effect and helps keep the movement a little slimmer…

What is less common, however, is to see this construction in automatic form. To make this work, Glashütte Original has cut a recessed channel into the top of the three-quarter plate to make space for an eccentric oscillating mass. It’s a really nice effect and helps keep the movement a little slimmer than it would have been, had a centrally-mounted rotor been used instead.

Glashütte Original Senator Cosmopolite

And let’s not forget that the typically German trait of using a sub-seconds dial is also geared towards reducing overall thickness. Without the need of a centrally-mounted seconds hand, the dial-side depth can be similarly scaled back.

…the 89-02 operates at 28,800vph.

Uncommonly, the 89-02 operates at 28,800vph. Often, German watches operate at a lower frequency, favoring slimness and a higher power reserve above accuracy during movement or shock. However, with an automatic movement installed instead, the power reserve concerns diminish and pure timekeeping performance is brought to the fore.

The really neat thing

Now, here’s the really, really neat thing about this watch. Those DST and STD indicators on either side of 8 o’clock are rather special. They show you the time zone you’re currently in. That’s the one displayed by the central hands. If you change your time, the IATA (International Air Transport Association) codes change too. However, this is a far more complicated and impressive system than you might be used to seeing on a traveler’s watch.

…the most impressive thing about a very impressive watch overall.

The time can be adjusted by the crown at 4 o’clock. When you turn that crown, the time jumps either forward or backward in fifteen-minute intervals. Why is this? The IATA code indicators show all official time zones, even the ones at 30 and 15 minute increments. The full-hour zones are displayed in white print (large letters), the half-hour zones in blue text (large letters), and the quarter-hour zones also in the same blue font (but much smaller letters). For anyone that is curious, there are eight half-hour zones, and three quarter-hour zones displayed on this watch. The half-hour zones are YQX, NHV, LDH, DRW, RGN, DEL, KBL, THR. The quarter-hour zones are CHT, EUC, and KTM.

While you’re shifting through these time zones, the IATA codes move out of position. As such, there can be no confusion as to where you are. It’s a really neat system and hands-down the most impressive thing about a very impressive watch overall. Learn more about Glashütte Original here.