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Old 28 January 2008, 12:59 PM   #1
Downing
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Glashütte Original Senator Navigator Automatic

I added this watch my to modest collection a couple of weeks ago.

For those of you who may not be familiar with Glashütte Original, it's a small manufactory resurrected from the ashes of East Germany after the Wall came down. Glashütte itself is a small German village, located about 20 miles southeast of Dresden, with a long and proud tradition of fine watchmaking. As before the Cold War, it's once again home to a number of German watchmakers, most notably A. Lange & Söhne, G.O. and Nomos.

The Navigator is considered to be an historical "pilots watch" from the 1940s and is based on watches supplied to the German Luftwaffe. The original watches were very large, 55 mm, so they would be legible even when bouncing around in a cockpit. The straps were sized extra long to fit around the sleeve of a flight suit. Given that the watches needed to be synchronized for flight missions, more emphasis was placed on a legible minutes scale than the hours, which is why the hours scale appears on a subsidiary dial.

In producing the Navigator, GO rightly decided to reduce the case size to a more manageable 44 mm. Although GO supplies the watch with an historically accurate brown calfskin strap, I decided to put a black alligator strap on mine. I think the new strap compliments the dial better and makes it a bit more dressy so I can wear it with my suits at work.

Here are some photos:


This is my watch laying on a page of Watch Time Magazine, which reviewed the Navigator a couple of months ago.




Here's a wrist shot:





When I swapped the strap, I swapped the buckle, too. Although it's a little fuzzy (sorry), you can see how the GO logo sticks out from the buckle a bit. Watch Time didn't care for this, but it doesn't bother me.




Here's a closeup of the dial. As you can see, the dial is very legible and easy to read. When you get to be my age, that's a good thing.




All three hands are lume-coated, as are the hour dots, the 12 o'clock arrow, the even-numbered Arabic minute numerals and all 60 minute markers. This thing lights up like a spotlight. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a good lume shot. I don't know if it makes any difference, but my camera battery was dying at this point.




This is my watch on drugs.




The Navigator is very easy to operate. Unlike my Rolexes, the crown does not screw down. Instead, it has only two positions: in and out. To reset the time, you pull the crown out and put the minutes hand spot on the minute marker. Then when your time source is coming up on the minute, you push the button at the 8 o'clock position and the seconds hand will jump to zero seconds. Push the crown in and you're done.

So far the watch is been running about 1.5 seconds fast per day, which is obviously outstanding.

I've been wearing steel bracelet watches for so long that it took a little while to get used to a leather strap. The watch felt top heavy at first since leather weighs practically nothing, but I quickly got made the adjustment and now it's very comfortable. So comfortable, in fact, that sometimes I have to pat my sleeve to make sure I'm still wearing it.

Even though the watch is rated to 5 ATM, I am definitely more careful when washing my hands than I am with my Exp II and SD. I think it may have something to do with not wanting to get the leather strap wet, which of course also means I can't take it in the shower with me as I do my Rolexes.

The only drawback--and I'm not sure this is a drawback but Watch Time thought so--to this watch is its steel caseback. GO has a justified reputation for producing highly finished in-house movements and shows them off on every other watch they make with a sapphire caseback. But the Navigator's based in large part on tradition and history, and military watches had steel casebacks for obvious reasons.

However, there is word that GO will make optional sapphire casebacks available for future as well as current Navigator owners. The details have yet to be announced yet, but GO did confirm to me that the plan is in the works. But it may involve giving up the steel caseback permanently to prevent potential fraud. If that's the case, I may not make the switch as I'm pretty partial to my steel caseback already.

Btw, I didn't take any pictures, but I should mention that the GO box is made of wood and includes a loupe. Talk about leading with your chin! Very nice.

I couldn't be more pleased with my new Navigator. It's dressy enough to wear at the office but not so formal that I can't wear it with blue jeans and a sweatshirt. It's an interesting design but not so jazzed up that its legibility suffers. It keeps time so well that there's very little maintenance. About all that's left to do is inspect the heck out of it with the supplied loupe.

This one's definitely a keeper.
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Old 28 January 2008, 02:03 PM   #2
frostie
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Excellent review with excellent information and excellent pics. I enjoyed reading it
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Old 28 January 2008, 03:02 PM   #3
FBender
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Very nice
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Old 28 January 2008, 05:47 PM   #4
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Congratulations on a fantastic watch, and thank you for the excellent review!
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Old 28 January 2008, 11:28 PM   #5
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Great write up. Thanks! I was always curious as to the hacking feature on that watch. GA is known for great customer service. Their DVD on watchmaking is nothing short of spectacular. If I did not own Rolexes, I would have a GA (and maybe someday I will.)

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Old 28 January 2008, 11:29 PM   #6
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Beautiful watch and definetly not something you see in the wild every day. Enjoy it in good health
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Old 29 January 2008, 12:29 AM   #7
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Magnificent review and majestic looking watch, Downing!

One question:

I guess the watch has a sapphire crystal, but is it domed??
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Old 29 January 2008, 05:46 AM   #8
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Very distinctive looking watch..........
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Old 29 January 2008, 08:59 AM   #9
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Rolex could really learn something from G.O. what luminosity is concerned!
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Old 29 January 2008, 09:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Rolex could really learn something from G.O. what luminosity is concerned!
They could learn from Omega, Seiko, GO,...and so on
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Old 29 January 2008, 02:29 PM   #11
Downing
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Thanks, everyone.

The crystal sapphire is not domed. Like a Rolex, it protrudes, but only slightly, from the case and is flat across.
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Old 29 January 2008, 05:38 PM   #12
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They could learn from Omega, Seiko, GO,...and so on
No doubt about that!

Rolex lume has never been good.
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Old 28 April 2008, 11:25 PM   #13
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Wow. Classic and nice watch from Deutschland!
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Old 28 April 2008, 11:46 PM   #14
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I love GO as a brand. They are a quality timepiece with impeccable workmanship. I love the one's with the exhibition backs where you can see the exceptional workmanship and hand engraving.

You got an awesome watch there and a very rugged timepiece.

Nice review. Wear it in good health.

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Old 13 June 2008, 10:30 PM   #15
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Great review and great looking watch! The Time only Navigator is one of my favorite watches that GO makes and has a great looking vintage look.. The movement is a real workhorse besides being a work of art! Great 44mm size looks perfect on your wrist. Only one point I would make, is that I think it looks better on the OEM Brown vintage style strap rather than the after market black strap. Congrads on a great watch~!
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Old 3 June 2019, 02:47 AM   #16
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I know this is a very old thread. I am however , considering a purchase of a GO Navigator and was wondering if anyone can comment on how they might hold up as a daily wear?
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Old 4 June 2019, 02:11 AM   #17
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I'm not sure what feedback you're looking for regarding daily wear but I couldn't be happier with mine. It's part of the weekly rotation and has a nice feel on the wrist. It's really a shame they stopped making it but it seems they're concentrating their line towards the more formal pieces.
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Old 9 June 2019, 01:23 AM   #18
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nice
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Old 10 June 2019, 08:27 AM   #19
aa909
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nice
LOL!! dude you're working hard to pump up your post count. what the deal?
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Old 16 August 2019, 09:22 AM   #20
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nice watch!!
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Old 20 August 2019, 01:21 AM   #21
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Nice review. I can't say enough good things about GO. They are super underrated. While often called the poor man's Lange, they are far from it. They punch well above their weight on finish/decoration, dial work is on point.

Congrats on your piece from a fantastic watch house!
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Old 24 August 2019, 04:49 AM   #22
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I would love a 55mm version. Haha
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