Senator Observer 1911 – Julius Assmann
Honouring its rich heritage of more than 165 years of superior watchmaking in Glashütte, Germany,
Glashütte Original is proud to present the Limited Edition Senator Observer 1911 - Julius Assmann.
This exceptional timepiece, handmade in the firm’s manufactory and limited to 25 pieces,
pays homage to the pioneering spirit of two extraordinary men, Julius Assmann and Roald Amundsen.
Julius Assmann started his company at the age of 25 and is revered today as one of the founding fathers
of watchmaking in Glashütte. Pocket watches, chronometers and observation watches crafted by Assmann
and his employees were to play a significant role in establishing the company’s far-reaching reputation:
the observation watches in particular were known for their remarkable precision and superior craftsmanship.
Before setting out on his historic voyage, Roald Amundsen acquired a number of Assmann observation watches,
including one crafted by the young Glashütte watchmaker Paul Löwe in 1907/08. Löwe’s watch proved to be
exceptionally precise, and he was urged to send it for testing to the German Naval Observatory in Hamburg,
the institute officially responsible for testing and certifying the accuracy of navigational timekeepers
made in Germany. It was there that Roald Amundsen saw the watch, and he purchased it in 1910.
On December 14th, 1911, the Norwegian polar explorer and his team became the first persons ever
to reach the geographic South Pole.
Observation watches, also known as “deck watches” were used by navigation officers in conjunction with
marine chronometers and other instruments to determine as precisely as possible a ship’s position at sea,
and Amundsen will have made good use of his observation watches during his voyage to Antarctica on
the polar ship, Fram.
Once he and his team set out from their base camp at Framheim on the Bay of Whales, however,
the time kept by his observation watches became the only standard: one watch was set to a home time
and assumed the function of the marine chronometer on a ship; a second watch was set to local time;
measurement of the difference between the two was used to calculate, using spherical trigonometry,
the team’s position during the trek to the South Pole; a compass and sextant were also used.
Thus, Amundsen’s observation watches were absolutely critical to his mission: without them, he could never
have reached his destination, much less claimed victory for Norway. In Oslo today, the Fram Museum displays,
along with many other artifacts documenting the historic trek, one of Amundsen’s Glashütte observation watches,
complete with the inscription “J. Assmann – Glashütte” on the dial.
Courtesy of Glashutte Original, official press release