What Makes GlashÜTter Watches So Special?

A. Lange & Söhne, GlashÜTte Original And Eight Other Brands Are Located In The German GlashÜTte

Glashütte in Saxony is neither particularly large nor particularly convenient for traffic. The fact that a large part and, above all, almost all the luxury watches of Germany are produced here seems puzzling at first. At the same time, there are ten watch brands, for example A. Lange & Söhne, Glashütte Original and Nomos Glashütte. Some of the brands develop their own movements themselves and produce almost all the work components in their own house. But why are all the big German manufactories sitting in Glashütte? And what makes Glashütter watches so special?
It is not enough to have its headquarters in Glashütte to write the prestigious place on the dial. Glashütte is a right quality label: The Glashütte rule states that 50 percent of the value added must be made on the clock on site to print the place name on the dial. This is unique in Germany and remarkable, as many German manufacturers simply incorporate Swiss works into their watches.

From Glashütte, the brand names such as A. Lange & Söhne and Glashütte Original can be heard. The watches partly cost over 100,000 euros and have a good reputation also outside Germany. Today Glashütte employs approximately one thousand of the almost 7,000 inhabitants in watchmaking, which is one third of all employed persons. But how does this bundling of fine watch brands, which one would have expected more in Munich or Hamburg than in the small town in the Osterzgebirge?

Ferdinand Adolph Long’s Plan For A Watch Industry

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the silver ore, which had helped Glashütte to some extent of prosperity, was largely dismantled and there was hardly any work left. The Saxon government, located 20 kilometers north of Glashütte Dresden, called on companies to settle in the Erzgebirge. The watchmaker, Ferdinand Adolph Lange, gave the government the idea of ​​establishing a watch industry in the Erzgebirge, modeled on the Swiss Jura. This should not only increase prosperity in the Erzgebirge, but also keep more money in the country. Until then, high-quality pocket watches came almost exclusively from Switzerland.

Long planned to train 15 young people. These should later become self-employed and serve as specialized suppliers. The germ cell for the German watch industry, for example, was to follow the model of the Swiss Vallée de Joux. The system of division of labor and the prosperity of the region that had prevailed there had long been known to him during his wandering years.

The Saxon government chose Glashütte as a suitable place and granted Lange a loan. In 1845 he went to Glashütte and founded his watchmaking department for pocket watches.At that time only about 1,000 people lived in the Erzgebirgsort. It was, however, a difficult task to introduce the former straw workers, miners and stoneworkers into precision mechanics. In addition, the cost of the long run, despite the state’s support, brought him to the brink of ruin, and he put all his money and that of his wife into the company.

In addition to production and training, Lange was able to develop various devices for the more precise production of parts and to further improve the movements, for example, by means of the three-turntable. His precise machines, the low labor costs, and the division of labor actually led to the production of very precise and affordable watches in series. Lange’s plan to establish a watch industry also began. His apprentices were self-employed and supplied him with parts. In addition, other watchmakers settled, and a watchmaker’s school was founded.

The vision of Ferdinand Adolph Lange had become a reality: a real watch industry with suppliers had established itself in Glashütte, and the place flourished. In Glashütte exclusively high-quality watches were made. At that time, use watches came from the Black Forest or Switzerland. At first Glashütte was also reluctant to construct and build fashionable wrist watches and corresponding works.

Bad Times For Luxury Watches From GlashÜTte

According to TimeDictionary.com, guring the second world war mainly fighters and pocket watches as well as wrist watches were built for the military needs. Among them are the famous big clocks. On the last day of the war Glashütte was bombed and heavily damaged.

After the war the partial disassembly by the Soviet occupation troops followed. In 1951, the remaining Glashütter watch companies – including Lange und Mühle – were grouped together at the Volksseigenen Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe (GUB). Wristwatches with the automatic units developed in the 1960s, namely Spezimatic and Spezichron, were not only very popular in the GDR as accurate and robust watches. Also in West Germany they were sold under the name “master anchor” and brought important foreign exchange to the socialist state.
While in spite of the high quality of the Glashütter products of the GDR period it was a real use clock, the importance of the old, hand-made and hand-decorated quality pocket watches by A. Lange & Söhne increased again in the West. At auctions their prices rose, and quite a few watch-lovers discovered them as a collection area.

Second Flower: GlashÜTte Original Is Created

After the reunion, Glashüttes came to Glashütte as a watch town. The Glashütter watchmaking companies were privatized, and in 1994 luxury wristwatches with the new name “Glashütte Original” were created. The movements themselves are designed and the production depth is enormous: Even Glashütte Original manufactures itself. In the year 2000 the brand was taken over by the Swatch Group.
Also in 1994 the re-established brand A. Lange & Söhne presented their first watches with technical support of the Swiss sister IWC, including the legendary Lange 1 and a complicated tourbillon. Walter Lange, the great-grandson of Ferdinand Adolph Lange, who had gone to West Germany after the war, supported the brand. All the works are developed themselves, and the subtlety of the ornaments enjoys worldwide recognition.

Markenzuwachs Through Mill-GlashÜTte, Nomos And Wempe

As in the case of the first blossom, initiated by Lange, other manufacturers were able to make a partial contribution to their own story in Glashütte. Thus, Mühle-Glashütte wasalso re-established by the family, which had always been engaged in the Glashütte in the watch industry. The Roland Schwertner from Düsseldorf founded Nomos , and this name had already been given to Glashütte at the beginning of the 20th century. A model for the watches served as a model from the 1920s. In the meantime, Nomos is building its own movements. Also Jeweler Wempe builds watches in Glashütte. It is thanks to him that the dilapidated Sternwarte was renovated in Glashütte and today is the only German Chronometer test center.

An end to the growth is not in sight: Lastly, the watchmaker Tutima, who is now near Bremen, has returned to Glashütte with an outsider to his origins. And the brand Moritz Grossmann was also re-founded.

The small glass hut has its good reputation thanks to its history, its own quality features and today’s highly regarded manufactories. Ferdinand Adolph Lange set the foundation for a visionary entrepreneur.

6 Features GlashÜTter Watches:

  1. Three-platter: The circuit board covers the entire movement except for the balance.
  2. Glashütter Lock: A long, curved spring ensures that the spring house does not run uncontrolled.
  3. Glashütter Sonnenschliff: A twisted sun on the ratchet wheel.
  4. Screwed Goldchatons: The warehouse stones have a lining of gold that is held by screws.
  5. Engraved balance cock: Hand-made, floral embellishments.
  6. Schwanenhals fine adjustment: Curved spring for the backer.

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