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In-Depth: The Story Behind The Name ‘Glashütte Original’

Road sign, entering Glashütte. Unpleasant interpretation by means of Google: “Here lives the time, Glashütte wishes you a lovely journey.”


There is no more excellent spot to find out about the historical backdrop of German watchmaking than the German Watchmaking Museum Glashütte . Situated in the focal point of town, the historical center now houses displays, a rebuilding workshop, and the Alfred Helwig Watchmaking School . I met exhibition hall PR Director Anke Johne for a tour.

German Watchmaking Museum, Glashütte.

Glashütte horological history starts in 1843, when Ferdinand Adolph Lange wrote a letter to the Royal Saxon government specifying an arrangement to open a watch production line in Glashütte and start teaching understudies. What was so unique about this arrangement was the plan to have the disciples work on one specialization, subsequently empowering the establishment of an industry in Glashütte. Lange had as of late got back from Switzerland, where he saw this training work quite well. It was not quite the same as conventional German watchmaking, yet the Royal Saxon government enjoyed what they read, and consented to make a significant credit to Lange to launch his arrangement. Moritz Grossman, Julius Assmann, and Adolf Schneider (who, alongside F. A. Lange, are viewed as the four dads of Glashütte watchmaking) additionally began making watches in Glashütte, and the business flourished.

F. A. Lange’s unique letter to the Royal Saxon government.

It prospered such a lot of that Glashütte watches began to be duplicated. Corrupt watch companies from different nations were creating watches and adding the words “Framework Glashütte” to their watches to give them an additional business support (below is an example of one such development – Swiss in beginning). As a reaction to this we began seeing Glashütte watches utilizing the word “Unique” to show that they truly were from Glashütte. This is where Glashütte Original gets its name from today.

Swiss development with “Framework Glashütte” on bridge.

Fast forward to the furthest limit of World War II: Glashütte was besieged, and endured broad harm. To exacerbate the situation, after the war the Soviet armed force requested reparations from Glashütte as instruments and machinery. The Glashütte watchmaking industry was not fit as a fiddle, but rather they made constantly watches. Truth be told, this timeframe straightforwardly helped Glashütte in getting to where they are today, as the postwar tough situations constrained watchmakers in Glashütte to sort out some way to make everything themselves. They no longer could depend on external providers for springs, jewels , or even machinery. Today we utilize the term in-house to portray a watchmaking brand that makes the entirety of their parts themselves; for the Glashütte business it wasn’t only a showcasing point, yet rather, a need for survival.

Jewel creation in Glashütte.

GUB-period jewel arranging and supply machine.

The GDR government before long chose to combine the entirety of the current watchmaking companies in Glashütte into one state-owned endeavor, VEB Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe (GUB). Today, the lawful replacement to GUB is Glashütte Original.

Watch delivered by VEB Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe (GUB).


During the GUB period, a huge assembling building was built, in which all watchmaking movement was unified. Today, after a significant redesign, that building houses Glashütte Original. The principal floor is devoted to making instruments and parts, which really bodes well. The huge factories , machines , and wire disintegration machines are substantial bits of modern equipment and would be extremely hard to put on upper floors.

A huge machine seen at the Glashütte Original manufacture.

Sub-gathering is situated on the subsequent floor. Here, technicians work on assignments such as arresting , truing wheels, and balancing adjusts. The watchmaking division is on the subsequent floor also. The third floor is committed to the completing department.

Truing wheels.

Finished full-plate bridge.

Finished rotors, with weights attached.

Working on an engraved equilibrium bridge.

Inside the completing department.

Dials & Cases

Glashütte Original’s dials and cases are made in Germany, however in an alternate city. Pforzheim has been the conventional home of dial and case work for the German watchmaking industry for quite a while, and stays a significant community for these components today. It’s some separation from Glashütte; while Glashütte is only a short distance from the boundary with the Czech Republic, on the eastern German line, Pforzheim is on the Western line with the Alsace area of France. In spite of the fact that its set of experiences isn’t too known to watch aficionados as that of Glashütte, Pforzheim has, all things considered, a considerably more and more seasoned relationship with watchmaking, just as jewelry making; watchmaking was going on in Pforzheim as right on time as the mid 1700s, and the city was once nicknamed “Goldstadt” (brilliant city) for the breadth of its watch and jewelry exchanges. It was additionally seriously harmed during World War II – Allied besieging in 1945 murdered 33% of the city’s populace and annihilated around 80% of its structures. Much of the city is, in this way, current development, however the conventional watch and jewelry businesses are still present.

I visited Pforzheim to see the work being done first-hand.

Inside the dial workshop.

The dial and case manufactory building is a humble two-story structure in the modern piece of town, with little signage. The principal floor is devoted to dials, and the second to cases. Note that the dial manufactory is totally owned by Glashütte Original, while the case manufactory isn’t. That being said, the case manufactory produces cases only for Glashütte Original.

I saw all the assembling steps that Glashütte Original dials take as they are changed from metal stock to a completed piece. There are no alternate routes taken in this interaction; the attention is on quality over quantity. Separate rooms house the different assembling steps, including machining, completing , chemical cycles, assessment, and electroplating .

Moon stage discs.

Dials at different phases of completion.

A vintage dial shows motivation for the current collection.

The case-production floor was energizing to see, because of the gigantic multi-hub CNC plants that were running. While cases are given their essential shape by these computer-guided processing machines, the completing activities are totally done by hand. Tons of finishers worked with an assortment of apparatuses to add last completes to the newly machined cases.

Reclamation Workshop

Back at the Museum in Glashütte, Glashütte Original works a reclamation workshop under the cautious eye of watchmaker Jurgen Franke. The reclamation workshop will work on any watch that meets two straightforward guidelines: it should be of Glashütte birthplace, and it should be made before 1990 ( German reunification ).

Jurgen Franke at work.

Inside the reclamation workshop.

As we were walking out of the reclamation workshop, I saw a watch that he was working on – a late 19th-century pocket watch from A. Lange & Söhne . This says a lot about the ethos of watchmaking in Glashütte. The rebuilding workshop and historical center are controlled by Glashütte Original, they take care of the bills. However, their central goal goes past business. Glashütte Original , and the entirety of the watchmaking brands in Glashütte, are carrying on the German watchmaking custom such that the whole world can admire.

Glashütte Original boutique in Dresden.

Past and present

GUB pocket watch dial.

Past and present with the Alfred Helwig flying tourbillon model.

Scale model of the GUB Kaliber 67, in the German Watchmaking Museum, Glashütte. Kaliber 67 was produced using 1960-67.