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Glashutte: Small village in Saxony, the heart of the German clock industry


Translation from Ashok Soman's article, published in World of Watches Malaysia magazine.

Switzerland is the world's most famous watchmaker country, with Geneva perhaps the heart, this cannot be denied. But in the Saxony region, in eastern Germany, there is a small village with the ability to compete with any Swiss watch brand, whether high-end or oldest. That is Glashutte.




Perhaps, the story of the German watch industry can be summed up in a single word: Glashutte. Honestly, Glashutte is not the only place to make watches in Germany, Sinn and Junghans fans will definitely argue, but here, the German spirit and history are described as the strongest, so strong that it will be who mistook the village's name as a perennial brand. The lovers of time machines agree that Glashutte is almost like a German brand, with watch makers proudly printing the Glashutte dial.



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People who love watches have probably heard of the famous brands based here, A. Lange & Sohne, Nomos, Glashutte Original, or Moritz Grossmann … Strangely, on many trips, people just talking about A. Lange & Sohne and Glashutte Original as the only two brands in this village, although history has named many other companies who chose this village as a stopover. Today, just walking around the office area of โ€‹โ€‹the two names mentioned above, people also see many other brands: Nomos, Moritz Grossmann, Muhle-Glashutte or Tutima, and the branch of the seller. Wempe odd too.



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The atmosphere that made the heart-warming brothers in this heart lead to a big question: Why is the German clock capital just a village with only 7,000 people living in the outskirts of Dresden? Plus, why should it be a clock and not any other industry?



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The second question is probably not permanently answered geographically and historically, but the first question has a lot of documents recorded, meticulously. Once again, the word Glashutte's reputation was created from works created by the two oldest surviving names: A Lange & Sohne and Glashutte Original. Another name is also old, but not many people know, Union Glashutte, now owned by Swatch Group.



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Now is the time to invite you to study history …

Glashutte is located in the middle of the regional capital Saxony, Dresden and the Czech Republic. It is not near Switzerland like the clock capital of France, Franche-Comte. On the comparison, the village of Glashutte is more famous than the Vallee de Joux, which is home to many of the big boys, Audermars Piguet, Blancpain, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and only lost each Geneve in the minds of enchants. clock.

Until the eighteenth century, except for the Guild, the watchmaker founded in 1668 in Dresden, the Saxony region had little tradition of producing time machines. That gloom caused Johann Heinrich Seyffert to make his own moves. If you have the opportunity to come to Dresden, visit the museum named Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon inside Zwinger palace, where it details the history of this palace, how it becomes a center for astronomers. And these scientists need precise measuring tools, including a time measurement tool. In the beginning, the Germans had to rely on British-made equipment, but Seyffert thought otherwise, the Germans could completely create such items.

Downstream history a bit. Seyffert is a Johann Christian Friedrich Gutkaes teacher, and Gutkaes is the only one who teaches the watchmaking industry to Ferdinand Adolph Lange. A. Lange & Sohne, are you familiar? These legendary watch artists brought the lessons they drew to create the Funf Minuten Uhr watch in the middle of the stage of the Dresden Opera:



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The digital dance mechanism of this watch is still affecting the design language of A. Lange & Sohne until now. And because of these projects, the watch makers at Glashutte did not print the name of the village, but they put the headquarters on the dial, but instead Dresden. Part of the reason, Adolph Lange is a son of Dresden city.



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Ferdinand Adolph Lange (1815 – 1875)

Ferdinand is probably the most important name marking the return of watch brands based in Glashutte. Unlike the museums in Switzerland, Glashutte's clock museum is a show of elegance with every brand present, the guides are sometimes crazy to mention them all at once. .

But just like Vallee de Joux, Glashutte became the capital of the German watch industry because of economic reasons. For Vallee de Joux, watchmakers were farmers, until the cold winter made them unable to continue farming and breeding. They earn their living through the harsh winter by assembling watches or creating components for other countries like England, France and Germany because of cheaper costs. Gradually, Valle de Joux and Neuchatel became the birthplace of the Swiss watch industry.



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Similarly, this small village in the Ore Mountains was proud of the mines, but then in the 19th century, when the resources began to run out, the economy also became difficult. To help the Muglitz region, the authorities at the time began a program for miners to gradually switch to making watches. It was Ferdinand Lange who drafted this plan and sent it to the Saxon royal family, after returning from Switzerland. He saw this transformation work perfectly in your country, and wants to bring this way to Saxony. The royal family saw the ears, and the plan was started.



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The original letter Ferdinand Lange sent to the royal family of Saxony

Ferdinand Lange and his students, along with Moritz Grossmann, Julius Assmann and Adolf Schneider began producing mandarin watches with the Dresden brand. A little detail, then Germany was not united, until 1871 Saxony joined the German empire, and later the Weimar Republic in 1918.

According to historical records, in 1851, Ferdinand Lange brought his watch to the Great Fair in England, marking the launch of the Glashutte watch in the international market. By the beginning of the 20th century, Glashutte was where more than 100 watchmaking workshops were located. Parts suppliers and ancillary business systems start moving to Muglitz to operate. The cradle of German watch industry was formed.



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By the twentieth century, the Glashutte clock had found itself a large market, to the point that some unknown Swiss companies had to "borrow" this brand to produce System Glashutte tangerine watches. :



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Perhaps, the enemy of the watch industry of Glashutte is absolutely not a pirate, but an enemy of many other industries that the Germans are proud of: Two world wars, which the Swedes Sy almost never affected. World War II ended, Glashutte became the territory of the German Democratic Republic, and the watch industry here was stalled. The Russians bombed this village, and by the way, the finishing blow: They took all the machines that were the rice rod of the artisans, the machines that made the gears just as small as the nail tips but were extremely delicate.



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Under the German Democratic Republic, all companies and workshops work under a common brand: Glashutte Uhrenbetrieb (GUB) with the goal of producing cheap and large-scale watches. After all, thanks to this decision, Glashutte still existed, even if it was just wobbly and the artists lost their passion to create sophisticated machines that compete with the Swiss. Without GUB, perhaps the "Glashutte watch" will become a legend only in many minds.



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The Cold War ended, the fall of the Berlin Wall was the time when the Glashutte faced new challenges. Now they are only about seven dozen people working in the watch industry, but in the middle of the difficulty is the German spirit. Glashutte's contemporary era began with Walter Lange, great grandfather of Ferdinand Lange, the fourth human transmission of the Lange watch empire and the famous director Gunter Blumlein thanks to the help of several partners such as IWC and Jaeger. -LeCoultre to reopen the watchmaking company. By 1994, the start-up companies came out, old names came back, like Glashutte Original, Muhle Glashutte and even Nomos.



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Walter Lange (1924 – 2017) next to the grandfather's statue, Ferdinand Lange.

On watches manufactured in this village, there is always the words Glashutte I / SA or / SA. Why is I / SA? Because in Germany there are 33 towns and villages named Glashutte, and I / SA stands for "In Saxony", which identifies the right place of the cradle of the German watch industry. It's been a long time since the time of industrial production, there was no meticulousness of the artist, and we, who loved the watch, only knew of one Glashutte, the place where the machines were created. full of sophistication, exactly in a very classic way. And all probably thanks to the work of the Lange sons. A person creates a cradle, and a person revives that cradle.

To post, please send some pictures of the works created by Glashutte's hand:




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A. Lange & Sohne Lange 1 25th Anniversary




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Glashutte Original Senator Panorama Date Moonphase




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Nomos Lambda Nachtblau




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Moritz Grossmann BENU Tourbillon




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Muhle Terrasport II



P.W

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