The Best of Germany – Guide to German Watches
We can talk about the Swiss giants all day long with regards to watchmaking (think Rolex ), yet far time and again the world at large forgets that they’re not by any means the only district out there with a root in the realm of watchmaking. The small town of Glashutte, located approximately 40 minutes south of Dresden, is the heart of German watchmaking, and an area that has shown extraordinary resilience throughout the long term. Post-WWII appropriations left the district with no gear whatsoever, and yet the local population discovered means to reestablish the trade. Being on the Eastern side of the wall, many years were lost to mass-creation of fairly lackluster and utilitarian timepieces, nonetheless, since the fall of the wall we’ve seen numerous brands rise from the ashes to reclaim the previous greatness that is high watchmaking in Germany. All told there are a decent at least dozen watch brands creating watches in Glashutte, yet for quickness we’ve narrowed this list down to a smattering of our favorite brands in the category.
Lange & Sohne
Formally rebooted by Walter Lange, it was 1994 when A. Lange & Sohne came back into the German universe of watchmaking intensely, after over half a century since its doors were previously closed. Placing a target on the backs of Patek Philippe , Audemars Piguet, and Vacheron Constantin, Walter Lange sought to take top notch level watchmaking back to Glashutte, and his first watch—the Lange 1—hit the nail squarely on the head. An extraordinary caliber with an oversized dual-disk date window, separate subdials for quite a long time/minutes and running seconds, and a large force reserve indication at 3 o’clock, the Lange 1 laid the preparation for future collections. Despite the fact that exceptional finishing is at the front line of the brand’s priorities, technical innovation and improvement of new calibers is of equal importance. Among countless others, the digital-display Zeitwerk assortment, and the remarkable new Triple Split keep on demonstrating that in Glashutte, Germany and even in the watch industry in general, Lange is a brand with not very many rivals.
On the complete opposite finish of the spectrum, Nomos has for quite some time been an enthusiast favorite in the passage level segment. Manufacture calibers and respectable levels of finishing are abound, all paired with exceptional minimalist and Bauhaus affected design. While its manufacture and corporate headquarters remain in Glashutte, the brand also maintains its design community in Berlin. Their pieces are mostly on the conservative side, late additions to the Club assortment and the new Autobahn series clearly show the brand isn’t afraid of getting somewhat playful with its designs. In the $2-3k category, Nomos consistently remains one of the default recommendations you’ll consistently hear from anyone with an ear to the ground in the watch industry.
In many ways, the Swatch Group-claimed Glashutte Original has quite possibly the most interesting backstories of the area. In contrast to its siblings in the locale, Glashutte Original outgrew the state-controlled GUB (VEB Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe). Landing as an approximate mid-step among Lange and Nomos, its professional timepieces range between generally $5,000 and somewhere north of $15,000. Most as of late the brand has put greater focus on its vintage-inspired Sixties Iconic collections, all of which feature vintage-inspired dial designs displayed after creations from its past and using traditional techniques from the time frame. This year’s legend release from the assortment features a finished green dial created using one of the original stamping dies revealed from the brand’s instrument archive.
Bearing the name of one of only a handful few central members in the establishing of Glashutte as a watchmaking district, the advanced Moritz Grossmann is just 10 years old , yet the brand is already making a strong name for themselves as a specialty player with exceptionally impressive capabilities. Among various key details, the finishing of its cases and hands are absolutely exceptional. As part of their novelties for 2018, the brand revealed their first self-winding caliber that pays a particularly interesting gesture to the early days of watchmaking. Rather than following the usual course of a self-winding rotor, the brand built up their own take on the traditional guard/pendulum twisting mechanism from longer than a century ago. While they in no way, shape or form wasted time, the approach is nonetheless refreshing, having just sufficient technical/designing appeal to swoon a healthy share of collectors and enthusiasts. Cased in rose gold and estimated just shy of 40,000 Euros, this watch is not for the faint of heart or wallet, but rather it’s absolutely worth considering for those searching for something somewhat extraordinary for their collection.