In the Erzgebirge region of Saxony, watchmakers supplying the royal court started a long tradition of craftsmanship that still inspires Glashütte Original today.

Silence reigns in the workshops of Glashütte Original. Tiny cogs, springs and screws are laid out meticulously on the high workbenches. Carefully and precisely, the watchmakers assemble hundreds of small components by hand until a mechanical masterpiece finally emerges. Here, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to transport oneself 170 years back in time – to the early years of the Glashütte watchmaking industry.

Bound by tradition

In the mid-19th century, court watchmaker Ferdinand A. Lange from Dresden decided to establish a Saxon watchmaking industry in the Erzgebirge mountains together with several highly regarded colleagues, including Julius Assman, Moritz Grossmann and Adolf Schneider. The little town of Glashütte was ideal for the new venture because its ore mining industry was in long-term decline and many former miners were seeking a new occupation. Over the years, the founders invested in training and education for their workers and set up the first German watchmaking school in 1878, thereby laying the foundation in Glashütte for future generations of Saxon master watchmakers. One thing was clear: only the very highest quality had any chance of success, because the number of customers who could afford expensive timepieces was very small and such individuals were also extremely demanding. Subsequent developments showed that this was the right approach to take, and the watchmaking school still exists today. The historic building in the centre of Glashütte has also housed the German Watch Museum Glashütte since 2008, where over 400 exhibits illustrate the development of the watchmaking industry in the town. Visitors can see exquisite pocket watches, high-precision marine chronometers, early wrist watches, patent certificates and historic watchmakers’ workbenches.

High-tech meets highly skilled craftsmanship

The workplaces on display in the museum hardly differ from those found today at Glashütte Original. Although many of the precision components are now produced using the very latest technology, finishing work and assembly are still done by hand. Up to 95 per cent of the parts in each watch are made on site in the state-of-the-art manufactory – representing a level of in-house production unequalled by any other watchmaker in Glashütte. And because even the very smallest components hidden deep inside the watches are painstakingly polished and finished, the timepieces made by this Saxon company enjoy an exceptional reputation among watch enthusiasts and collectors the world over. Discerning customers can see the latest models featuring ever more sophisticated movements at Glashütte Original boutiques in Dresden, Paris and Geneva. The company also has shops in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo. All over the world, watches with the distinctive double-G symbol are valued as an outstanding example of German workmanship – made in Saxony.