Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

Glashütte Original

German luxury watch manufacturer

Glashütte Original is among a handful of elite luxury brands in Germany, its roots and traditions going back to 1845. Watchmaking apprenticeships began in Glashütte in the mid-19th century and it soon became the epicentre of German horology. This Saxon watch industry had a worldwide reputation of excellence by the early 20th century, but financial and wartime difficulties, along with fierce Swiss competition, took a toll. Both world wars left their mark on Glashütte, putting the tenacity and steadfastness of the Glashütte townspeople to the test. The changes to the economic system led to the merger of all existing Glashütte watchmaking companies in July 1951. After German reunification, the Glashütter Uhrenbetrieb GmbH was entered into the commercial register on 16th October 1990. The company became the official legal successor to the majority of watchmaking enterprises that had existed in Glashütte since the end of the Second World War. It was acquired by the Swatch Group in 2000 and over 95% of production is now achieved in-house.

Glashütte Original combines state-of-the-art production technologies with traditional handwork to create some the most refined, sophisticated luxury timepieces in the heart of Germany’s watchmaking center. The brand is known for its exclusivity as only a few hundred pieces of any given model are produced annually, with limited editions particularly valued by connoisseurs and collectors alike. Vertical integration allows for harmonious overall designs with a masterful attention to detail regarding cases, dials, movements and hands. Glashütte Original is proud to include “Made in Germany” on its dials and the Saxon design language is clearly evident throughout its portfolio.

Notable pieces include the Grande Cosmopolite Tourbillon, which is among the greatest travel-friendly mechanical watches of the 21st century. Presented in 2012, the watch features multiple time zones with both central and sub-dial hands, and perpetual calendar with day of week and day/night indicator, month and leap year indicators, and Panorama date display. If you need to adjust your timezone back after a flight, all calendar displays will move backwards together to accommodate. February/March adjustments also work seamlessly in either direction with the use of only one crown. These innovations are a world’s first and the company registered four patents as a result. Capping things off is a minute Flying Tourbillon at 9 o’clock.

In 2002, the company opened the Alfred Helwig School of Watchmaking to develop and maintain new talent for future design and production. The school is a member of the Swatch Group’s international network of Nicolas G. Hayek Watchmaking Schools. This allows for greater international prospects for students in the future.

Glashütte Original belongs to a select circle of watch manufacturers that have an in-house dial production. The brand produces its own dial blanks, using materials such as brass, German silver, bronze or gold. Galvanization or the application of lacquer continue the production process, with pad-printing following (a silicone or rubber balloon picks up ink from a “cliché” or negative engraving). In the case of a complex dial like the Grande Cosmopolite Tourbillon, twelve different prints must be applied in sequence and the entire process is governed manually. Whether mounting appliques, precious stones or applying Super-LumiNova, almost every aspect of dial production is done by hand.

Watch collections include the Senator, Pano, Spezialist, Vintage and Ladies lines, with models ranging from time-only pieces to complications such as the Flying Tourbillon, perpetual calendar, moon phase, chronograph and power reserve indicator. Combining artisanship with technology, Glashütte Original honors Germany’s rich watchmaking heritage with luxury timepieces that push the boundaries of both innovation and artistry, with an educational apparatus to ensure future generations of in-house master watchmakers and designers.

History of Glashütte Original

Ferdinand Adolph Lange brings watchmaking to Glashütte
The Glashütte three-quarter plate, gold lever wheels and chatons increase precision
Glashütte German School of Watchmaking opens
Karl W. Hohnel marks first pendulum clock with Original Glashütte
Alfred Helwig develops the flying tourbillon
A ladies watch with Glashütte Original printed on the dial debuts
Glashütte watchmakers merge into state-owned company, Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe (GUB)
Glashütte Original founded following the privatization of VEB Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe
Glashütte Original is acquired by the Swatch Group
The company's own Alfred Helwig School of Watchmaking opens
Inauguration of the new manufactory building
The German Watch Museum Glashütte opens
The Grande Cosmopolite Tourbillon, the brand's masterpiece, is presented