Virtuozity - - Watch -

MANY HIS­TOR­I­CAL WATCH brands are well-known for hav­ing gal­vanised the watch­mak­ing in­dus­try in their home towns. En­tire watch­mak­ing cities have sprung up around sin­gle brands, with ex­perts from across the con­ti­nent flock­ing to them in or­der to sat­isfy the grow­ing de­mand for horo­log­i­cal crafts­men. There is one brand, how­ever, that ap­pears to share its des­tiny with the town from whence it came, a brand that seems in­ex­orably tied to the fate of its home, and a brand that gives back enor­mously to the com­mu­nity that helped to cre­ate it.

Glashütte Orig­i­nal was founded in 1994 with the pri­vati­sa­tion of VEB Glashüt­ter Uhren­be­triebe (GUB), an East Ger­man con­glom­er­ate formed in 1951 from the watch com­pa­nies based in the small town of Glashütte, near Dres­den. The com­pany re­mained lagely the same, but it was re­struc­tured to make way for a more modern busi­ness model, and its name was changed to Glashütte Orig­i­nal. As a re­sult of this, the com­pany likes to re­fer to its found­ing date as 1951. And be­cause it was founded by merg­ing ev­ery watch­mak­ing firm in the area into VEB, the town and the brand have be­come linked Glashütte Orig­i­nal’s his­tory goes back till 1845, when the four pioneers Fer­di­nand Adolph Lange, Moritz Groß­mann, Julius Ass­mann and Adolf Sch­nei­der, founded the ba­sis for the soon flour­ish­ing watch in­dus­try in Glashütte. Their plan was to turn Glashütte, for cen­turies known as a hub for sil­ver min­ing, into the epi­cen­tre of Ger­man qual­ity watch­mak­ing. lo­cal sup­pli­ers. This led to a stan­dard­ised, ‘Glashütte’ way in which com­po­nents were supplied and as­sem­bled.

By 1878 Groß­mann had no­ticed the bal­loon­ing state of the in­dus­try in Glashütte, and recog­nised that, for the growth to con­tinue, the town would re­quire grow­ing num­bers of qual­i­fied crafts­men. There­fore, he set up the Ger­man School of Watch­mak­ing Glashütte. One of the school’s no­table grad­u­ates, Al­fred Hel­wig, would go on to in­vent the flying tour­bil­lon, as well as be­come one of the school’s most no­table teach­ers.

By 1916, watch­mak­ers be­gan mark­ing their clocks with the phrase ‘Orig­i­nal Glashütte’ to de­note the qual­ity of the time­pieces that they were pro­duc­ing. Be­fore long, the Glashütte Pre­ci­sion Watch Fac­tory had been cre­ated, and it helped nu­mer­ous brands to man­u­fac­ture their in­creas­ingly com­plex and high-qual­ity cre­ations.

To­day, Glashütte Orig­i­nal is a part of the

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