Oc­cu­py­ing a spe­cial niche in fine watch­mak­ing, Ger­man high horol­ogy has earned a solid fol­low­ing with its pow­er­ful yet un­der­stated char­ac­ter.

The Peak (Singapore) - - German Special -

It takes plenty of pa­tience to be a watch­maker at A. Lange & Sohne. And that’s not just be­cause it can take days to weeks to as­sem­ble the many minute parts of the Ger­man lux­ury brand’s watch move­ments, whether it’s the 368-com­po­nent en­gine of the brand’s sig­na­ture Lange 1 watch or the 867-part heart of its com­plex Grand Com­pli­ca­tion. It’s also be­cause the brand adopts the unique prac­tice of dou­ble assem­bly: Af­ter a move­ment is as­sem­bled and checked, it is taken apart and the parts cleaned and fin­ished, and put to­gether a sec­ond time. All, of course, in the name of ut­most time­keep­ing ex­cel­lence.

With its un­com­pro­mis­ing fo­cus on qual­ity, it’s no sur­prise that A. Lange & Sohne tends to first come to mind when one thinks about Ger­man fine watch­mak­ing. While it is a top-tier, al­most ex­treme ex­am­ple of Teu­tonic horol­ogy, A. Lange & Sohne is re­flec­tive of its prin­ci­ples: High, yet un­der­stated, qual­ity, in terms of both tech­ni­cal work­ings and looks.

To­day, the quiet east­ern town of Glashutte (pop­u­la­tion less than 7,000) is home to some of the most re­spected names in fine watch­mak­ing, such as Glashutte Orig­i­nal. Born of the post-re­uni­fi­ca­tion pri­vati­sa­tion of eight pre­vi­ously na­tion­alised watch firms, the brand as­sem­bles its own move­ments and makes al­most all of its own com­po­nents.

But it’s not just the coun­try’s prici­est time­pieces that have a loyal fol­low­ing. Across the street from Glashutte Orig­i­nal is the pro­duc­tion cen­tre of No­mos, a mid-tier brand that has earned a ra­bid fan base with its rel­a­tively af­ford­able cre­ations fea­tur­ing in-house move­ments and min­i­mal­ist Bauhaus de­sign sen­si­bil­i­ties.

While Glashutte might be Ger­many’s high-horol­ogy hub, other key pock­ets of watch­mak­ing ac­tiv­ity can be found else­where in the coun­try: Frank­furt-based Sinn, for in­stance, is an­other fan favourite for its nonon­sense tool watches for pi­lots and divers. Closer to Glashutte, Dres­den is home to an­other brand that has been mak­ing waves among col­lec­tors: Lang & Heyne. Helmed by fifth-gen­er­a­tion watch­maker Marco Lang, the in­de­pen­dent brand’s lat­est Georg time­piece has no fancy com­pli­ca­tions, just the time – but fans can­not get enough of its move­ment: It’s cre­atively but cleanly con­structed, and hand­somely fin­ished, with­out os­ten­ta­tion. And, in­deed, very Ger­man.

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