Origin and Location
Pforzheim is a city in the north-west of Baden-Württemberg on the northern edge of the Black Forest. It is an original Roman foundation. In 1067, Pforzheim was first mentioned by Emperor Heinrich IV. in an official document. In the 17th century, the city was destroyed several times by French troops. A British air attack in 1945 that killed about 18,000 citizens, nearly left 80 percent of the city area in ruins.
History of Watch Making
The history of Pforzheim’s watch making and jewelry industry dates back to the year 1767, when Margrave Carl Friedrich of Baden founded the city’s first clock factory.
In 1849, the Watchmaker Trade Association (Uhrmachergewerbeverein) for the Württemberg Black Forest is established. At the beginning of the 20th century, the region is home to many world-renowned watch manufacturers and their suppliers. Around 1922, Pforzheim’s watch and housing industry consisted of 30 companies that were joined together in the Association for German Watchmaking Industry (Wirtschaftsverband der Deutschen Uhrenindustrie).
In 1970, about 28,000 employees worked in 300 of Pforzheim’s watch making companies. Germany is one of Europe’s biggest producers of watches and watch components in the mid-eighties .
During the “quartz crisis” in the late 70’s, the industry gets under pressure by increasing competition from the Far East.
The renowned vocational school for watchmakers in Pforzheim preserves and strengthens the ties with traditional watchmaking. In the 90’s, traditional companies and ambitious young watchmakers restore Pforzheim’s reputation of being a leading city for Germany’s watch industry.
Watch Industry Today
Well known German watch brands from Pforzheim are Aristo, Laco and Stowa. Each gained fame through their popular pilot’s watch series. The Fricker GmbH is a renowned watch housing maker located in the area. Also from Pforzheim is the Scheufele family, that has previously produced its watch brand “Eszeha” at the place and attained worldwide fame through the luxury manufacturer Chopard.
In addition, many well-known brands have settled their German representation in Pforzheim, eg. Maurice Lacroix, Sector and Cimier.
Watch Parts from Germany (WPG) in the Pforzheim area
In order to exploit synergies between neighboring providers and to provide concentrated expertise to an interested clientele, Hansjörg Vollmer – CEO of watch brand Aristo – founded the association WPG – Watch Parts from Germany eV. It is a consortium of watch and watch component producers, particularly located in the Pforzheim area, covering a broad spectrum of services, including manufacturing of watch housings, watch crowns, watch straps, etc.