Origin and Location
Glashütte is located in Saxony in the east of Germany. Origin and name of the village of Glashütte presumably go back to glasswoks. After it had been destroyed by Hussites in 1429, the village was documented officially for the first time in 1445 as Glaßehutte. Accumulations of silver ore were discovered at the place around 1490 which lead to a rapid economic upswing of the area. In 1506, Glashütte received its town charter by Georg Duke of Saxony.
History of Watch Making
In 1845, Saxon Ferdinand Adolph Lange was the first master watchmaker to settle down at Glashütte. He followed a call of the Royal Saxon government that had equipped him with a loan of 7,000 thalers. Lange afterwards started to educate the first watchmakers at the place. Despite considerable initial difficulties, from about 1875, the watchmaking and fine mechanical industry became the economic backbone of the city. Well-known companies were:
- A. Lange & Söhne
- J. Assmann Deutsche Anker-Uhren-Fabrik Glashütte i. Sa.
- Union Glashütte/Sa.
- Glashütter Präzisions-Uhren-Fabrik A.G. und Deutsche Präzisionsuhrenfabrik Glashütte e.G.m.b.H. as forerunner of Uhren-Rohwerke-Fabrik Glashütte AG (UROFA) and associate company Glashütter Uhrenfabrik AG (UFAG)
A high level of awareness was achieved by deck watches for the Navy as well as navigational deck watches by A. Lange & Söhne, and the pilot’s chronographs by the Tutima brand, whose producer UFAG had headquarters at the watch making town of Glashütte until the end of World War II and then merged into VEB Glashütte Uhrenbetriebe (GUB).
Just on the last day of World War II on May, 8th 1945, Glashütte was attacked and partly destroyed by soviet bombers. After the end of World War II, Glashütte’s watch makers were expropriated and manufacturing was merged into Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe (GUB). The resident watch brands disappeared from the market. However, Glashütte watches were still considered to be the more valuable timepieces, for example in comparison to the mass-produced watches from Ruhla. Known mechanical automatic watch movements were the “Spezimatic” (1960-1978), followed by the “Spezichron” (1978-1985); the proportion of mechanical movements declined sharply afterwards and there were mostly built quartz watches.
Watch Industry Today
Among others, the following companies are currently active in Glashütte in the watch making industry:
- A. Lange & Söhne – manufacturer
- Glashütte Original – manufacturer
- Nomos – manufacturer
- Mühle – manufacturer
- Hemess – manufacturer
- SUG – manufacturer of housings
- Bruno Söhnle – manufacturer
- KronSegler GmbH – manufacturer
- Tutima – manufacturer
- Moritz Grossmann
- Wempe Chronometerwerke Glashütte i/SA – manufacturer and inspection authority for chronometers
The Sternwarte Glashütte has become an important address. After being rehabilitated by Hamburg-based family Wempe, there is a permanent establishment for watches as well as an independent chronometer testing authority since 2005 that is assumed to the State Agency for Metrology and Verification Thuringia (LMET).
The German Watch Museum
On May 22nd 2008, the renovated German Watch Museum Glashütte was opened.