Origin and Location
Ruhla is located in the Thuringian Forest, southeast of the city of Eisenach. The name Ruhla may be derived from a stream called Rolla that flows through the upper part of the city.
History of Watch Making
The city of Ruhla is a traditional center of watch and precision engineering industries.
In 1862, brothers Christian and Georg Thiel founded a metal factory in Ruhla and started to produce pocket watches in 1892. The company continued to expand and distinguished itself as one of the largest and most important watch manufacturers in Germany.
After 1945, the company merged into VEB Uhrenwerke Ruhla. While companies in and around Glashütte specialized in high quality watches in the upper price ranges, focus in Ruhla was mainly on cheaper mass production.
Watch Industry Today
The disorganization of VEB Uhrenwerke Ruhla after the German reunification created several privatized and highly specialized enterprises of small and medium size. This includes the manufacturer Gardé Uhren und Feinmechanik Ruhla GmbH, which continues to produce watches in the lower price range, mostly quartz watches and timepieces for special use (eg, radio clocks, alarm clocks, chess clocks, Braille watches, hunting watches, etc.).