Let’s be honest the best watches have always come from Switzerland, or do they? The Germans think otherwise and to be honest, with you, it does show in their work, only recently have devotees to Swiss watches rethought their decision through and went with a German watch instead, with all these new startups popping up on watch blogs such as this and Kickstarter we thought that it’s time to weigh in on a rapidly approaching major sector in the market, so just who are the top 5 German watch brands to look out for?
Although the Mühle-Glashütte watch company itself was formed in 1994, the Mühle family’s involvement in the Glashütte area spans all the way back to 1869 with Robert Mühle who founded a now-defunct company called Robert Mühle & Son who produced precision instruments for the watchmaking school and, later on, instruments for Maybach and BMW among others. Today Mühle Glashütte makes high-quality wristwatches with inspired designs, stand out bezels and multiple colour offerings which use ETA calibres to make traditional yet affordable watches, if you want a clean and crisp dress watch check out the Teutonia II Großdatum Chronometer watch. muehle-glashuette.de
4. Sinn Spezialuhren
Sinn Spezialuhren, more commonly known to us as Sinn, has been with us from 1961 and have been producing top quality watches to match the big boys for a while now. Since their inception by Helmut Sinn in Frankfurt, they have been focusing on flight instruments and mission timers that have been used in the Spacelab D1 mission in 1985 and by the GSG-9, Germany’s top counter-terrorism unit. Sinn watches are known for meeting very strict standards such as TESTAF (Technischer Standard Fliegeruhren, the technical standard for pilot watches) and European Device Diving Standards. If you’re looking for a masculine and sporty chronograph watch with a panache then check out the Frankfurt Financial District Watch. sinn.de
3. Glashütte Original
Glashütte Original appeared in 1994, although the company itself can trace its roots back to 1951 when it was known as VEB Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe. Glashütte Original strives to use the best techniques they can in order to bring us fine timepieces, but that doesn’t mean their watches are grey and businesslike as some Audi interiors. Glashütte Original hand decorates their movements with stripes, perlage decorations and hand engraved balance cocks and bridges as well as using the traditional blued screws and gold chatons. Do you want a backwards dial watch which has most of the essentials mounted on the three-quarter plate that’s normally at the back of a German watch? Check out the PanoMaticInverse, it’s crazy and I love it! glashuette-original.com
2. NOMOS Glashütte
Nomos is a company that’s been making waves recently in the watch industry as more and more people who are in the market for an affordable dress watch that could make certain high-end companies shake in their shoes realised the existence of this German company. Yet another watch company of Glashütte, Nomos came to be in 1990, just two months after the Berlin Wall fell. Their watches are heavily influenced by purist Bauhaus style and are loved by their followers for their exceptionally clean looks. Since 2005 all Nomos watches have used in-house made calibres, a real plus for anyone looking for a watch with a real krach for their buck. If you’re after the quintessential minimalist dress watch then I suggest the Lambda 39 Samtschwarz for its super thin hands, elegant black dial and 84 hours of power reserve. nomos-glashuette.com
1. A. Lange & Söhne
Honestly, you’d have to not have been given the gift of sight to not see this one coming, and with their latest watches, you’d still be able to hear it. A.Lange & Söhne returned to us from their nonexistence in 1994 (what a year for German watchmaking, Lange, Glashütte Original and Mühle all coming to us in one year!) and brought out what is now one of the most iconic dress watches of all time, the Lange 1. It’s the way the dial is spaced out yet not inconsistent, using geometry to organise the dial in a way that is subconsciously pleasing to the human mind is just inspired. Apart from the Lange 1, other top watches include the Saxonia and Datograph models, but pretty much all their watches are winners in their own right, leaving you to just pick a style you favour most. If you want a watch that combines traditional watchmaking with a digital layout and a unique invention I recommend you check out one of my personal favourites, the Zeitwerk Striking Time, it chimes every 15 minutes, how cool is that?! alange-soehne.com
Have you got an idea for a WristReview Top 5? Why not send it to us or leave it in the comments section? You never know, we might feature it!
HARLAN CHAPMAN-GREEN – MANAGING EDITOR
A keen bass guitar player, Harlan enjoys all the perks modern watchmaking technologies the industry has to offer. Although you might catch him sampling Omegas or the “odd” Rolex, Harlan loves all things Haute Horology, with his three favourite brands being Breguet, A.Lange & Söhne and Vacheron Constantin. He hopes to study timekeeping more in depth someday and will never be able to thank his father enough for introducing him to the industry. You can follow him on Instagram Read his articles here