Switzerland clearly rules the global roost when it comes to horology. but across the border in germany watchmakers have been plying their trade for just as long as their swiss counterparts, surviving war, division and reunification.
Given the almost synonymous relationship between Switzerland and the watchmaking profession today, one might assume that watchmaking in neighbouring Germany came about as a result of the country’s border-sharing relationship with the Swiss.
But the development of watches, from their stationary cousin, the clock, appeared simultaneously in the 15th Century in a number of European countries as mechanical techniques improved and the mainspring was refined granting watches greater flexibility.
Whatever your view of national stereotypes, it is obviously apparent that German watches are a more sober, serious, less decorative affair than those of their Swiss counterparts.
Of course we are talking about a smaller sample size and the intricately decorated watches of Grieb & Benzinger, the Deutscher Werkbund stylings of Nomos Glashütte and Junghans’ recent penchant for colourful dials suggest that German watch manufacturers are now open to more expressive designs.