Junghans has been a leading clock and watchmaker in Germany since the turn of the 20th century. The company’s current CEO, Matthias Stotz, is a master watchmaker who demands the highest standards of his team married with a respect for the history of horology in his country. WatchPro spoke to him about the post, present and future for Junghans as part of our investigation into German watchmaking.
WatchPro: How has the history of German watchmaking influenced your current business?
Matthias Stotz: Junghans has actually been an important part of the history of German watchmaking. In 1903 Junghans has even been the biggest clock producer in the world, in 1956 the third biggest chronometer producer after Rolex and Omega. And in 1972 Junghans was official time keeper of the Olympic games in Munich, just to name a few of our historical milestones. Today’s collection still benefits and reflects this history.
WatchPro: How strong is the training and education of watchmakers in Germany?
Matthias Stotz: In Germany it takes three years to successfully complete a watch making course. A watchmaker may than complete a master watchmaking course, which allows him to train other watchmaker. The “Meister” (master) system is a highly respected education system for craftsmanship in Germany.
Like other employees at Junghans, myself I am master watchmaker in 4th generation and even today I hold lectures for the master watchmaker class at the watch making school in Villingen-Schwenningen.
At Junghans we have master watchmaker in all different departments. We believe that watchmaker not only “think about watches” but rather “live watches”, which is significant for us at Junghans. For myself this is also the ideal basis to guide a traditional watch company with a respectful passion for our timepieces. Already in the 1930th to 1960th our most precise watches have been named “Meister”, which is still the name of our core line in our collection.
WatchPro: Are there characteristics that you feel identify your watches as being German, and are key selling points?
Matthias Stotz: The main characteristics of German watches are surely a very clean and classical design – often inspired by the German Bauhaus philosophy. Junghans surly played a significant part in strengthening this design philosophy. This implies propositions like “less is more” and “form follows function”. Today our classic “max bill” is the most popular and authentic Bauhaus watch. Simple, authentic and straight forward – reduced to the minimum. It is the power and beauty of simplicity, which incorporates a great attention to details as well as professional craftsmanship and reliable quality. All these characteristics get implied by our watches and are a convincing selling point for our customers.
WatchPro: Does ‘made in Germany’ help you attract the best retailers that your brand targets around the world?
Matthias Stotz: “Made in Germany” definitely is a trigger for us to succeed in international markets. Together with our unique brand characteristics we are happy to see that this is also increasingly respected in terms of watches. Also in UK we are very satisfied with the level of retailers and the feed-back we receive from the market.
WatchPro: Can you describe your business in the UK – which retailers do you work with? What works well in the UK? How has business been in the past few years? Do you have any new ideas or plans concerning the UK in the coming 12 months?
Matthias Stotz: In the UK Junghans counts on 36 POS at present; this includes luxury watch retailers, department stores, designer stores and a few selected online retailers.
The hard work, well selected POS combined with the brilliant and unique design of Junghans has proven to be a great combination in last years’ results. The future is bright and positive with a number of potential new customers on the way.
Junghans’ Key Collections for 2017