The brand Glashütte Original - Glashütte Original
Glashütte Original stands for innovative watchmaking art that meets the highest standards. Our timepieces are the product of the best in German engineering and craftsmanship: technically sophisticated, reliably precise and timelessly beautiful. Clearly defined values play a major role – they give us motivation day after day.
The art of German engineering is the epitome of excellent quality all over the world. As a result, timepieces from Glashütte Original bear their “Made in Germany” seal of origin with pride and embody maximum precision, reliability and durability.
Innovative constructions, the use of state-of-the-art technology and fresh, clear design characterise the timepieces from Glashütte Original. Young watchmakers learn their trade here from experienced colleagues. Together they leverage expert knowledge, creativity and passionate dedication to make sure the Glashütte art of watchmaking never comes to rest and always moves forward.
The concept of originality is part of our brand identity. It stands for authenticity and genuineness, but also for creativity and a wealth of ideas. Glashütte Original is thus doubly bound to honour its name: Thanks to optimal depth of production, almost every component of a movement is made and artfully perfected in-house.
The Glashütte art of watchmaking can look back on a long and eventful history of more than 175 years. The traditions and diverse experiences from the past are alive and well at Glashütte Original today. Sustaining its significant legacy serves the brand as a foundation to give shape to the art of watchmaking tomorrow.
Every one of our timepieces is exclusive and exceptional, whether it is a limited edition or not. Each year we make no more than a few hundred of any given model, even our bestsellers. Watches from Glashütte Original are exquisite masterpieces that, without appearing too conspicuous, discreetly underscore the wearer’s personality.
Beauty – inner as well as outer – is a basic principle at Glashütte Original. Whether a matter of harmonious overall design, elaborately polished movement components, artistic engravings or the delicate shimmer of a dial – the search for absolute perfection and beauty is reflected in each and every watch.
The brilliant horological achievements of the manufactory reveal themselves in the characteristic design elements of a Glashütte Original. The fine decoration of the movement components, lavishly finished by hand, is a natural obligation to our high quality standards – in the tradition of the old masters.
Unlike the Swiss watchmakers, the wheel bridge used in Glashütte watchmaking since 1864 covers three-quarters of the movement’s surface. It houses all the movable parts, from the spring barrel to the escape wheel. This ensures a much more stable construction of the movement.
The balance is part of the oscillation system, comprised of the balance wheel, balance shaft, double roll with plateau and balance spring. With its oscillations and in combination with the escapement system (anchor, escape wheel) it regulates the rate of the watch as well as the operation of the gear train. The balance wheel is set with tiny screws, which serve different functions depending on the regulation system. This complex and decorative construction is a characteristic feature of the fine art of watchmaking and evokes the constant striving of Glashütte’s watchmakers to achieve exceptional precision.
Swan-neck fine adjustment
The swan-neck fine adjustment has been a typical feature of Glashütte watch construction since 1888: To regulate the watch, one turns an adjustment screw on the swan-neck spring. It influences the balance spring by means of the regulator. Changing the position of the regulator changes the effective length of the spring, and thus regulates the rate of the watch.
Characteristic elements down to the smallest detail: each of the hand-engraved cocks and balance bridges are unique. This comprises engraving a design onto a minute space without the use of a pre-stenciled pattern. The balance cocks and bridges may be decorated only to the extent that the engraving does not interfere with their function.This results in authentic, one-of-a-kind works of art.
Glashütte stripe finish
This refined, regular decorative finish has been a characteristic feature of the art of watchmaking in Glashütte from the beginning and is applied with great care to the gear train bridges, the winding rotor and selected balance cocks. Its extremely precise parallel stripes confer a sophisticated finish and optical depth.
Perlage is a typical Glashütte surface decoration of the base plate. It consists of overlapping, pearl-shaped circles that are made by a rotating rubber peg covered with a special diamond powder that is applied to the surface by hand. This gives the movement an unmistakable „pearl“ structure.
The Glashütte sunburst decoration dates back to 1868 and embellishes round and flat components that rotate while performing (ratchet wheel). Subject to the angle at which light falls on the gears, it is reflected in circular patterns, which can have a strong, even hypnotic effect.
Screw-mounted gold chatons
On some movements in the prestige watch segment, pivot bearings, or jewels, are set in so-called gold chatons. The chaton is a bed made of 18-karat gold that is placed into special drillings in the wheel bridge and secured with two or three blued screws. Each chaton is fitted in height to its mounted position.
Tiny steel screws mirror-polished by hand turn their colour from grey to yellow, brown, red, and violet tones when heated (tempered) and achieve the desired, permanent deep blue colour at about 290°C. Beside a beautiful deep blue colour, the screw receives a protection against corrosion by polishing.
Traditional horological process where the edges of processed metal surfaces are manually bevelled to an angle of 45°. The bevelled edges must exhibit a constant width and maintain its angle. This process creates decorative, shiny edges, but also a more resistant material by densifying the surface.
The Manufactory Glashütte Original
The heart of Glashütte Original beats inside the manufactory building: Here, under one roof, thousands of precision components are elaborately produced and assembled with care. In the heart of the town of Glashütte lies a bright and modern manufactory: Glashütte Original. Thanks to our exceptional production depth, we are able to design and produce our timepieces almost entirely in-house.
With over 10,000 square meters of floor space, the modern, generously proportioned manufactory building is a production site and a world of experience at once. The clear structures and transparent materials of the functional architecture reflect the high standards implicit in the “Made in Germany” quality seal. On four floors, corridors link the various ateliers, workshops and departments responsible for production and final assembly.
Glashütte Original upholds a tradition in which handcrafted perfection and select materials are combined with innovative production technologies. As an independent developer and maker of our own movements, we have good reason to call ourselves a “manufactory”. It is an ambitious claim: In the process of making watches here, we still perform a great many critical steps by hand – “per manum”.
From idea to execution
From the tiniest screw to the most complicated movement, timepieces from Glashütte Original leverage maximum production depth and are made largely by hand. From initial product planning to traditional final assembly, we make watches of the highest German quality.
Prototypes and tools made in-house
Every single component of a movement requires the use of very particular tools. The toolmakers in our manufactory satisfy this requirement, always placing great importance on maximum precision and state-of-the-art technology.
Precise decorative finishes
With passionate commitment and great dexterity, the many filigreed components of each watch movement are enhanced with decorative finishes. Whether meticulous bevelling, elaborate galvanisation, brilliant polishing or traditional grinding techniques: every element, no matter how small, is individually finished with exceptional creative skill.
Perfecting a work of art
Even for a relatively uncomplicated movement from Glashütte Original the watchmaker needs several hours to assemble and regulate it. More complex and ambitious movements equipped with impressive complications – such as the Senator Cosmopolite or the PanoLunarTourbillon – demand the dedicated attention of a master watchmaker for up to twenty working days.
Demanding final examination
As soon as the timepiece has taken its final form, it must undergo a rigorous examination: the final inspection. Only when optimal precision and quality have been confirmed can the new watch make its way into the world.
Glashütte Original is one of the few watch manufactories to produce its own elaborate, handcrafted dials entirely in-house.
Design and blanks
As soon as the design and the material for a future dial have been defined, a team comprised of dial experts and goldsmiths begins manufacturing the dial blanks.
Milling, drilling and surface treatment
As soon as the dial blank has been produced and the initial milling and drilling completed, the feet are attached to the dial, so that it can be positioned properly on the movement. The surface is then ground and polished.
Galvanisation and lacquering
Depending on the watch design, the dials are given their “face”. With galvanisation, metallic material is applied evenly by means of electrolysis. During the process of lacquering, a coloured coating is sprayed evenly over the surface by hand and then dried in a kiln.
One of the last steps in the process is printing. The so-called pad-printing method makes use of a silicone balloon to pick up ink, which is then pressed onto the dial as if from a stamp.
Most of the work involved in making a dial is performed by hand, whether it is the careful setting of precious stones, the application of Super-LumiNova or the mounting of appliques.
Before a dial is completed, it must pass numerous tests for quality, including a careful review of technical data along with an aesthetic inspection of polished and ground surfaces.
Of artists and their canvases
The decorative sun ray finish is applied using a rotating brass brush. Set-up and operation of the device are performed manually, while regular rotation is assured by means of a small motor.
The circular finish, also known as “vinyl” pattern, is applied using a lathe. A turning tool cuts a thin thread of metal out of the rotating dial blank, resulting in a pattern of fine grooves. This pattern is used in particular to decorate auxiliary dials such as those on a number of Pano models.
A mother-of-pearl dial is always cut in one piece from the shell and is only 0.4 mm thick. In order to protect the razor-thin material from breaking, it is mounted on a brass or German silver disc, which is also only 0.4 mm thick. Additional colour effects can be achieved by applying, for example, blue or pink lacquer between the dial and its support; the colour then filters through the mother-of-pearl, lending it a special coloured shimmer.
Function and aesthetics merge in the moon phase display, which is also made in the dial manufactory. Its basic material consists of bronze or German silver. First, galvanization produces the deep blue night sky, onto which silver or gold-coloured stars are applied. The two moons are then cut out with a milling tool, which gives them their convex form. The surface of the “moons” is then finished using a special diamond milling tool, which assures a unique brilliance.
The Panorama Date’s tiny display discs are also made in-house. Subsequently mounted concentrically, these discs either match precisely the colour of the dial or are intentionally given a contrasting colour.