German Watch Museum Glashütte celebrates 10th anniversary
A look back at a successful decade
On Tuesday, May 22, 2018, a performer who normally puts others in the spotlight found himself at centre stage: the German Watch Museum Glashütte celebrated its 10th anniversary in the atrium of the Glashütte Original manufactory. The proximity of the manufactory to the museum was not the only reason the venue was appropriate: as co-founder of the "German Watch Museum – Nicolas G. Hayek" Foundation, the manufactory is directly involved in the project.
Markus Dressler, board director of the foundation and mayor of Glashütte, Frank Kittel, board director of the foundation and managing director of Glashütte Original, and Reinhard Reichel, director of the museum, highlighted its importance to Glashütte, the region and the German watch industry. In their remarks, they addressed more than 100 invited guests, among them politicians and business persons, lenders, contemporary witnesses, partner museums and representatives of local watchmaking companies. The evening ended with an athmospheric fireworks display in front of the museum.
Nick Hayek, CEO of the Swatch Group, of which Glashütte Original has been a member since the year 2000, congratulated the museum and its team: "Heartfelt congratulations go to the German Watch Museum Glashütte on its anniversary. Ten years – that's the blink of an eye in the centuries-long history of Glashütte, but it's a milestone for the foundation that proudly carries my father's name. The town continues to write history today, and the German Watch Museum Glashütte will contribute to preserving the art of measuring time in the future as well."
Celebrations were not confined to the atrium at Glashütte Original; on Tuesday, the foundation invited visitors to the town to a lively family day. Many families took advantage of the school holidays to dive into the fascinating world of watches. On a bright sunny day the museum employees and approx. 500 interested guests celebrated the special anniversary, and were surprised to learn that for many people, the museum is still considered an insider tip.
Numerous visitors from around the world
Across an exhibition area of some 1,000 square meters in the historic building in the heart of the town, the history of Glashütte watchmaking is presented, and with it the history of the Glashütte Original manufactory, in chronological order and open to experience with all five senses. One can admire unique exhibits, follow the vicissitudes of industry players, and hear fascinating stories. Since the museum opened ten years ago, this mix has attracted around 365,000 visitors from a total of 114 countries, from Asia, Australia, Africa, the Americas and, of course, Europe.
A correspondingly broad range of languages can be heard at the museum: guided tours are offered in German, English, French, Chinese, Spanish and Russian, along with audio guides to the permanent collection in German, English, Chinese and Czech. A closer look reveals a great variety among the visitors as well: they come alone, in groups, with other senior citizens, or as families with children. Since 2014 the museum has expanded its pedagogical activities and has offered individual learning and experience modules for classes of schoolchildren of different ages since 2016.
Over the last ten years the permanent exhibition, conceived as an interactive multimedia experience, has not been the only feature drawing visitors from far and near. Regular special exhibitions with a focus on notable Glashütte personalities, significant periods in the history of the local watch industry, and related topics, have proven equally magnetic. In this regard the special exhibitions, "When fractions of a second make the difference", about the history of sports timing, and "Calculated!", dedicated to the less well-known subject of Glashütte calculators and organised in partnership with the Arithmeum mathematics museum in Bonn, were particularly successful in attracting visitors.
The foundation – a collective memory
The non-profit "German Watch Museum - Nicolas G. Hayek" Foundation was formed jointly in 2006 by the town of Glashütte and watchmaker Glashütte Original. It serves the small town with a significant history as a collective memory, supporting art, culture, science, research and education related to the craft of watchmaking.
Although the German Watch Museum Glashütte is doubtless the most prominent of the foundation's children, the reach of its activities extends far beyond the museum. A restoration workshop, specialist library, comprehensive archive and a wide range of projects in Germany and abroad serve to maintain valuable knowledge, documents and exhibits that are unique in the world, and to make them available to the public at large.