Meeting Recap: Glashütte on Board – 130 Years of Marine Chronometers From Saxony

Ulrike Kranz - Glashütte Original
May 1, 2017

Video recordings of meetings are available to HSNY members.

There is always something new and interesting to learn at HSNY lectures. This was proven once again at the May 1st meeting when Glashütte Original's Ulrike Kranz discussed the history of German marine chronometers. Since the late 19th century and continuing to the present day, watch companies located in the city of Glashütte have produced marine chronometers used by countries worldwide to aid in sea navigation. 

Ms. Kranz pointed out that the Glashütte horological industry went through hard times after WWII. Much of their machinery, equipment, and designs were confiscated by Russian forces as part of war reparations. However, they were able to retool most of their factories, recreating designs from memory. It was a remarkable achievement since there was a postwar blockade preventing imports from the west. The new GDR state controlled all factories. Nevertheless, outstanding timepieces continued to be exported. 

Kranz explained that after the reunification of Germany the Glashütte Observatory was reopened, and today houses a chronometer testing facility. The Glashütte Observatory also officially certifies the chronometers made by Glashütte Original – the legal successor of the VEB Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe. HSNY thanks Ulrike Kranz, Glashütte Original and the German Watch Museum for the incredible look at German horological history!

Submitted by Walter Pangretitsch, Recording Secretary, HSNY