Last night in Los Angeles, Glashütte Original introduced Impressions, a new book about the German watchmaking company’s own history and wide-ranging manufacturing abilities. The book is an unusual one in that it was written by a host of watch journalists (myself included) and watch collectors. Each co-author contributed a chapter or two to the finished hardcover 300-plus-page full-color book.
As the company’s first such book, Impressions differs from many inward-focused brand tomes. True to its name, the book instead offers impressionistic looks at the brand’s roots, the political and social climates that influenced the brand’s growth, life behind the Berlin Wall, the firm’s current production, the people behind the scenes in Glashütte, and more – all from the perspective of different writers. The book offers twelve chapters and took more than a year to develop and complete.
“Impressions is not only a portrait of our manufactory, but a tribute to the rich history of the region and the outstanding skills of the people who work and live here,” said Yann Gamard, CEO of Glashütte Original.
The chapter I was responsible for describes how Glashütte Original survived during the GDR era while behind the Berlin Wall before its fall in 1989. With no access to the West to learn of technical advances or to buy machinery, Glashütte Original was forced to create all of its own tooling to build watches.
Thanks to the knowledge of the craftsmen the brand at that time was able to develop its own tools to perpetuate its watchmaking. This is a story meant to open the eyes of people who are not familiar with this era of German history – and it demonstrates the brand’s extraordinary staying power. Additionally, Glashütte Original was able to create innovative timepieces while behind the Wall, and many of those pieces are detailed in the book.
At the debut event in Los Angeles last night, which also celebrated 170 years of watchmaking, several contributing Impressions authors read portions of their chapters to an enthusiastic watch-collecting audience. In addition, guest were treated to a special exhibition that featured historical timepieces and various artifacts mentioned in the book while Glashütte Original watchmakers demonstrated their skills.
Impressions will be available at all Glashütte Original boutiques and Tourbillon boutiques for approximately $190.
Roberta Naas is the founder of atimelyperspective.com