The Glashütte Watchmaker Everyone Should Know
Everyone knows about Glashütte. It’s the New World of watchmaking, a shining hub oh horology outside of the Swiss heartlands. Why then, have so few British watch lovers heard of one of the area’s finest brands? And no, I don’t mean Lange & Sohne or Glashütte Original; I mean Mortiz Grossmann.
One of the reasons, of course, might be that for a good hundred years, Moritz Grossmann technically… didn’t exist. The name was in a few history books and annals of watchmaking, but modern attention spans being what they are it’s not really much of a surprise that they dropped off the radar.
That could well have been the end. It wouldn’t have been the first and it certainly won’t be the last manufacture to have simply… stopped and the cynical amongst us would say it wouldn’t be missed either. Yet given what’s happened in the past few years, I’m happy Christine Hutter stumbled across the name.
She found the name, found out about the heritage of Mortiz Grossman and set about creating one of Glashütte’s newest – yet conversely oldest – brands. Oh, and just to show how ill-representative the watch industry is, she also became the first woman to head her own watch brand. I often say watchmaking’s lagging behind in some regards but that’s just dumb.
Of course, Christine wasn’t new to watchmaking as a whole. She’d worked early in her career with Wempe and Maurice Lacroix, as well as those two Glashütte giants I mentioned earlier. It’s experience that held her in good stead; after all, reviving a name is just the beginning. It’s not like after a century there were late 90s catalogues lying around to take inspiration from.
So, she put things on hold to begin with. in the meantime, she casually becoming Managing Director of Haute Horlogerie Schindler SA in Switzerland, where she started putting out feelers towards making Mortiz Grossmann a reality. That reality came in11 November 2008.
The big task for the watchmaker was to translate classical 19th century horology into something for the discerning modern wrist. It’s something Breguet have been trying to manage for far too long and given their win/loss ratio it’s evidently not easy.
Well, have Moritz Grossmann succeeded? It’s a big question to be sure, but the one that denotes whether you should pay attention to the Glashütte watchmaker or pass them by as yet another goddam ‘revival’ brand.
The answer’s obviously yes. I wouldn’t be writing this otherwise.
The BENU and ATUM, the first two watches in their collection are fine pieces, the first laying down the brand’s fusion of contemporary minimalism and classical finishing, the latter their insistence on technically impressive mechanics. They introduced their ladies watch, the TEFNUT a couple of years later in 2015 and have been pushing all three families ever since.
It goes without saying that having their own Glashütte manufacture helps. It’s allowed them to keep most of their craft under one roof, from initial design sketches all the way through to traditional finishing. That’s more than even some of the biggest players in the watch world can do – and so far it’s worked to Moritz Grossmann’s advantage.
At first glance Moritz Grossmann are a pretty simple watchmaker. The basic pieces from each collection are easy to understand (except perhaps the time-setting pusher of the ATUM) and unlikely to make waves. But that’s just the basic models. Look a little deeper and there are some phenomenal pieces in there.
The BENU includes a seriously cool power reserve and an ambitious in-house tourbillon; the ATUM has a few unique dial variations, including the sapphire PURE and a Corum-esque skull – that one’s self-explanatory. Then there’s the TEFNUT which most of us would just disregard. I don’t wear ladies’ watches (even if they do fit me depressingly well).
Yet it’s here that Moritz Grossman does better than nearly anyone else I can name. The standard TEFNUT is fine if uninspired, but last years’ Twist is a novel idea that uses the strap to wind the watch. Then there’s the Sleeping Beauty which is quite simply the best women’s watch money can buy right now.
Designed by world-renowned jeweller Michael Koh, it’s asymmetrical bezel, stunning crescent moon motif and blue gemstones are nothing short of breath-taking. There’s good reason it won Moritz Grossman an award from Eve’s Watch.
For a watchmaker that few of us here in the UK have ever really heard of, Mortiz Grossmann has had an impressive few years. Sure, they’re never going to be as famous as Rolex (even the Kardashian’s would balk at that lofty aim) but their Glashütte siblings? Well, let’s wait and see.