The Union Glashütte brand has been dedicated to fine watchmaking since it was founded more than 125 years ago. Its roots lie in the traditional centre of the German art of watchmaking, the small town of Glashütte in the Eastern Ore Mountains. This idyllic little town of 7500 or so inhabitants employs roughly 1700 people in the watchmaking industry.
To begin with, the Glashütte watch was simply an idea. With the demise of the region's once prosperous mining trade, new economic opportunities were being sought in the mid-19th century. A small group of ambitious Dresden-based watchmakers, entrepreneurs and political figures had grand visions: They wanted to establish a watchmaking trade in the Ore Mountains, based on the Swiss model. In December 1845, the first apprentices began their watchmaker training in Glashütte. This heralds the start of a major success story, authored by a whole host of individuals and brand names. The transfer of knowledge also continued to play an important role: Apprentices and employees were continually given the highest standard of specialist training. This level of expertise was undoubtedly a factor in Glashütte earning an excellent reputation.
The proximity to the city of Dresden, which, as one of the main cultural and intellectual centres, facilitated progress and attracted the creative spirits of its time, also contributed to the ongoing success of the ambitious project. The high level of quality and the characteristically German sense of precision found in the timepieces produced here, made them treasured collectors' items the world over – which they remain to this day.
In 1893, the renowned watch dealer Johannes Dürrstein opened his own manufactory in the small Saxon town. Prior to this, he had made a name for himself mainly by selling exclusive pocket watches from Glashütte and Switzerland. He named the manufactory "Glashütter Uhrenfabrik Union". As a successful businessman, Dürrstein knew his way around the industry and its international trends and recognised what customers wanted. He knew from his own experience what was missing from the market: A top-end timepiece of Glashütte quality that more than only a few people could afford – a piece of affordable luxury.
Since he found nothing corresponding to his very specific ideas in the ranges offered by the local companies, who mainly manufactured small quantities of extremely elaborate and expensive watches, he ended up founding his own watch manufactory. Dürrstein's vision embodied the spirit of the time: In the years that followed, the Union timepieces from Glashütte contributed towards ensuring that the good name of the German watchmaking industry spread and became firmly established both at home and abroad. It is a reputation that is as strong today as ever.
When it comes to watches, Glashütte is a synonym for quality. "Made in Glashütte" is more than just a designation of origin – it is a quality seal. The so-called "Glashütte Rules" ensure that a high proportion of local added value goes into any watch marketed as a Glashütte timepiece. Union Glashütte is just as proud of the designation of origin stamped on its watches as it is of the long-established company name they bear.And with this marking comes a sense of responsibility to a tradition that has made history.