Crafting a chronometer requires time and patience. The labour invested by the watchmakers bears fruit in the pleasure these timepieces give their owners. When Wempe decided to establish its own production site for chronometers in Glashütte a few years ago, only one location seemed truly appropriate.
The great appeal of distance places.
All year round, the night sky offers an incredible variety of fascinating views. Visitors can experience this fascination by means of a telescope at the Glashütte observatory. Wempe equipped the historical observatory with astronomical instruments in the spring of 2006, making it possible to explore the starry firmament from this location. Should you wish to visit the Glashütte observatory, please note that is absolutely necessary to make a reservation. Due to the cupola’s small size, only a maximum of five people can visit the observatory at the same time. A truly unique experience.
The History of the Observatory
An increasingly large number of renowned watchmakers began settling in Glashütte during the second half of the nineteenth century. Their trailblazing inventions contributed to the outstanding reputation enjoyed by this Mecca of German watchmaking, and their unconventional timepieces earned praise and recognition beyond Germany’s frontiers.
In order to synchronize clocks and watches to a single unified time, one needs a reliable time signal to serve as a reference. This signal was transmitted from the observatory in Berlin to the German School of Watchmaking and the manufactories in Glashütte.
Resulting temporal imprecision no longer satisfied the standards required for highly precise Glashütte timepieces, however. Glashütte needed its own telescope and its own observatory. The time was ripe in 1910 when, with support from the Glashütte Watchmakers’ Association, the observatory commenced operations. Glashütte finally had its own time signal and a teaching observatory that could be used by the German School of Watchmaking.
Two watchmakers joined forces in the late 1930s and decisively influenced the course of the observatory’s history. Otto Lange, grandson of Ferdinand Adolph Lange (the founder of Glashütte’s watchmaking industry) and Herbert Wempe, proprietor of Wempe Chronometerwerke, jointly founded the Glashütte Observatory Workgroup for the purpose of establishing both a research and educational institute for young watchmakers and a regulating institution. Troubled times followed for the observatory with the outbreak of the war. The Allies ended up disbanding the watchmakers’ association in the late 1940s, and the observatory in Glashütte became communal property. In a divided Germany, the observatory was in great risk of being forgotten.
Times change, but the observatory endures. When Wempe decided to establish its own production site for chronometers in Glashütte a few years ago, only one location seemed truly appropriate. Where could time be measured best, if not in the old observatory? Wouldn’t this be the ideal site to manufacture and test precision timepieces? Wempe has since refurbished the observatory, which had fallen into ruinous disrepair, and has now set up its own production site for its watch collection Wempe Glashütue i/SA.