3.02 – Clockmaking in Germany

Last Update: 07-25-2022 @ 09:53

Two very old cuckoo clocks from the 1860-1880s'.
Cuckoo Clock 1860-1880 from the collection of Deutsches Uhrenmuseum: (Image authorized under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

3.02.1 – The highlights of German clockmaking

  • 1485-1542 – Peter Henlein, a clockmaker and locksmith from Nuremberg, made tiny portable and wearable clocks and was sometimes considered the watch inventor.
  • c. 1520 – The clock of that era had its spring inserted into square metal boxes: on one side, there was the dial with the only hour hand, and on the other, a lid that gave access to the spring winding and the adjustment of the time. These boxes had Renaissance decorations and, later, around 1620, engravings.
  • c. 1577-78 – Hans Keining (c. 1505-1586) from Füssen, Baviera was a famous clockmaker. He built in 1577-78 an astronomical clock exhibited at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria.
  • c. 1631 – Johann Sayler (1597-1668) developed an astronomical clock on display at the Landesmuseum Wurttemberg. It was a furniture clock in the shape of a square tower with a power reserve of three months, which was exceptional at its construction, around 1631.
  • 1640 – Clock production began in the Black Forest.
  • The 16th c. – Jost Von Wartbergh Bodeker is a German vicar born in Osnabrück at the end of the 16th century and died beginning of the 17th century. Bodeker is known for a clock with a centrifugal pendulum.
  • 1730 – Anton Ketterer (1676-1749), one of the founders of Black Forest clockmaking, is recognized by a historian as the cuckoo’s inventor. Other attributes the first cuckoos to Michael Dilger and Matthaus Hummel in 1742. But the first cuckoo clock appeared between 1760 and 1780 (illustrated). It is displayed at the German Watch Museum in Furtwangen in the Black Forest. The Black Forest quickly became the center of German clockmaking, famous for its cuckoos, but not only. It also manufactured clocks with brass wheels between wooden plates. The façade of these clocks was decorated with hand-painted drawings, often by the farmers’ wives who had turned into clockmakers.
  • 1859 – Thaddaüs Rinderle (1748-1824), a Benedictine monk, mathematician, and clockmaker, taught at the University of Freiburg. He developed an astronomical clock exhibited in 1859 at the Deutsches Uhrenmuseum in Furtwangen. A 16-page, highly technical manuscript that explains how it works accompanies the clock.
  • 19th c. – Matthäus Hipp (1813-1893), a clockmaker, and inventor, born in Zurich, Switzerland, moved to Germany. He designed the pallet escapement and invented the Chronoscope. In 1852, he moved back to Switzerland.
  • Mid-19th century – The German clock industry faced fierce competition from mass-produced American clocks at a lower cost than German clocks.
  • 1880 – Arthur Junghans found a way to respond to the American invasion by developing an inexpensive and easy-to-repair alarm clock movement, the W10. The movement equipped Junghans alarm clocks for 50 years. Other manufacturers copied it many times. The first alarm clocks were round in shape and had a bell on top.

3.02.2 – Major German Manufacturers

NOTE: The German clock company’s list is ordered alphabetically with the family name or the company’s trademark. If a first name or initial is present, it is placed in parenthesis to keep the company’s name intact. Generally, the original names are in German, the same for the location. To help you, know that Uhr = clock, Fabrik = fabric or manufacture, Uhrenfabrik = clock manufacture, Gebrüder = brothers, Söhne = son, A. G. = corporation or share ownership, G.m.b.H. = limited liability company, K. G. = limited society partnership.


Ankra was founded in 1925 in Leipzig, Saxony, as a combined buying company with several members, the Ankra Einkaufs- und Garantiering Deutscher Uhrmacher (Ankra Purchasing and Guarantee Ring of German Watchmakers). In 1930, it entered into agreements with several watch wholesalers. In 1941, it had 800 members. But on the orders of the German state, it had to close its doors in 1943. It resumed operations in 1949 in West Germany, producing wristwatches sold in the following years. The Ankra watches found on the user’s market do not exceed the late 1970s, suggesting that the company no longer existed in the early 1980s.


Established in Berlin in 1871 by Carl Bamberg, the son of a watchmaker, Askania Watches has produced precision instruments for research, expeditions, and airplanes, since the early days of aviation. Their onboard clocks and pilot watches were the best. In 2006, Leonard R. Müller relaunched the company that still produces high-quality precision watches.


Founded by Andreas Klemmer and Hans Bachmaier in 1948 in Berchtesgaden, Bayern, Bachmaeir und Klemmer manufactured cuckoos’ clocks until 1995.


N. Rudolf Bachdrodt made small clocks in the 1890s in Triberg, Baden-Wurttemberg.


  • J. & C. ROMBACH – The cousins Johann and Carl Rombach started to build American-type clocks in 1877. August, brother of Carl, married the same year, the daughter of Adam Fehrenbach, who died the year after. In 1883, the two companies merged under Uhrenfabrik Furtwangen, with new partners like Johann Baptist Rombach and Felix Ketterer.
  • (B.) KETTERER UND SOHNE – Felix Ketterer was a partner in this company of Furtwangen. He decided to join Uhrenfabrik Furtwangen. The company expanded and had branches in Milan, Italy, Zurich, Switzerland, London, England, and even Hong Kong in 1893. It was the first company to have a steam engine to power the machinery in Furtwangen. In 1898, it supplied 400-day clocks to Kundo, sold under the Kundo brand.
  • LEO FALLER AM BACH & SOHN – In 1889, Leo Faller from Gütenbach had a watch factory, the Leo Faller Am Bach & Sohn. He decided then to merge his company with Uhrenfabrik Furtwangen.
  • BADISCHE UHRENFABRIK FURTWANGEN – When Leo Faller joined Uhrenfabrik Furtwangen, the newly created company became Badische Uhrenfabrik Furtwengen (BADUF), a watch and clock company. Its registered trademark name was Akribie (1904). In the 1920s, it was considered the largest watch and clock company in Germany. It also made radios, clock radios, measuring instruments, loudspeakers, etc. It went bankrupt in 1932. The Kaisers, who had a clock factory in Villingen, bought the remnants of BADUF However, during World War II, they lost all their materials and equipment. They reopened after the war and produced wall and furniture clocks, kitchen and carriage clocks, and 400-day clocks. In 1978, the BADUF Furtwangen factory employed 180 workers, with an extension in Simonswald. Five years later, BADUF filed again for bankruptcy. Jos Burger und Sohn acquired the BADUF cuckoo clock factory. But in 1984, the production in Furtwangen ceased, and the factory was dismantled.


  • MATHIAS BÄUERLE UHRENFABRIK – Mathias Bäuerle (1838-1916), a clockmaker from Sankt Georgen, Baden-Wurttemberg (Black Forest), opened a shop in 1863 in his Black Forest farmhouse. There he fabricated domestic wall and floor clocks, and later, all types of clocks and watches. In 1869, he built a new house with a workshop where he made floor clocks. His trademark, a slender deer with the name Bäuerle, was registered on May 20, 1875.
  • UHRENFABRIK SANKT GEORGEN – The company evolved to Urenfabrik Sankt Georgen in 1880. The registered trademark no longer included the name in 1897. In 1900, Bäuerle sons’, Tobias (1863-1933), Mathias (1865-1935) and Christian (1860-1916), succeeded him. Their brands became famous. Peerless was registered on December 19, 1903, and April 21, 1922, and the Peerless logo on June 15, 1938. The E.M.B.E.E. brand was added on December 17, 1924, and its logo on June 15, 1938. In 1903, the company also produced adding machines. In 1929, the production of adding machines was predominant. An office machines manufacturing company finally bought it in 1975.


  • TOBIAS BÄUERLE UHRENFABRIK – Tobias Bäuerle (1841-1914), brother of Mathias, was also a clockmaker in Sankt Georgen. He opened a retail and wholesale clock business in 1864. He also manufactured all types of clocks. In 1891, he received a patent for a unique pendulum construction. He exported clocks in England, the U.S.A., Russia, and the Orient under the trademark and logo of a Deer in a square box, registered in 1897. The same year he also registered the trademark Hirsch. He also manufactured watches primarily for export.
  • TOBIAS BÄUERLE & SÖHNE – In 1903, Tobias’ sons, Christian and Tobias Jr., joined the company, and the name changed to Tobias Bäuerle & Söhne. It got through World War I and the Great Depression not without difficulties, but it got dismantled after World War II. During that period, the company registered the trademark Ferramo (1929). In 1961, the company restarted a new plant in Friedrichshafen, where it built various instruments, technical watches, timers, switches, ship glass clocks, disc recorders, measuring instruments, etc.
  • TOBIAS BÄUERLE & SÖHNE FEINWERKTECNNIK – The company sometimes changed its name for Tobias Baeuerle & Söhne Feinwerktechnik G.m.b.H., probably when it moved to Villingen-Schwenningen in 1998. But, it became insolvent in 2001. But it still has an address in Sankt Georgen.


  • GUSTAV BECKER WORKS – Gustav Becker (1819-1885), a clockmaker of the Viennese school, founded a shop, modest at first. However, the Freiburg company obtained several recognitions, including a French gold medal engraved on its movements from 1875.
  • GUSTAV BECKER CLOCK CO. – In 1889, it changed its name to Gustav Becker Clock Co. Still, soon after, it continued its activities in Freiburg under the United Freiburger Uhrenfabriken AG until it merged with Junghans and Hamburg-America in 1926.


  • VINZENZ BEHA (1784-1868) – Master clockmaker, he had a shop from 1839 to 1845 where he invented and built calendar and master clocks in Harzeserhauser auf dem Hoechst, Baden-Wurttemberg.
  • JOHANN BAPTIST BEHA (1815-1898) – Johann Baptist, son of Vinzenz, born in Eisenbach, began his apprenticeship at his father’s shop. In 1845, he succeeded his father. The Beha family is recognized to have developed the first high-quality fusee clock with heavy brass plates. For more information, see Wikipedia.
  • JOHANN BAPTIST BEHA UND SÖHNE – In 1876, after the success encountered at the Centennial Exhibition of Philadelphia, Lorenz, and Engelbert Beha, sons of Johann Baptist, joined the company, and they changed the name of the company to J. B. Beha und Söhne. They built cuckoo, quail, and musical clocks in Eisenbach from 1876 to 1956.


Wilhelm Benoehr produced alarm clocks for wholesale and retail in Hamburg in 1915.


  • FRIEDRICH BENZING (1818-1881) – He opened a factory in Villingen in 1863, creating fantasy watches and clocks.
  • FREIDRICH ERNST JAKOB BENZING KONTROLLUHRENFABRIK G.m.b.H. – Grandson of Freidrich Benzing, Fried Ernst Jakob decided around 1890 to manufacture clocks for pigeon racing, called “constateurs” enclosed in solid oak cases. In 1957, metal replaced wood. In 1971, a quartz movement replaced the mechanical movement. Later, Benzing launched a computer model with an electrical mechanism in 1986. Gantner Electronic G.m.b.H. of Austria purchased the company in 1996. The company is known for producing the best “constateurs” globally, particularly its electronic pigeon racing clock.
  • WILHEM BENZING – It is difficult to say whether there is a kinship between the two Freidrichs. Wilhem owned a factory of wooden clock cases, movements, and timepieces in Leipzig in the 1920s.


From 1910 to 1912, Berger and Wuerke fabricated and distributed (wholesale and retail) hall, furniture, and wall clocks in Leipzig, Saxonia.


In 1921, in Berlin, Berliner Uhrenfabrik “URANIA” GmbH manufactured clocks, movements, and parts. It registered clocks under the name Rhenania in October 1922.


In 1921, the Berliner-Zimmerruhren factory produced wall, mantle, and floor clocks in Berlin.


Bernhold und Scheuerlin fabricated alarm and novelty clocks in 1881 near Stuttgart.


B.H.B. Borcherdt was a world-leading manufacturer of chess clocks, established in Hamburg from 1950 to 1989.


Established in Waldkirsch, Breisgau, West Germany, from 1940 to 1977, Blessing-Werke A.G. company produced wall and mantle clocks while their specialties were alarm and small novelty clocks.


Wilhelm Blumenstock was a wholesale and details merchant of clocks of all kinds, including alarm clocks and pocket watches, established in Villingen, Baden-Wurttemburg, in 1896.


Carl Bohmeyer did his apprenticeship as a watchmaker at his father’s shop and in Switzerland. In 1884, he opened a watchmaking workshop in Staßfurt, Saxony. He also developed electric clocks. In 1891, he moved his wife and girls to Hanau, near Frankfurt, where he acquired a manufacturer of electric clocks, the Hanauer Elektrische Uhrenfabrik Steinheuer and Rabe. He founded C. Bohmeyer and Co. Two years later, he moved to Halle-sur-Saale, near the village where he was born. Finally, he bequeathed his business to his sons Johannes and Helmut, joined by his two daughters, Margret and Gerda. This company fabricated timers, controls, and electric clocks under the name Zissea registered in 1914.

(J. M.) BON

J. M. Bon had a timepiece manufactured in 1887 in Leipzig, Saxonia.


Borgfeldt & Co. was a distributor, wholesaler, and retailer of alarm clocks and watches from 1912 to 1921 under the registered trademarks of Marathon (1912) and Tru-Tic (1921).


In 1888 in Freiburg, Silesia, Borussia manufactured domestic clocks until 1899, when it joined the United Freiburger Uhrenfabriken AG a year later.


Established at Königsfeld, Brankmann registered in 1890 the trademark Schablonenuhren (clock prototype).


H. Brüning was a Coblenz, Saxonia, wholesaler and retailer of clocks and watches in the 1913s.


  • UHRWERKE FABRIK BURGER G.m.b.H. – Josef Burger (1823-1888), a foundryman from Schönwald, moved to Schonach in 1856. He then built a foundry in a former farmhouse where he fabricated gear wheels for clocks under Schwarzwälder Uhrwerke Fabrik Burger G.m.b.H. Equipped with a steam engine. The company expanded considerably to become the oldest and largest clock parts company in the Black Forest. It produced clock gears and chains, sprockets, and spring barrels. Josef died in 1884.
  • JOS BURGER SÖHNE G.m.b.H. – His sons Hermann (1854-1920) and Hartmann (1859-1936) directed the company under the name Jos Burger Söhne G.m.b.H. two years later. In 1890, they began manufacturing mechanisms for gas and water meters, pressure gauges, and even spring drive mechanisms for gramophones. The demand for gramophones was so great in 1908 that the company began to produce complete drive units. The company became a G.m.b.H., a “limited liability company,” in 1910. During the First World War, the company suffered because most of its men were conscripted to war, leaving women to produce war goods.
    Ernst Burger, Hartmann’s son, became managing director in 1923. He then built a new building. After a succession settlement, Ernst became the company’s primary shareholder. He directed the company for 46 years. In 1937 and 1938, he constructed a new building. The factory had to change its production to war armaments in 1939 at the beginning of World War II. As Germany lost the war, the company finally survived only because of the Marshall Plan and the change of political regime in 1949. Also, it could manufacture cuckoo clocks, which are trendy among the American soldiers who wanted to bring home a souvenir.
  • SBS-FEINTECHNIK – In 1955, a new building provided more space to produce more clocks. Three years later, the company was divided into two independent enterprises, Burger Industriewerk (BIW) and Schwarzwälder Uhrwerke-Fabrik Burger Schonach, now known as SBS-Feintechnik. In 1970, after another expansion, the main activity of the Uhrwerke-Fabrik was the production of clockworks.
  • JOS BURGER UND SÖHNE – Thomas Burger of the 5th generation of Burger’s reorganised SBS-Feintechnik in 1982, and acquired an insolvent clock factory, Badische Uhrenfabrik Furtwangen. It became a global market leader in mechanical cuckoo clockworks. Jos Burger Und Söhne registered the famous REGULA™ trademarks for cuckoo movements. Over the years, the company expanded many times. In 2006, it celebrated its 150th anniversary. It was the oldest company in the Baden Black Forest. It is now a part of I with plants in Germany, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland, with 850 employees.


Julius Busse was a clockworks parts and movements wholesaler and retailer established in Berlin in 1910.


Martin Busse was a Berlin wholesaler and retailer of pocket watches, floor clocks, and wall and mantle clocks.


Since 1881, Concordia Uhrenfabrik from Freiburg manufactured home clocks. In 1899, it merged with the United Freiburger Uhrenfabriken AG.


Richard Creuzburg, from Dresden-Altstadt, manufacturer, and distributor of movements and precision parts for clocks and watches, had registered two trademarks in 1921: ATOMETER and NOR-MI-MAX.


Leopold Dahmen from Kolhn-am-Rhein was in the exporting business of clocks and watches, movements, tools and machinery for clockmaking, etc. He registered the Elde trademark in 1920.


The giant German car manufacturer based in Untertürkheim, Baden-Wurttemberg, obtained patents for car watches and car clocks from 1959 to 1967.


De Gruyter Clock Manufacturing Co. from Triberg, Baden-Württemburg, was in the clock business near 1890. It had an office in London, England.


Ludwig Hummel founded the Deutsche Uhren-Roh-Werke (DuRoWe) in 1933 in Pforzheim, Baden-Württemburg. It was an ebauche factory producing watch movements (30,000 in 1939). It was destroyed during World War II, rebuilt in 1949, and sold to U.S. Time Corporation ten years later, in 1965, to the Swiss Ébauches, S.A.


In 1919, Leo Frank registered Deutschland Uhren-Manufactur Leo Frank as a clock import-export clock and watches and clockwork parts company in Berlin.


Karl Joseph Dold created a small shop in the city of Schönwald in 1842, where he built small clocks and cuckoos.
In 1884, his son Karl Joseph expanded the shop, and, in 1894, it became a large mass-production factory, the Karl Joseph Dold Söhne Uhrenfabrik. He died in 1911, and his two sons, Alfred et Adolf, took over. In 1925, the company had 100 employees. In 1961, the competition was too big, and the company closed. 


Paul Drusembaum owned a company that manufactured timepiece parts, movements, cases, and various parts. He recorded the Drusus brand and its elephant logo in 1912. In 1930, he was also registered as a manufacturer and wholesaler of watches.


  • SCHWEIZERISHE URCHMACHER GENOSSENSCHAFT (SUG) – The Swiss Watchmaking Cooperative brings together manufacturers of watches, parts, and movements to combine purchases of parts and the sale of watches but also clocks. Its origin dates to 1866 (Kochmann, 2007).
  • ALPINA- GRUEN GILDE UHREN AKTIEN GESELLSCHAFT – This Gruen Gilde Watch Shareholder Corporation, founded in 1883, is an offshoot of the SUG cooperative. It will also be known as:
    • CORPORATION D’HORLOGERS SUISSES – The Swiss watchmaking corporation Alpina had its headquarters and warehouse in Bienne, Switzerland, in 1890. Gottlieb Hauser was its managing director in 1899, while Emil Rothmann was the cooperative’s general manager in Berlin, Germany. Its members include Aegler, Rolex, Certina, Gruen (Switzerland), Gruen (U.S.A.), Huguenin (Switzerland), Hamilton (U.S.A.), and Straub (Switzerland).
      • VEREINIGTE SCHWEIZER UHRENFRABRIKANTEN – In 1905, the cooperative had a division in Germany, the Vereinigte Schweizer Uhrenfabrikanten, of which some twenty companies were members.
    • ALPINA UNION HORLOGÈRE – In 1906, the cooperative was now called Alpina Union Horlogère. It was present in Glashutte in Germany, Biel, and Geneva in Switzerland. It also opened a new Alpina factory.
  • ALPINA UNION HORLOGÈRE S. A. – In 1916, the corporation became an anonymous company with shareholders, Alpina Union Horlogère, S.A. It was dissolved in Switzerland in 1972, and the ALPINA brand was acquired much later by Frédérique Constant, a Swiss investor.
  • ALPINA DEUTSCHE UHRMACHER – The counterpart of the Swiss corporation is called Deutsche Uhrmacher Alpina (German Cooperative of Clock and Watch Manufacturers Alpina). It was founded in Eisenach in 1917 and moved to Berlin in 1927. It also owns the Tresor and Festa brands. In 1925, its graphic trademark was a triangle with a band of numbers on a clock dial with the word Alpina in the center. Many versions of this graph, a red triangle (1926), a triangle with a circle in the middle (1927), etc., were designed. In 1930, the name ALPINA in capital letters was added. The Artina brand was registered in 1935.
  • DEUTSCHE UHRMACHER-GENOSSENSCHAFT ALPINA G.m.b.H. – The Second World War and the restructuring it brought about forced the company to give up using the ALPINA. trademark in Germany. In 1945, the General Assembly of the cooperative changed the original name to Deutsche Uhrmacher-GENossenschfat G.m.b.H. Alpina – DUGENA (German Cooperative of Clock and Watch Manufacturers Alpina), and the DUGENA brand became the replacement brand. In 1949, the cooperative moved to Darmstadt. In the 1950s, DUGENA also made clocks from parts purchased elsewhere. In the 1960s, the DUGENA watch brand was the most popular in Germany. In 1965, a German entrepreneur, Hans-Jorg Seeberger, who emigrated to Japan, became a representative of German brands, including DUGENA.
  • DUGENA (Christ Uhren und Schmuck GmbH) – In the 1970s, the DUGENA brand was owned by Christ Uhren und Schmuck G.m.b.H. founded in 1975, of which it became a division. Christ Uhren und Schmuck was before that, a department abroad of a large German jewelry chain, Christ Juweliere and Uhrmacher founded in 1863 by Wilhelm Alexander Christ of Frankfurt.
  • DUGENA (Egana – Hong Kong) – In the 1980s, Seeberger became director of DUGENA at the suggestion of German banks. But he left DDUGENA to buy it later while he was in Hong Kong, where he founded Egana. With the money made with the I.P.O. of his company, he had the financing to buy DUGENA in 1993. He later acquired a dozen other brands, including Junghans and Salamander, headed by his investment firm EganaGoldpfeil. He will sell the DUGENA brand in 2009 to a newly founded company Nova Tempora Uhren und Schmuck GmbH. DUGENA watches are still on the market today, and its website is evident on the German market.


Johan Norbert Eberle founded a sawmill company in 1836. However, his involvement in clockmaking did not begin until his son Johann Norbert Eberle decided to manufacture springs for floor and wall clocks in 1866. He traveled the world to promote them. He won several awards, including at the World Exhibition in London. The company eventually diversified and became part of the Kern-Liebers empire in 1981.


  • SEITTER & EPPLE – In 1903, Julius Eppel (1865-1938), with Seitter, established a factory of pocket watches, wristwatches, and watch parts in Pforzheim, Baden-Wurttemberg.
  • JULIUS EPPLE KG – In 1907, Seitter left, and Eppel was the sole owner of his company, then renamed Julius Eppel KG. It was officially registered only in 1934. He died in 1938, but some of his six children took over. The leading watch brand was Aristo, registered in 1936, followed by Artina, Epeca, Epifo, Epus, and Jerano.
  • JULIUS EPPEL, ARISTO WATCH AND WATCH CASE FACTORY -► ARISTO WATCH GmbH – Those are the names taken by the company later. In 1957, it registered the trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The company was liquidated in 1998.
  • ARISTO VOLLMER GmbH – Hansjörg Vollmer took over the Aristo trademark and merged with his grandfather’s mill watch company founded in 1922 to form Aristo Vollmer GmbH, still in existence nowadays.


The Erste Karlsteiner Uhren Industrie (First Karlstein Clock), created in 1882, manufactured wooden clock movements in Karlstein and, later, a metal pendulum. In 1885, the company provided the Emperor of Austria with equipment and technical expertise to establish a clockmaking school (K. K. Uhrenindustrie Schule) in Vienna. The Deutschland Uhren-Manufactur in Berlin bought the company in 1919.


Euramca Trading Clock was in business from 1950 to 1960, producing wall, bracket, and 400-day clocks.


Erich Rittinghaus and Gustav Eiffert created the Europa Uhrenfabrik Senden, and registered the trademark EUROPA in 1949 in the town of Senden. They mainly produced alarm clocks until 1993.

F.B. (Black Forest)

Following standard practice for the time, clockmakers from the Black Forest engraved their initials in their clockwork, as on one of my Black Forest clocks. It is not possible to know more about this F.B.


Adam Fehrenbach produced chains for the clock industry from 1844 to 1858 when he moved to Furtwangen, Bäden-Wurttemberg. There, he produced parts for wall clocks from 1860 to 1877. Then, he partnered with his son-in-law Carl Rombach to create the Urhenfabrik Furtwangen.


Fitchtner Clock Company was created in 1949 in Villingen, Baden-Württemberg. Without new funding, it closed down in 1976.


In 1887, Rudolf Flume, a clockmaker from Lünen in Westphalia, started a parts system for European clocks in Berlin and sold parts and jewelry in Sweden, Austria, South Africa, etc. In 1911, he launched a complete 1000-page catalog. It had 140 employees in 1912. Its building was destroyed during the Second World War. But in 1951, Walter Flume and Emil Zeigler with Fritzheinrich Pachnio, restarted the company. In 1994, two divisions were created, Rudolf Flume Schmuck G.m.b.H., Berlin, and Rudolf Flume Technik G.m.b.H., Essen, under the umbrella of the Rudolf Flume G.m.b.H. & Co. K.G., Berlin. After several reorientations and acquisitions, the company is still in business and diversified under Flume Technik.


Registered by Alfred Frick in 1925, Frick & Co. was producing floor clocks with a Westminster chime. Erhard Burkhard joined it in 1940, got through the war, and sold its clocks in 1949 in Germany and on foreign markets under the name Alfred Frick, Owner Erhard Burkhard.


  • UHRENFABRIK FURDERER JAEGLER & CIE – Registered in 1855 by the Lenzkirch Hendelsgesellschaft, its trademark was ELSAC Company, established at Buschsweiler. The company closed its doors in 1865.
  • FURDERER JAEGLER & CIE – In 1865, the company was reorganized under the name Furderer-Jaegler & Co. in Neustadt with a store in Paris.


  • Lorenz Furtwangler (1807-1866) learned clockmaking from his older brother Johannes (b. 1797), who had a shop at the family home. Lorenz opened his own in 1836 after his marriage in his family home. He established a shop in 1839 when he moved his family to the valley of Schwefeldobel, where he became an influential clockmaker.
  • LORENZ FURTWANGLER SÖHNE (LFS) – After his death, his sons Gustav Adolf (1839-1905), Karl Hektor (1840-1911), Julius Theophil (1843-1897), and Oskar (1850-1908) opened a larger facility in Furtwangen under the name of Lorens Furtwangler Söhne (LFS).
  • UHRENFABRIK L. FURTWANGLER SÖHNE AKTIENGESELLSCHAFTT FURTWANGEN (LFS) – In 1895, the company became public under the name Uhrenfabrik L. Furtwangler Söhne Aktiengesellschaft Furtwangen (LFS). The company produced high-quality clocks but didn’t resist the Great 1929 Depression.


Brothers Leopold and Constantin Wilde opened a manufacturing plant in Villingen in 1872 and built calendar clocks, the Gebruder Wilde Uhrenfabrik. Their primary model, the System Wilde, an automatic calendar clock used in offices, was very successful. In 1915, the manufacturer closed down due to Constantin’s death. Alfred, Leopold’s son, who had taken the company’s management just before the war, also died in 1915 during World War I.


Created in 1881 in Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germania fabricated regulator clocks until it merged with United Freiburger Uhrenfabriken AG in 1899.


Philip Haller began Haller Uhrenfabrik in1874 in Sankt Georgen, Black Forest. He built and sold wooden case clocks. Later, Siegfried Haller, his grandson, trained in Philipp Hass & Sohne in Sankt Georgen, took over the business and expanded it with more modern production techniques. In 1953, the company moved to a larger facility in Simonswald. Siegfried Jr. and Manfred, sons of Siegfried, joined the company. Martin Haller, a grandson of Siegfried, took over the company in 2005.


  • PHILLIP HASS UND SÖEHNE (UHRENFABRIK TEUTONIA) – Phillip Hass (1802-1874) founded the company in 1831 in Sankt Georgen. It manufactured watches and spring clocks of all types to export to England, where Hass opened an office in London in 1871. Most of its clocks bore a label in English. Their design and fabrication process followed the best practices of American clock manufacturers. He registered the trademark Teutonia in 1876. It had a huge world market for clocks at one time, but the Great Depression was fatal to the company closing down in the 1920s.
  • Ph. HASS & SÖHNE DEUTCH-AMERIKANER UHRENFABRIK – In 1898, Philipp transferred the management to his twin sons, Karl (1835-1900) and Ludwig (1835-1904). They continued to manufacture pocket watches and floor and table clocks mainly for exportation to England and the United States. However the Great Depression was fatal to the company, and in 1925, it closed down.

H. A. U.

  • LANDERBURGER & LANG UHRENFABRIK – Paul Landenburger, business manager of Junghans, quit the company and founded his own in 1875 in Gottelbachtal with business partner Philip Lang. After a bankruptcy in 1882-1883, a group of investors from Hamburg took over, moved the company to Schramberg, and changed the name to:
  • HAMBURG AMERIKANISCHE UHRENFABRIK (H.A.U.) – Paul Landenburger was the new public company’s director and general manager. It had a large export market in England and Scandinavia and was later present worldwide. A cross arrow trademark began in 1891, and later on, a small oil lamp. It was a huge and successful company, but the competition was so fierce that in 1932, it merged with Gebruder Junghans in 1927-1928.


Gustav Häusler was a wholesaler and retailer of clocks and watch parts under the brand name Torpedo, registered in Hanover, Lower Saxony, in 1905 and 1912 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.


Hans Winterhalder, son of Johannes Winterhalder who worked for Winterhalder Und Hoffmeier, founded in Nestadt, Baden-Württemberg, in 1925, Hausuhrenfabrik Winterhalder, a floor, wall, and bracket clocks manufacturer and seller under the trademarks Hawina registered in 1925. The company became rapidly into financial difficulties. Hans’s father recommended liquidating the company. Finally, in 1927, the Junghans Brothers acquired it. Hans emigrated to U. S. A. He tried to establish a new company in Philadelphia but failed.


Founded in 1922 in Gosheim, Baden-Württemberg, by Franz Hermle and his sons, the company sold movements to Kienzle for its floor clocks. But rapidly, they began to make and sell complete clocks. In 1929, Gebhard, Franz’s son, joined the company, as did his other son, Franz Jr., in 1939. During the 1930s, Hermle switched production to smaller clocks because of the recession. It closed down during World War II. It started again in 1951, and in 1970, more than 400 employees produced quality floor, wall, and mantle clocks. In 1977, Hermle opened a manufacturing plant in Amherst, Virginia, U.S.A. In 1998, Hermle purchased Urgos Uhrenfabrik. This company still exists and sells clocks in more than 80 countries worldwide.  It also provides movements for other companies like Hentschel Clock Canada and Cuckoo Clock Manufacturing Co., Inc. through its Hermle Mechanische Uhrwerke und Drehteile GmbH & Co. K.G. subsidiary.


Hubert Herr, a woodcarver, created Hubert Herr Uhrenfabrik, a cuckoo and domestic clocks company in Triberg, in 1918. He fabricated movements and cases and still does nowadays in the Black Forest’s pure tradition.


Robert Herr established Robert Herr Kuckucksuhren in Schonach in 1868. It is the oldest clock factory in the Black Forest. Robert Herr was Valentin Herr’s son, a sculptor, and a clockmaker, who himself was the son-in-law of Johann Baptist Rainer, Johann Hiller’s son. Following Franz Anton Ketterer’s tradition, Johann Hiller began fabricating cuckoo clocks in Schonach. Historians recognized Ketterer as the first builder of a cuckoo clock in Schönwald. Robert Herr followed his ancestor’s tradition.  


Karl Hettich was an inventor from Schramberg. He developed in 1888 in his bedroom a bending machine for pendulum escapements. Many of his clockmaker friends saw a significant opportunity to make money from the new invention. So, Karl decided to start the production in his bedroom. At his death, his sons built up an excellent business. In 1936, the Hettich company began to make screws. In 1967, Ludwig Hettich, a grandson of the company founder, created a new one, the Ludwig Hettich & Co Schraubenfabrik, and took over the screw business. The H.E.C.O. brand was then born, but its main products were screws and fixing systems. It is unclear that this company marketed the H.E.C.O. brand for small clocks.


Clockmaker and inventor born in Zurich, Switzerland, Matthäus Hipp (1813-1893) moved to Germany, where he designed the pallet escapement and invented the Chronoscope. He returned to Switzerland in 1852.


Daniel Hönes, a master clockmaker created in 1950 Hönes Uhren, a cuckoo manufacturer, in Titisee-Neustadt. In 1984, he sold to Wolfgang Trenkle, who still runs the company under Hönes Kuckucksuhren Manufaktur. Its cuckoos are hand-made with wood from the Black Forest. Its movements are all hand-made by small-family-owned firms that work exclusively for Hönes.


Andreas Huber had a clock workshop in Munchen, Bayern, in 1856. In 1880, he was named Hofuhrmacher (Court clockmaker).


Wurth established in Schwenningen, Baden-Württemberg, the Jahresuhr Schwenningen W. Wurth Und Co., a manufacturer of anniversary clocks with either a regular or a rotary pendulum.


Adolf Jerger founded Adolf Jerger KG Uhrenfabrik in 1905 in Niederschach, and it was closed in the mid-1990s. It made various cuckoo clocks, alarm clocks, and chess timers.


Junghans was founded in 1861 by Erhard Junghans (1823-1870) and his brother, Franz Xavier, in Schramberg in the Black Forest. In 1875, after his death, his son Arthur took over and developed the company by acquiring United Freiburg Clock Mfg. Co. Inc., Gustav Becker Clock Co., in 1926, Lenzkirch in 1929, and H.A.C. in 1930. In 1956, the Diehl Group absorbed the company still in existence today.


Josef Kaiser (1875-1940) created his company in Villingen, Baden-Württemberg, in 1922. It produced parts for clocks and watches. The same year, it added an alarm clock factory. In 1926, it also produced electrical components. The company manufactured 6000 Kaiser alarm clocks per day in 1915. Kaiser added a mail service order in 1931. Over the years, Kaiser registered several trademarks like Ting-Tang (1924), Uvika (1926), Uhrjka (1926), J. Kaiser (1927), Brilliant (1932), and logos. Josef Kaiser died in 1940, and his sons Franz, Oskar, and Rudolph took over the company until 1945 when it was closed down. In 1948, it started over, producing travel alarm clocks. From 1954 to 1962, it added 400-day clocks. It was dismantled in 1973, unable to cope with Japan’s competition.


Helmut Kammerer founded his company in Schonach in 1938. It fabricated cuckoo clocks by hand. In 1981, Rolf Kammerer took over, and in 1998, Uwe Kammerer. It still sells cuckoos made by hand under the name H.E.K.A.S.


This clock manufacturer was established in 1882 in Freiburg, Silesia, and merged in 1899 with the United Freiburg Er Uhrenfabrik A. G.


Hugo Kern (1853-1942) did his apprenticeship with Carl Weber, a spring and watch manufacturer that would later become the Schramberg Uhrenfabrik SU. He then traveled around Switzerland and spent a brief stint with spring manufacturer J. N. Eberle in Augsburg, southern Germany. Then he became a contract manufacturer for a local spring factory for the watch industry. In 1890, his small business progressed, officially registered in 1901. In 1911, he doubled his production with a new factory where his son Ernst Hugo Kern (1883-1936) used his business training and experience in Switzerland and France. In 1918, he modernized the administration and production of his father’s factories. In 1930, he took over from his father, transformed the company into a limited company under Hugo Kern KG, and added two new buildings. But he died suddenly in 1936. The 83-year-old father entrusted the company’s management to his grandson, Dr. Kurt Steim. He ensured the company’s diversification after 1945 but moved away from production in watchmaking while remaining mainly in the field of springs for the automotive world. Following numerous acquisitions and mergers worldwide, Hugo Kerns’ small spring firm became the large multinational spring firm Kern-Liebers.


  • KIENINGER UHRENFABRIK – Joseph Kieninger was working as a clockmaker and, eventually plant manager at Tobias Bäuerle in Sankt Georgen. In 1912, he opened his own company in Aldingen, Baden-Württemberg, to produce wall, mantle, and office clocks. Howard Miller, U.S.A. bought it on September 15, 1993. The Kieninger factory provided all the Howard-Miller clocks’ movements in the deal. Its logo was a dented wheel with the initials A.J.K. inside.
  • KIENINGER UND OBERGFELL – In 1899, Johann Obergfell founded a company to produce and sell parts and clocks of every kind. He invented the rod gong for clocks. In 1918, his company expanded with the adjunct of a partner, Johann Georg Kieninger. They registered the trademark KUNDO: K for Kieninger UND for and O for Obergfell. They started to produce their famous 400-day clocks. Reinhold Obergfell became director-general of the company in 1924, and two years later, Georg Kieninger retired. In 1955, Kundo introduced its famous electromagnetic clock, and in 1958, the programmable clock. The company opened a new plant in Maria-Zell in 1965 and another in 1972 in Sankt Georgen. A subsidiary opened in England in 1993 to import and sell Kundo clocks for the United Kingdom market. The company built many types of clocks and precision instruments. It provided cuckoo movements to Cuckoo Clock Manufacturing Company. It seems that Kieninger und Obergfell is now closed, but we found neither why nor when.


  • KIENZLE UHRENFABRIK – Jakob Kienzle (1859-1935) was born in Schwenningen. His father died three months after his birth. His biological mother named his sister’s husband, Friedrich Mauthe, as his tutor. In 1873, at 14, he began working at the Mauthe factory for a short time because his tutors wanted him to become a retail businessman. So they sent him to Triberg for his education in the retail business. After working for a short time in a fabric mill, he returned to the Mauthe factory in 1879 and began to work in the shipping department. But after a few years, he went to work for Christian Schlenker, a clockmaker in Schwenningen. He married his daughter and became a partner in the grandfather firm established in 1822 in a farmhouse with brother-in-law Carl Johannes Schlenker. The firm expanded, and the farmhouse transformed into a modern clock exporting its goods all over Europe. Later on, in 1885, other buildings were added. Christian Schlenker died the same year. Since Austria and Hungary decided to charge import fees on clocks in 1888, clocks’ exports became too costly. The company decided to open a branch in Böhmen, directed by brother-in-law Carl Schlenker. The latter did not want to expand, so Jakob Kienzle left the company and started his own, surpassing the Schlenkers. In 1899, Jakob Kienzle bought Schlenkers Co. from Carl Schlenker. He retired in 1919.
  • KIENZLE UHRENFABRIKEN G.m.b.H. – Jakob two sons, Herbert and Christian, took over. In 1920, the Kienzle company moved from being a family business to a corporation with shareholders under Kienzle Uhrenfabriken G.m.b.H. Then, the company merged with the Thomas Ernst factory in 1929 and, two years later, with D.U.F.A. Jakob died in 1935. The Kienzle Uhrenfabriken then employed more than 3000 workers producing all types of clocks, mantles, walls, and floors by millions. In 1997, Highway Holdings Group took over the company, but in 2002, it returned to Germany as Kienzle. It is still in existence and produces watches, clocks, and optics. Kienzle has registered through the years many trademarks and logos.


Ernst Kobold from Wandsbeck registered a clock factory in 1921. It was a wholesale and retailer of clocks, parts, and tools.


Wilhelm Köhler (1863-1948) from Lasamholz, Nuernberg in Bavaria, registered in 1895, Köhler und Ehmann It was in operation in 1904 under the name Köhler, Wilhelm und Ersnt Ehmann, manufacturing under license 400-day clocks. In 1920, the name changed to Köhler und Ehman A. G. Uhrenfabrik, and the company registered the Bavaria trademark. It also fabricated clocks for motorcycles and automobiles in 1934. The Koehler-Kamera trademark was registered the same year.


  • F. A. LANGE – Ferdinand Adolphe Lange (1815-1875) was born in Dresden, Germany. At 15, he entered the Technical Institute of Dresden (Technische Bildungsanstalt). He did his practical apprenticeship with Gustav Bernhard Gutkaes, the same man who developed the so-called Five Minutes clock of the Semper Opera in Dresden. Lange left the institute with all the honors in 1835, worked with Gutkaes for another two years, then moved to France to complete his training. He served for four years as workshop manager of the Austrian watchmaker Joseph Thaddeus Winner, inventor of the split-second chronograph, based in Paris. Then he went to England and Switzerland.
  • A. LANGE & C.O. – In 1841, he returned to Dresden and partnered with J. C. F. Gutkaes. But his ambition was to create a watch industry in Saxony. He asked for the local government’s help to create a training facility for about fifteen young people interested in watchmaking. He also founded his company A. Lange & Co., in Glashütte at the end of 1845. He hired about fifteen young people as apprentices whom he encouraged to start their businesses at the end of their training. Thus, it allowed the creation of an industrial cluster of watchmaking in its region. Having been mayor of Glashütte from 1849 to 1867, he was made an honorary citizen upon his departure from the town hall. At his death in 1875, the Lange Foundation was created to provide a retreat for local watchmakers.
  • A. LANGE & SÖHNE – In 1868, Lange’s eldest son, Richard, joined the company, whose name changed to A. Lange & Söhne. His brother Emil joined him when his father died. Richard is the watchmaker, and Emil is the businessman. The two together made the company successful until the end of the First World War. The market for pocket watches and precision chronographs was the company’s heart. However, the market at the beginning of the 20th century had evolved. The flat wristwatches were mass-produced by new companies created in Glashütte, and Germany’s closing its border with Switzerland at the war’s end ensured Emil would leave the company in 1919.
    He left it to his three sons, Otto, Rudolf, and Gerhard, who had to manage it during a troubled period, especially during hyperinflation between 1921 and 1923, and the 1929 crisis. To get by, the company developed a new line of watches whose production would not begin until the late 1920s. However, the development of the military force in Germany from the 1930s allowed the company to manufacture so-called observation watches for German aviation, which it supplied them with by the thousands.
  • LANGE VEB -► VEB GLASHÜTTER UHRENBETRIEBE – At the war’s end in 1945, the Lange factory was destroyed in an air raid by the Soviet air force. In 1948, all the watch companies of Glashütte were nationalized. The last watch the company was developing was not produced until 1949 under the brand name Lange V.E.B. (Volkseigener Betrieb). The watch companies of the region that became public were grouped in 1951 under the V.E.B. Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe, so much so that the Lange brand disappeared from the watch dials.
  • LANGE UHREN G.m.b.H. -► A. LANGE & SÖHNE (Fleurimont) – With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the reunification of the two Germanys, Walter Lange, and Gunter Blümlein relaunched the company under Lange Uhren G.m.b.H. with the help of major Swiss manufacturers. They also re-registered brand A. Lange & Söhne, the first watches being released in 1994. In the 2000s, the company became a member of the luxury group Fleurimont, but watch production remained relatively modest, below 5,000 copies annually.


  • SCHÖPPERLE UND HÄUSER – Eduard Hauser (1825-1900), clockmaker, and Ignaz Schopperle (1810-1882), a mechanical organ maker, created in Lenzkirch in 1849 a small shop where they built parts and movements that were shipped to the clockmakers who did the final assembly. Eduard Hauser wanted to use Serial Assembly techniques, so they bought many tools and machinery. The company finally had liquidity problems.
  • AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT FÜR UHRENFABRIKATION LENZKIRCH (A.G.U.L) (The Stockholder Corporation for Clock Manufacturing in Lenzkirch) – In 1851, Eduard and Ignaz had to invited new partners, Franz Joseph Faller (1820-1887), Joseph Wiest, Nikolaus Rogg , and brothers Johann Nikolaus Tritscheller (1825-1867) and Paul Tritscheller (1822-1892) to help him survive. They formed A.G.U.L. In 1856, Johann and Paul’s brother Albert (1833-1889) joined the company to study and introduce other countries’ clockmaking methods and practices. They acquired two large steam machines to power the equipment. The company flourished, and its excellence was recognized with awards in 1860 and 1861, especially for its Vienna-style Regulator. Karl August and Paul Emil, Eduard Hauser’s sons, went to work for the company. Eduard retired in 1899.
  • UHRENFABRIK LENZKIRCH A.G. – At the end of the 19th century, the company had almost 500 employees and was the largest company in the Black Forest. His sons eventually quit the company to work for a competitor, The Hamburg American Clock Co. in Schramberg. In 1924, the company’s name changed to Uhrenfabrik Lenzkirch A.G. The competition was so intense that in 1927, Gebrüdder Junghans bought the company and liquidated it in 1929.


Bob Lorenz (1805-1878) opened a shop in 1828 in Furtwangen to produce 8-day clocks mainly for the North American market. In 1841, he started making spring-driven clocks in the Vienna style and produced 450 watches with only three employees. It took him three years, from 1842 to 1845, to build a tower clock for his hometown parish church, but a fire destroyed the clock in 1857. From 1850 to 1863, he taught at the Furtwagen clockmaking school (Gewerbe-Verein Auf dem Uhrenmachen Schwarzwald) and improved the tools and machinery to produce more clocks in less time. But the school closed down in 1863. He has been one of the reasons for the expansion of clockmaking in the Black Forest. He received honors in 1854, 1858, 1861, and 1862.


Rupert Maurer and Felix Höfler created a shop in Eisenbach that produced cuckoo and trumpeter clocks from 1881 to 1904.


Friedrich Mauthe (1822-1884) was born and educated in Schwenningen, Baden-Württemberg. He began his professional life selling groceries and clothing, to which he added clock parts and tools for the Black Forest clockmakers in 1844. In 1860, he decided to open his clockmaking shop with partner Jakob Haller, a successful clockmaker in Schwenningen. In 1872, his son Christian began to work at the father’s shop when the latter retired in 1876. With his brother Jakob, he took over the business. He transformed the father’s inherited inn, the Gasthaus Zur Krone, into a clock factory powered by a steam engine, the first to operate in Schwenningen. In 1886, the two brothers started to fabricate their springs, and they began to produce an American-style alarm clock. They acquired a sawmill and began to manufacture their cases in 1915.
Mauthe employed 2000 workers and produced 4500 clocks and watches per week in the 1930s. In 1937, 60% of the German clock production exported to England was Mauthe. In 1951, Mauthe developed a “motor rewound battery electric clock movement” installed in the Metamec clock (Mallory, 2011). The 1970s were tough years for Mauthe, and the company had to close in 1976.


  • (A.) MAYER UHRENFABRIK SCHÖNENBACH – Andreas Mayer (1787-1864), a shoemaker who became a clockmaker, opened a shop in Schönenbach, Furtwangen. In 1841, he delivered clocks and clock parts in Reading, England, where German Mayer (1815-1896), his son, established in 1838 the German Mayer Company in Reading. He came back to his father’s shop in 1845. In 1864, he took over the management after his father’s death. One of his ten sons, Joseph (1853-1903), helped him. He succeeded his father in 1882. He developed new types of clocks and also manufactured music boxes. His brother, Frans-Karl, who had worked in England as a clock dealer, took over in 1897. At the death of Joseph in 1903, his wife maintained the company with his son Alois (1885-1962), who headed it in 1910.
  • ALOIS MAYER UHRENFABRIK SCHÖNENBACH – In 1922, the company was registered as Alois Mayer, Uhrenfabrik Schönenback. His own sons, Heinrich (b. 1927) and Konrad (b. 1930) joined the company in 1948 and 1949. It became a public company in 1956. Alois owned the majority of stocks.
  • AMS-UHRENFABRIK A. MAYER G.m.b.H. – In 1981, the AMS-Uhrenfabrik A. Mayer G.m.b.H. was founded, and Adalbert Mayer (b. in 1960), son of Heinrich, became a new partner and managing director in 1993. In 2001, the company built extensive new facilities to make components, finish, and assemble clocks under A.M.S. The company is still in operation.


Müller and Schlenker established a clock, movement, and watch factory in Schwenningen in 1879. They registered the trademark Emes in 1938, and the company took the name Emes & Co. GmbH. It also manufactured battery movements in 1952 and car clocks beginning in 1960. In the 1970s, the company switched to transistors. It closed its doors at the beginning of 2000.


J. Oswald created in Freiburg in 1925 Oswald Uhrenfabrik, a factory of novelty clocks representing characters or animals with moving eyes. Most were carved in wood. They had either a 30-hour or 8-day movement. The company became Oswald G.m.b.H. in 1955. It probably closed its doors in the 1960s.


Founded in 1875 by Jacob Palmtag, Palmtag Uhrenfabrik manufactured tools and fixtures for clockmakers and jewelers. The son, Jacob Jr., added watchman clocks, control timers, electrical clocks for industrial applications, synchronous clocks, etc. Some of its logos contained a palm. It also registered the trademark Actagraph in 1927 for a line of marine clocks, electromagnetic, and control instruments. It could not cope with Japan’s competition and closed its doors in 1970.


In 1914, Andreas Peter bought a struggling clock factory in Niedereschach, Rottweiler, founded by Wilhelm Jerger in 1866. It established its head office first in Villingen, Baden-Wurttemberg, under the name Andreas Peter Uhrenfabrik. In 1924, he moved his head office to a new building in Rottweil, retaining the Niedereschach factory and, later, adding a branch in Irslingen. He makes clocks of all kinds in his factories. In 1966, he built a modern factory next to his head office. On the other side of the border in France, near Colmar, is the Jaz factory, a famous alarm clock manufacturer. It seems natural for the two companies to collaborate. In 1967, they signed an agreement for technical, industrial, and commercial collaboration. In 1975, following a new agreement, Andreas Peter Uhrenfabrik, then Peter-Uhren Fabrik (P.U.F.), became Jaz’s primary manufacturer of large alarm clocks, while the latter supplied P.U.F. with mechanical timepieces. In addition, P.U.F. manufactured kitchen clocks. The company went bankrupt in 1996.


  • RIEFLER INDUSTRY G.m.b.H. & CO. K.G. – Clemens Riefler, a clockmaker, founded a company in Nesselwang in 1841, which is still in existence today. It produced high-quality drawing systems furniture. In the 19th century, the company produced what is considered to be the most accurate all-mechanical Astronomical Regulator Clock. It used the Reifler escapement developed by Sigmund, son of Clemens, from 1890 to 1965.
  • SIGMUND RIEFLER (1847-1912) – Son of Clemens, he is credited with the following patented inventions applied to precision clocks:
    • 1890 – Spring force-free escapement pendulum (D.R.P. Patent)
    • 1891 – Mercury Compensation Pendule (D.R.P. Patent)
    • 1893 – Mercury Compensation Pendule (U.S. Patent)
    • 1897 – Steel-nickel compensation pendulum – Invar (D.R.P. Patent)
    • 1903 – Electric winding (D.R.P. Patent)
    • 1913 – Two-crank gravity escapement (D.R.P. Patent)


The fabrication of cuckoo clocks began in a farmhouse in 1894 in the middle of Schonach in the Black Forest Region. The factory was also selling food. The cuckoo manufacturing could not at that time live by itself. It was only at the beginning of the 20th century that it could. In its 4th generation, the company is owned by Ingolf Hass and his wife, Conny. It runs under the brand R.O.M.B.A. design. They built traditional cuckoos and modern design cuckoos and revisited the designs of other types of Black Forest clocks.


Georg and Christian Thiel founded in 1862 Metallwarenfabrik Gebrüder Thiël in Ruhla, East Germany. In 2012, the Thuringian Watch Center in Ruhla celebrated its 150th anniversary. It produced watches for 120 years and machine tools for 100 years.


Christian Haller, Johannes Jauch, Robert Pabst, and Heinrich Rumminger created Rumminger Und Co, GmbH in Schwenningen in 1920. Rumminger quit the company in 1923, and it was renamed Uhren und Gongfabrik Schwenningen (URGOS), a manufacturer of movements and clock parts. It had 40 employees in 1925, growing to 140 in 1936. But during World War II, it had to participate in the war effort by producing for the military. At the end of the war, it was liquidated. But a few years later, it began manufacturing clocks for the export market. In 1992, the URGOS factory was auctioned and sold to Walter Steinbach. In 1994, URGOS employees took over and once again produced clock movements. Hermle bought it at the end of 1999. The name URGOS is still in use, and movements are still available.

  • SCHATZ UND WINTERMANTEL UND CO. – Michael Bob had a watch manufacturing workshop in 1880 in Triberg but went bankrupt. August Schatz (1854-1927) agreed with the liquidator to acquire the tools, unfinished watch parts, and workshop in 1881. He and his partners, Gerson Wintermantel, Karl Kienzler, Joseph Schonpperle, and Albert Fehrenbach, founded the Schatz und Wintermantel und Co. in Triberg in 1881. Wintermantel and Schatz deliver their first watches to an Englishman from London who was in Triberg. At the end of that year, a man named Siedle showed the partners a non-functional prototype of an annual clock developed by inventor Anton Harder. The company continued to manufacture watches and annual movements for the Englishman of London and small weight regulators for a Parisian clockmaker. Harder sells its rights to its annual clock to de Gruyter‘s Dutch company. Schatz and Wintermantel then abandoned the manufacture of regulators around 1884. They began producing annual clocks for de Gruyter, who took a stake in the German company as a silent partner for ten years.
  • JAHRESUHREN-FABRIK A. G. – In 1884, following a restructuring, the company devoted itself to manufacturing annual clocks, and it was renamed Jahresuhren-Fabrik A.G. (Annual Clock Factory). In addition, it acquired new machines, which made it more productive. However, de Gruyter eventually lost interest in the annual clocks that sold less, forcing Schatz and Wintermantel to take over the product distribution. Their main customers were in London. At the same time, the company also produced alarm clocks. In 1891, the company was awarded the supplier title to the court of Grand Duke Friedrich von Baden.
  • JAHRESUHREN-FABRIK G.m.b.H. – It was transformed in a limited society in Triberg in 1897. Still, in Triberg, the sons of Schatz, August Jr., and Karl joined the company in 1897.
  • JAHRESUHREN-FABRIK AUGUST SCHATZ & SÖHN – In 1923, August Schatz was the only one left of the company’s original shareholders, and he changed the name to Jahresuhren-Fabrik August Schatz & Söhne. When he died in 1927, his two sons continued his work. But the company went bankrupt in 1986.


  • JOHANNES SCHLENKER (1787-1885) – Johannes Schlenker created a company and began to make wooden clocks in 1822 in Schwenningen, Baden-Wurttemburg. His son Christian joined the company a little later.
  • C. J. SCHLENKER UHRENFABRIK – Carl Johannes Schlenker, son of Christian Schlenker, founded its company in Schwenningen. In 1883, Jacob Kienzle, who married Christian’s daughter that same year, joined the company. In 1897, C. J. Schlenker left Kienzle to create his own company, but later on, in 1899, he merged it with his brother-in-law, Jacob Kienzle.
  • SCHLENKER UND KIENZLE UHRENFABRIK – This is the name taken by the company Schlenker and Kienzle following their merger in 1919.


Jacob Schenkler-Grusen (1855-1913) began in 1888 to supply clock springs and, later on, complete movements to other clockmakers. The Villingen-Schwenningen company expanded and began to produce watchman clocks in a new plant completed in 1895. He registered the trademark Isgus in 1915 and several others later on. In 1962, his nephew Alfred Schlenker took over the company to produce mainly industrial automatic timekeepers and signal instruments.


In 1948 in Schwenningen, Emil Schmeckenbecher established a company where he worked primarily alone. In 1955, the company became Schmeckenbecher Uhrenfabrik. In 1969, it manufactured more than 3 million cuckoo clocks and other types, and in 1970, it exported to over 60 countries.


W. – A. Schmid-Schlenker was founded in 1934 by brothers Albert and Walter Schmid in Schwenningen in 1934. She mainly made furniture clocks. Both brothers specialized in the gilding of bronze cases. They made their clocks under two brands, Du Chateau, and Schmid, the first being primarily popular in export markets such as Switzerland in the first place, then Belgium, the Netherlands, and Austria. Production ceased during the Second World War, and it was not until 1948 that it could resume. In 1952, it was transferred to a new factory. His models ranged from the annual ticking clock to the miniature models, often in solid brass with a mercury pendulum in the most luxurious models. By the late 1950s, the company employed up to 250 people. Nearly 70% of the production was destined for exportation in the 1970s, mainly to England. In 1978, Peter Schmid, Walter’s son, succeeded him. At that time, the company had 11 shareholders. It was renamed Schmid-Schlenker GmbH – Co. KG. In the early 1980s, fashion was the cheap clocks from Asia, and German industry gradually declined. Towards the end of those years, Schmid-Schenkler had to close its doors.


Anton Schneider started to produce cuckoo clocks in 1848 in a farmhouse in Schonach, Bäden-Wurttemberg, Black Forest. This company still traditionally fabricates cuckoo clocks, that is, by hand, in new manufacture since 1952. Many times extended until 1985, it is in the hands of the 6th generation of Schneider.


Founded in Schönwald in 1885, this family cuckoo factory is still active.


In the 18th century, Salomon Siedle had a foundry for brass clock gears and bells. He sold it in 1869. With partners, he founded a clock company in Furtwangen. The partnership didn’t last long, but he continued fabricating clocks of all types for the trade market. In 1885, he added to his production line low-voltage battery-operated clocks. The demand for those was in expansion. So, he decided to stop producing mechanical clocks, to focus mainly on those domestic clocks that “never need to be rewind,” according to his publicity of 1896. In 1920, he obtained a patent for these clocks. He then developed the market to include low-voltage devices for time control systems and telephones. In 1986, the name of the company became Electrontechnically Factory.


Walter Storz (1903-1974) established Stowa, a watch company, in Hornberg, in 1927. It moved to Pforzheim in 1935 and a new building in 1938. The building was destroyed during the war. Production was relocated to Rheinfelden in a new building and rebuilt the one in Pforzheim. In 1970, Stowa marketed the smallest clock in the world at Hannover Messe. Stowa had in his catalog 1000 different models of watches. In 1996, Jörg Schauer bought the company, still selling quality watches online.


  • THIEL MASCHINEN FABRIK-RUHLA – Siegmund Thiel opened with his two sons in 1862 in Ruhla, Thüringia, a tobacco pipe manufacturer. They also maintained a hardware store where Ernest Thiel fabricated and sold toy watches for children. In 1878, he added a 12-hour pocket watch.
  • GEBRÜDER THIEL G.m.b.H. – In 1901, the family company became a limited company. It opened a retail store in London, England, in 1910. World War I was difficult for the export market of the company. But in 1920, the company could manufacture all types of clocks, watches, and movements. The Thiel Brothers registered many trademarks and logos during the following years, like Thiel (1919 et 1920), Accuratic (1926), Thiel Lever (1929), Venus (1935), Hubertus, Ceres, Sportic, Lola, Vineta, Surprise, Darling, Divina, Start and Orion (1936).
    The company survived through the Great Depression of 1929, not without problems, and through the Second World War, during which it had to participate in the war effort for the 3rd Reich. At the war’s end, the East German government took over the company that became a people-owned company, the V. E. B. Uhrenkombinat.
  • UHRENFABRIK G.m.b.H. – On the West side of Germany, some people prepared to restart the Thiel company. Artur Metzke (1890 – 1972) owned a company of measurement instruments in Kassel-Niederzwehren. He was also married to the granddaughter of Christian Thiel, one of the founder brothers of Gebrüder Thiel. Then the Uhrenfabrik G.m.b.H. was created.
  • THIEL-UHRENFABRIK G.m.b.H.: In 1948, the company changed its name and Thiel was once again part of the new name. With Junghans’ help, they started to produce alarm clocks and cases for watches.
  • GEBRÜDER THIEL G.m.b.H. SAND – In May 1951, three companies merged, the Thiel-Uhrenfabrik G.m.b.H., the Gebrüder Thiel Seebach G.m.b.H. (Göttingen) and the Gebrüder Thiel G.m.b.H. (Göttingen). In 1972, a machine shop company bought it, and in 1981, the name Thiel disappeared forever.


Founded probably by Edmund Herrmann, Thüringer Uhrenfabrik AG fabricated wall, floor, and furniture clocks. It was registered in 1917 in Eisenberg, Thuringia. It had a factory in Kraftsdorf and an administrative office in Berlin. J. Assmann Glashutte, S. A. Chronos, Schwenningen, and Schwarzwalder Uhrenfabrik, Villingen took over but went bankrupt in 1930.


Adolf Gengenbach is said to have had a clock, pocket watches, and wristwatches factory in Pforzheim, Baden-Wurttemberg in the 1920s and 1930s. He had registered the Mars trademark in 1928.


Uhrenfabrik AG Glashütte (UFAG) and Urhen-Rowerke-Fabrik Glashütte AG (UROFA) are two sisters companies founded in 1926. The goal was to compete with Swiss watches. However, the companies needed tools to start production. So they bought a bankrupt Swiss Emile Judith Biel pocket watches factory. They started building pocket watches but developed tools for wristwatches in the meantime. Production of wristwatches began in 1929 through 1941. In 1938,  the factories were classified as military production facilities, and they were obliged to develop and manufacture chronographs for aviation. Nevertheless, they designed a new wristwatch near the war’s end in collaboration with other companies but could not market it.

In 1945, the Soviets occupied the territory. They decided to dismantle the company and sent the tooling to Moscow to set up their first Moscow Watch Factory. The year after, the two companies were unified under Precis, a production community company. But in January 1951, it was nationalized into VEB UROFA and VEB UFAG, and six months later, the government created the VEB Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe (GUB) that would include UROFA, UFAG, and all other Glashütte watch companies. It was the start of the new East German watch industry. But, following the reunification of Germany, Glashütter Uhrenbetrieb GmbH, created in October 1990, reunified all the Glasshütte postwar watch companies.


In 1880, Hermann Hettich, son of Gordian (1825-1900), decided to open a clock factory under his father’s name, a well-known store owner in Furtwangen. The father used his store to pack and ship his son’s clocks for the retail market. The clock manufacturer was, for a time, a leader in Furtwangen. In 1902, the company changed its name to Uhrenfabrik Gordian Hettich Und Söhne G.m.b.H. It was closed in 1920 after a change of ownership. The new owner Max Roder finally became director of the L.F.S. factory. L.F.S. later purchased the Gordian Hettich facilities.


  • MAIER BROTHERS SHOP – The Maier brothers opened a clockmaking shop in Villingen in 1852 and then moved to a larger facility in 1863 to build mostly mantle clocks.
  • UHRENFABRIK VILLINGEN A. G. – In 1899, the Maier brothers had a new partner, Maurer Pfaff. A year later, Wilhelm Jerger of Niedereschach joined him. But it declared bankruptcy in 1914.
  • UHRENFABRIK VILLINGEN J. KAISER, G.m.b.H. – Josef Kaiser (1875-1940) took over the bankrupt company and started a new factory in 1914. It produced thousands of alarm clocks, especially under Oskar and Franz’s direction in the 1930s. It also had a thriving mail clock sales area. At the death of their father in 1940, they took over the company, but it was closed in 1945. It reopened in 1948, but in 1973, it closed for good under pressure from the Japanese competition.

UNION CLOCK Co. G.m.b.h.

In 1870-1871, August Weisser manufactured clock cases in Zinken Schützenbach. In 1882, Joseph Villing and Rudolf Fehrenbach took over under the name Villing & Ferenbach. Ferenbach retired the following year, and Felix Trenkle replaced him, the name of the company becoming Villing & Trinkle. In 1885, a London-based company, Merzbach, Lang & Fellheimer, bought the manufacture and changed the name to Union Clock Co. G.m.b.H., registered in 1894. It became the largest factory in Furtwangen in 1900. It produced American-type clocks. In 1910, after a failed attempt at moving, it closed down.


The United Freiburger Uhrenfabriken AG of Freiburg represents the union of several companies beginning in 1899 and finishing in 1926 when it merged with Hamburg-America and Junghans. The companies are:

  • GUSTAV BECKER – Founded in 1847 in Freiburg, it became Gustav Becker Clock Co. in 1889, but soon after, it continued its activities under the United Freiburger Uhrenfabriken AG.
  • GERMANIA – Created in 1881 in Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germania fabricated regulator clocks until it merged with United Freiburger Uhrenfabriken AG.
  • BORUSSIA – Founded in 1888, it produced domestic clocks until 1899, when it merged with United Freiburger Uhrenfabriken AG.
  • CONCORDIA – Clockmaker from Freiburg, merged in 1899 with United Freiburger Uhrenfabriken AG.
  • A. WILLMANN UND CO. – Created in 1872 in Freiburg, Bäden-Wurttemberg, it produced regulators, and travel alarm clocks until 1899 when it merged with United Freiburger Uhrenfabriken AG.
  • KAPPEL & CO. UHRENFABRIK – This clock manufacturer established in 1882 merged in 1899 with United Freiburger Uhrenfabriken AG.


Philip Weber (1890-1962) and Jakob Aeschbach, a watch technician, founded in Pforzheim in 1923 the Philip Weber Uhrenfabrik, a reassembly shop. In 1932, in partnership with another watch technician, Wilhelm Rentschler, Weber added a watchcase factory, the Rentschler & Co. Then he acquired shares in Uhren-Rohwerke-Fabrik AG Glashütte and other companies later. Beginning in 1941, he was the sole owner of Philip Weber Uhrenfabrik. After World War II, he restarted his business under Arctos Uhrenfabrik Philipe Weber KG and produced watches under the trademark Arctos. His son Werner Weber entered the company in 1959 and took over in 1962 after his father’s death. He launched in 1971, probably the first German quartz watch equipped with a caliber designed in 1936 by Weber & Aaschbach and modified with a patented electromechanical converter by A. Steudeler & Co. (Source: Philipp Weber Uhrenfabrik GmbH & Co. K.G. – Watch-Wiki (watch-wiki.org))


From 1857 to 1866, Emilian Wehrle (1832-1996) made in his Furtwangen shop numerous trumpet clocks and animated singing bird clocks that were exported worldwide. After his father Emilian’s retirement, his son Julian took over the company. From 1866 to 1996, the company became a precision works company renamed Em Wehrle & Co., Furtwangen. The family company started its liquidation in 1994.


Andreas Hilser started his company, the Wherle Uhrenfabrik GmbH, in 1815 in a modest cottage in Schönwald, Black Forest, and mainly made alarm clocks. Upon Andreas’ death, his son Raimund assumed the company’s continuation. With the help of Carl J. Wehrle (1880-1968), his brother-in-law, the company became a leader in manufacturing alarm clocks and, later on, American-type watches. A fire destroyed in 1967 the new factory built in 1924 without any victims. At the death of Carl Joseph Wherle in 1968, Karl Raimund and Franz took over. In 1978, the company was still in operation.


Johann Nepomuk Noch set up a clock factory in Villingen in 1826, the C. Werner Uhrenfabrik, while in the iron and metals markets and wholesale clocks. He received the help of his son Heinrich. Carl Werner (1831-1890) took over the business in 1857 and married Heinrich’s daughter in 1861. He was selling wholesale clocks but was also interested in building them. He then shared a new building with a glass frame maker, Ferdinand Meyer, and made clocks. In 1870, he registered in Austria, where he owned an establishment and several trademarks with partners such as Charles Hahn and Helmuth Gockel. In 1881, the company became Werner Works. Werner’s sons, Carl and Hermann, took over the company in 1890. Hermann Braukmann from Villingen bought the factory in 1899. It grew steadily with factories all over Europe. In 1913, he had financial problems due to a lousy economy, and Schenkler and Kienzle bought the company.


Louis Wille (1865-1939) made his apprenticeship in watchmaking in Halle from 1879 to 1883 with Ed. Ballje. He pursued his learning during the next 12 years as an assistant to the Hofuhrmacher (Master Clockmaker) Thymig in Dresden and Karp in Darmstadt. He became a master craftsman specializing in chronometers, chronographs, and repeater watches. From 1895 to 1905, he had his workshop in Leipzig for ten years. Then he met a chronometer maker, Ferdinand Decker (1838-1917), and decided to join his company, the Chronometerwerke GmbH, in Hamburg as a factory manager for three years. In 1908, he moved to Schaffhausen, Switzerland, and worked for I.W.C. In 1912, he worked for Omega in Biel. Later, he received many prizes for his chronometers from the Neuchatel Observatory. In 1916, he returned to Germany, worked for Andreas Huber Jr. in Munich, where he created a training center for future watchmakers, and in 1918 for Gëbruder Thiel GmbH in Ruhla. He designed a 15-piece movement for the Thiela clock. In 1922, he was appointed technical director of the newly founded company, the Bayerische Taschenuhrenfabrik Lichtenfels GmbH, by Fritz Stumpf and Lorenz Müller. That firm-made precision-molded watch frames and pocket watches. The watches were marked: Bayern Praecision. However, the company was restructured in 1925 as Bayrian Watch Industry, Lichtenfels, and went bankrupt in 1932. Meanwhile, Willie moved to Pforzheim in 1926 with many former Bayrian employees and tried to create a pocket watch factory. He failed. He died in 1939, leaving behind many patents, writings, a gold medal for a watch, and honors.
(Source in German: Louis Wille (uhrenpaul.de))


Cretaed in 1872 in Freiburg, Bäden-Wurttemberg, the A. Wiillmann Und Co. produced regulators and alarm travel clocks. It merged in 1899 with the United Freiburger Uhrenfabriken AG.


As a revenue supplement, Matthias Winterhalder (1686-1743) began to make clocks at the Kalte Herberg Inn in Urach, the Black Forest. These clocks sold in the inns by traveling salesmen had wooden movements with steel pinions powered by primitive weights like a rock. Matthias died in 1743. The family continued to operate the inn. But the oldest son, Thomas (1761-1838), sold the inn in 1811 and worked as a clockmaker. He moved in 1816 to Friendenweiler, where he also acted as the town treasurer from 1819 to 1829. His oldest son Matthaüs (1799-1863) bought the father’s shop in 1830.


In 1850, Matthaüs Winterhalder (1799-1863), son of Matthias Winterhalder (1686-1743), partnered with Johannes Hofmeier (1802-1876) to form a new company in Schwärzenbach, Winterhalder Und Hoffmeier. Anton (1838-1912), son of Matthaüs, was in 1850 an apprentice at the company under Johannes Hofmeier and became director of the company. In 1869, the company was incorporated as Friendenweiler Und Schwärzenbach. The enlarged company moved to Titisee-Neustadt in 1896. Many members of the Winterhalder were involved in the company, particularly the six sons of Anton, until 1937, when the company was forced to close down by the new German regime.


Georg Wintermandel created in 1924 in Triberg, a company specialized in miniature clocks, the Wintermandel Gëbruder, which also produced 400-day clocks and 8-day chime clocks until 1935. It added then swinging clocks. Production ceased during World War II. In 1949, Georg’s sons Otto and Eugen took over the company and built clocks with the same movements their father designed until 1970 when it closed down.


Georg Würthner, a former craftsman at Kienzle, created alarm clocks, pocket watches, and wristwatches company, the Georg Würthner GmbH, around 1930 in Schwenningen. He also produced an anniversary clock with a narrow movement. He opened a branch in Deisslingen in 1936. When he died in 1956, he left the company to his son-in-law Hermann Manz who pursued the production until 1968, when it closed.


In 1855, Johannes Bürk (1819-1872) founded at Schwenningen am Neckar, now Villingen-Schwenningen, a clock manufacturer, the Württembergische Uhrenfabrik Bürk Söhne, K. G. In 1856, he invented a control clock for night security guards. The manufacturer built pocket watches and movements to register flow and temperatures. In 1921, it became a precision machine shop producing movements, clock parts, mechanical timers, and precision instruments for research laboratories. Finally, the company specialized in master clocks but went bankrupt in 1985.

SOURCES: Kochmann 1976, 2005, 2007, Mallory 2011 (see complete references in Bibliography), and Wikipedia.

Next: 3.03 – Clockmaking in the United States

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