With the end of the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and other changes in the world landscape, Germany’s fine watchmaking industry has begun to return to the public eye. Among them, the three German watch brands, Lange, Glashütte Original, and Nomos, are the most well-known. German table history also has a pivotal position. The brand is-Wempe.
Founder Gerhard D. Wempe
Some people may question, isn’t Wempe the name of a watch store? How could it be a watch brand? That’s right, if you know Wempe is a watch store, it proves that you still know something about clocks. In 1878, the skilled watchmaker Gerhard D. Wempe opened his first shop in the northern part of Germany with a starting capital of 80 marks and superb craftsmanship. He was only 21 years old that year.
Herbert Wempe, second generation
In order to make the timepieces he made better, Mr. Gerhard naturally has to communicate and learn with Swiss watch brands. Finally, in 1923, many years of good cooperation with the Swiss watch industry came to fruition. Mr. Gerhard’s son, Herbert Wempe, bought a building in Hamburg, Germany as the company’s headquarters, and obtained exclusive brands in Hamburg such as Omega and Longines. Distribution rights.
Today, the former watch shop has not only completely transformed into an international company headquartered in Hamburg, with branches in the world’s busiest cities. It has also become Germany’s largest watch and jewelry dealer, and Wempe’s watch shop opened in Beijing’s Qiaofufang Grassland the previous year also marked Wempe’s formal entry into the Asian market.
As we all know, the impact of World War II on the German watchmaking industry was absolutely destructive. Any high-end German watch we see now appears after the end of the Cold War, and Wempe’s watches even appear later. But if you want to trace Wempe’s watchmaking history, let us go back more than 100 years. In 1910, affected by the Second Industrial Revolution, the pace of people’s lives accelerated, and the requirements for precision timekeeping increased. Therefore, at that time, the watchmakers in Glashütte asked to build a local observatory as a A place where clocks and clocks are precisely adjusted.
In 1936, Wempe and Lange began to produce precise astronomical clocks in Glashütte. The production included aviation watches and ship clocks for marine timekeeping. Some of the ship clocks were produced in Glashütte and another part was produced in Hamburg. Used by the military. In the same year, the Glashütte Observatory opened to the public, and residents living nearby can come here to observe astronomical scenes.
After World War II, the town of Glashütte was completely taken over by the Soviet Union because of its affiliation with East Germany. At the same time, all organizations and individuals outside the Warsaw Pact were banned from participating in any watchmaking activities. Wempe wisely kept all watchmaking forces in order to preserve its strength All withdrawn from Hamburg. It was this move that laid a solid foundation for Wempe’s comeback. Decades of flicking, with the unification of Germany, many German watch brands began to slowly revive, making Glashütte, a German watchmaking town, restored to its former vitality.
Now that the time is ripe, everything is in place. In 2004, the third-generation successor of the Wempe family, Mr. Hellmut Wempe and the fourth-generation successor, Ms. Kim-Eva Wempe, decided that Wempe would launch its own brand of watches and return Wempe to Glashütte to continue its previous history.
First, the Wempe family spent 2 million euros to rebuild the dilapidated Glashütte Observatory, and then a watch factory was built next to the observatory. This watch factory is built on the mountain. Although it is not large, it is the highest watch factory in Glashütte with the most beautiful scenery. Looking at it, the blue sky, white clouds and green grass are like fairyland! Working here is definitely a treat!
At the end of this year’s Basel watch exhibition, the Watch House was fortunate to be invited by Wempe to visit this watch factory located in ‘Wonderland’ and enjoy working in ‘Wonderland’ with watchmakers. Cozy and comfortable! This watch factory in Wempe is quite exquisite. In the past 10 years, this small watch factory has only produced a total of 20,000 watches. It is precisely because of the small output that each watch is The watchmaker here assembled it by hand, and carried out precise adjustment and rigorous testing. The accuracy of each watch produced here meets the observatory certification standards and obtains the observatory certificate. It is precisely because each watch is flawless that it has won a great reputation from customers! With the continuous increase of customer demand, the annual output has reached the level of 4,000.
Wempe currently has two product lines, with a watershed of 4,000 euros, which are the ordinary Zeitmeister series and the high-end Chronometer series. Among them, the price of the Zeitmeister series is in the range of 500 to 3600 euros. 60% are quartz watches and 40% are mechanical watches. The basic movements of this series are mainly from ETA and Selita. Everyone should note that although Wempe uses a very common universal movement such as ETA, Wempe will replace some of the key parts on these universal movements here.
I do n’t know if everyone pays attention, the Glashütte / SA is printed on the dial of each Wempe. The word means “Made by Glashütte”, which means that it can be called “Glashütte”, and its movement must be 50% The parts are to be produced from Glashütte. We see that the most critical escapement on these movements has been upgraded and replaced. To know that the bezel has a sentence, changing the escapement is equivalent to changing the movement.
Someone has always talked about how rough the ETA movement is, how cheap it is, and how not worth buying. And my point is that although the ETA movement is very common and has no personality, the key is to see what standards you need to transform it and perfect it. If handled properly, the ETA movement can also become the best. Just like Master Klaus of IWC at that time, he added an ETA7750 movement to the super complicated functions of three questions, tracking needle, tourbillon and perpetual calendar. Although Wempe’s ETA movement cannot be compared with that super-complex, Wempe’s approach to the ETA movement also made me feel great sincerity. The perfected movement is definitely a boutique . Let’s think about it carefully. We only need to spend more than 20,000 yuan to buy this one. What a great value for an observatory watch equipped with a unique semi-produced movement!
After talking about Wempe’s approachable Zeitmeister series, let’s take a look at Wempe’s most high-end Chronometer series. At present, most of the watches in this series are made of precious metal. They use a completely self-produced movement with tourbillon and other complex functions. Assembly, production and assembly are carried out in a separate studio. From 2004 to 2008, the high-end parts of this series of movements were produced by Nomos with the help of Wempe, but after 2008, Wempe achieved full self-production. At present, the watch factory has a total of 63 staff members, of which 32 are responsible for production. At the same time, there is also a watch school in the watch factory. There are now 11 students studying here.
In this episode, we mainly give a general introduction to the history, factories and products of Wempe. In the following articles, we will reveal the manufacturing process of these exquisite watches for everyone, so stay tuned! (Text / picture watch house Mao Zhuang)