German Watch Museum, Glashütte - the fascination of time, experience time

German Watch Museum at Glashütte started in the year 2008 and celebrates the exemplary German watchmaking industry that flourished in this region. Located within the legendary watch-making school of Glashütte, the museum has a motto of - The fascination of time, experience time. I spent a wonderful morning at the museum exploring it's various facets and artifacts, but most importantly it's history which closely reflects the history of the region, and to an extent the history of Germany as well.

german watch museum Glashütte saxony
German Watch Museum at Glashütte (pic credit: René Gaens)
german watch museum Glashütte saxony
Watch in gold

Before I even start sharing the story, let me confess that before my visit to Saxony, I had absolutely no clue at all about the luxury German watches. However, it didn't surprise me when my guide and friend Wolfgang decided to take me on a day's trip to Glashütte and exposed me to a completely new world of precise German watches.

I am an engineer and a designer, so these marvelous pieces of craftsmanship were already very interesting. But when you add to all this the rich, and often tumultuous history of German watch manufacture, especially during the East Germany era, the concoction gets really flavorful.

However, we didn't start our trip from the watch factories or the watch museum, but with a rather interesting ride up on a hill overlooking the historical town. Wolfgang was keen on getting me a birds-eye view of the factories and homes that have become household names, especially in and around the region. The one-way ride up to Wempe Observatory was wonderful and the cold breeze up there was refreshing. The observatory was actually built in 1910 as a time signal so that all the watches made at Glashütte matched the exact time.

wempe observatory glashutte saxony pics
Wempe Observatory
german watch museum Glashütte saxony pics
View of Glashutte from Wempe observatory

As we drove down and then walked a bit in the town, history was revealed to me in parts. Wolfgang showed me various buildings which were once small factories for making watches.

The legend of Glashütte 

Till the 18th century, the area of Ore mountains was dominated by mining and all industry was based on it. But as the ore reserves started dwindling, the need for other industries was felt. One such industry was toy making industry in the town of Seiffen, and the other was that of luxury watch making in Glashütte.

german watch museum Glashütte saxony pics
German Watch Museum
german watch museum Glashütte saxony pics
The watchmaker - an iconic toy here

In 1845, the foundations of this industry was laid here by entrepreneurs like Adolph Lange, Julius Assmann, Moritz Grossmann and Adolf Schneider, who set out a vision for an independent Saxon watch industry. Among these Adolph Lange was the most prominent who traveled to the region of Geneva in Switzerland and was most impressed by the watch industry there.

The industry grew tremendously till it was partially destroyed by Soviet bombing towards the end of the Second World War. Much of the high end precision machinery was dismantled and taken away by the Soviets and this crippled the industry here. Germany was divided and Glashütte became a part of East Germany. In 1951 all the surviving companies were merged into one - VEB. The focus shifted from making just luxury watches to more utilitarian designs. Plastic was also introduced and some really cool designs came in that era. This changed only in 1990 with the fall of Berlin Wall and in the same year Lange Uhren GmbH was formed again by Lange's grandson.

german watch museum Glashütte saxony pics
Inside the museum
german watch museum Glashütte saxony pics
A masterpiece watch...

All the history is now wonderfully captured in the museum within the town.

I could spend only a few hours at the museum, and was tempted to check the prices of some of these watches in the shops around. Of course, better sense prevailed and I only looked at some pretty toys at the reception. Here are some of the most interesting masterpieces at the museum:
1. Astronomic clock by Hermann Goertz
2. Men’s pocket watch made by Union Glashütte in splendid decorative case
3. Precision pendulum clock from Strasser & Rohde with reversed construction

german watch museum Glashütte saxony pics
Some masterpieces at the museum (pic credit: museum website)

The day was stunningly beautiful and we decided to drive ahead and continue with our road-trip.

Planning your museum visit

Glashütte German Watch Museum
Schillerstraße 3 a
01768 Glashütte/Saxony

The Glashütte German Watch Museum lies in the eastern Ore Mountains around 20 km south of Dresden. It is easily accessible by train, bus and automobile.

german watch museum Glashütte saxony pics
A wonderful sculpture just behind the museum building

Arrival by car:
Take the A4/E40 to the Dresden West interchange and from there take the A17 in the direction of Prague. Follow the A17 motorway to the Dresden Südvorstadt exit and from there take the B170/E55 in the direction of Dippoldiswalde / Bannewitz / Possendorf / Freital. Proceed through Bannewitz, Hänichen, Possendorf and Karsdorf to Oberhäslich. Shortly after entering Oberhäslich turn left and take the country road (Glashütter Straße) via Reinholdshain, Niederfrauendorf and Luchau to Glashütte.

Alternatively, from Dresden take the B172 in the direction of Pirna to Heidenau and proceed on the Müglitztalstraße via Dohna, Weesenstein, Mühlbach and Schlottwitz to Glashütte. (You may also take the A17 motorway to the Pirna exit and then proceed through the Müglitz Valley – Weesenstein, Mühlbach, Schlottwitz – to Glashütte.

If coming from Altenberg proceed through Geising, Lauenstein, Bärenstein and Bärenhecke to Glashütte.

Arrival by train:
It can be reached by train, too. One has to take the S-Bahn communter train towards Schöna (Saxon Switzerland) and change at Heidenau into a train to Altenberg. Glashütte has ist own station right opposite the Glashütte Original mnaufactory and just a few steps away from the German Watch Museum. The train station building itself is also a watch manufactory, run by Mühle.

Opening hours:
The museum is daily open from 10 am to 5 pm.

Adults - 6 Euros
Children upto 6 years - free
Guided tours 90 minutes (German) - 40
Guided tours 90 minutes (English) - 60

Other travel stories from Saxony

Enjoyed this story from the Watch Museum? Check out more stories form Saxony, Germany below:
Moritzburg Castle - from hunting lodge to a royal castle
Dresden by the night
Spinnerei in Leipzig - journey from cotton to culture
Bastei - the jewel of Swiss Saxony National Park
The majestic Weesenstein Castle
Christmas Markets of Dresden


Disclaimer: I was in Germany on invitation of the German Tourist Office and Saxony Tourism Board. Needless to mention, all views expressed are unbiased and based on my own personal experiences.


  1. That watch in Gold looks so delicate.

  2. Wonderful, Thanks for the post and pics.

  3. am such a watch-holic that I would definitely buy one watch atleast if I visit this place!!

    1. Haha...thank god I am not! The watches were very expensive :)


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