Mühle-Glashütte, the German brand with a colourful history

April 2016

Hardly any other German watch brand has as colorful a history as Nautische Instrumente Mühle-Glashütte. Hardly any other German brand has quite as long of a name too!

Mühle-Glashütte has been around for some 146 years, in one form or another. Still firmly in the hands of the family that founded it, they operate out of Glashütte in Saxony. The south-east German town is the equivalent to Neuchâtel in Switzerland - each could be considered the cradle of watchmaking for its respective country.

So as you might expect, the name is synonymous with the Glashütte tradition of precision measurement and reliability. In fact, the firm made a name for itself by supplying the German industry with high-precision instruments and watch systems, like the on-board instrumentation of the legendary Horch and Maybach cars.

 Mühle-Glashütte, the German brand with a colourful history

But the firm’s entry into the world of watches as we know them today has been a challenging one. After destruction and expropriation after WWII, the company was re-established in 1994 as the only watch company in Glashütte still owned and operated by its founding family. The newly-founded “Mühle-Glashütte GmbH Nautische Instrumente und Feinmechanik” produced quartz marine chronometers, making its first wristwatch two years later in 1996.

But today, the production of high-quality timepieces is at the core of the company’s business.

Each year, no more than 1000 high-quality watches are produced by the independent watchmaker. This means that on average, a watchmaker at Mühle-Glashütte will only produce one timepiece a day.

Still, the brand boasts three lines of watches that reflect the brand’s history: nautical watches, classic timepieces and sporty instrument watches. In keeping with family tradition, each is marked by a strong instrumental character, good readability, precision, and of course reliability.

 Mühle-Glashütte, the German brand with a colourful history

To ensure these requirements are met, Mühle has set some high standards for itself. This includes in-house developments like their characteristic rotor, the traditional Glashütte three-quarter plate, and their very own fine regulation system – the so-called “woodpecker neck” regulation - which is probably the best name for a regulator out there today.

This year, more aficionados were exposed to these innovations, thanks to the launch of several special anniversary and limited edition models. The latest collection of the 29er Zeigerdatum, an unequivocally maritime watch, is one example.

 Mühle-Glashütte, the German brand with a colourful history

The clear design of the watch face provides a breath of fresh air, with its lighter shades standing out against the dark strap. The ice-grey colour of the face sets the stage for the silver indices, each of which features a luminous coating that will help you to master the waves on even the darkest of nights.

To ensure maximum precision and complete reliability on the high seas, this watch also benefits from the brand’s famous woodpecker neck regulation in the SW 221-1 automatic movement option.

The other collection that caught our eye was the one honouring the life and work of its founder. The new Robert Mühle special edition is limited to a total of just 100 pieces, and is powered by the “RMK 03” movement, designed and produced in-house.

 Mühle-Glashütte, the German brand with a colourful history

But this updated 35-jewelled version of the RMK 01 also welcomes an additional complication in the form of the date hand. The small-second display at the 6 o’clock position is a nice finishing touch, which is complemented by the extra details of the screwed gold chatons and a finely engraved balance cock.

 Mühle-Glashütte, the German brand with a colourful history

Having started slowly in the mid-1990 with a few quartz models, to boasting several in-house developed and produced movements today, Mühle-Glashütte has returned to its roots as a “complete” manufacturer. That means it’s watches will continue the brand’s rich history, adding a bit of colour to the typically subdued tones of Glashütte watches along the way.