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Union Glashütte

Union Glashütte

Quality Made in Glashütte
The Pilot Watch Magazine
Union Glashütte
26 April 2024

Precision mechanical timepieces from Saxony

Union Glashütte is a watch manufacture founded by German entrepreneur Johannes Dürrstein in 1983 and based in Glashütte, Saxony. Since the turn of the millennium, the company has been part of the Swiss Swatch Group, one of the largest watch conglomerates in the world, with some 40 subsidiaries in 50 countries – including such dazzling names as Breguet, Longines, Omega and, of course, Swatch itself.

Dürrstein grew up in middle-class circumstances and completed a commercial apprenticeship as a watch dealer. In 1874, the enterprising young entrepreneur founded his own watch wholesale business under the name Dürrstein & Co., whose distribution network quickly extended throughout the German Empire, Austria-Hungary, Bohemia and Switzerland. Shortly after founding the company, Dürrstein took over the exclusive distribution of timepieces made by Glashütte watchmaker Ferdinand Adolph Lange. At the same time, he builds up his own watch production in Switzerland, whose high-quality movements are exported to Glashütte, where they are assembled and distributed.

Rise and fall of a brand

In 1893, the entrepreneur establishes the Union Glashütte brand, a completely independent watchmaking operation in his native Saxony that is not dependent on Swiss components. The trademark of Union pocket watches is a bell with five stars, each applied to the case and movement. Dürrstein’s timepieces quickly found worldwide acclaim due to their convincing quality and high accuracy. In addition to simple and comparatively inexpensive pocket watches, models with sophisticated complications are also produced. With the onset of the world economic crisis, however, the Glashütte watch manufacturers also find themselves in financial difficulties, so that in 1926 both Union Glashütte and the Dürrstein & Co. wholesaler are closed.

In our Glashütte ateliers, we meticulously handcraft timelessly beautiful timepieces that, as in those days, are equipped exclusively with mechanical movements.

Union Glashütte

From a state-owned enterprise to the Swatch Group

Under the regime of the GDR, the remaining Glashütte watch companies are nationalized in 1951 and merged into VEB Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe, or GUB for short. After the German reunification in 1990, the administration of the watch manufactory is initially subject to the Treuhand, and later, in 1994, the company is privatized and renamed Glashütter Uhrenbetrieb. As a subsidiary, the revived Union Glashütte brand is created in 1996, which is finally integrated into the Swiss Swatch Group in 2000.

Swiss precision made in Germany

In 2008, a groundbreaking reorientation of the Saxon watchmaking company takes place. From then on, as an independent brand with its own ateliers, only mechanical quality timepieces with the Made in Glashütte seal of origin and quality were manufactured. Today, the name Union Glashütte stands for affordable luxury. The diverse collections for men and women from the Saxon manufacturer – including, of course, attractive pilot’s chronographs – stand out for their clear design, precision, robustness, reliability, and sophisticated functions. The visual spectrum ranges from sporty-modern to classic-elegant.

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