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I think it is much more that I have an unabashed predilection for relatively newly formed companies with pretensions to sit at (or close to) the table of haute horologie.
Why? Because they have no laurels upon which to rest; no past glories in which to bask. Necessarily, they have to build their reputations on the work they are doing now -- and, with the benchmark set quite high by the kings of La Suisse Romande, and the certain knowledge that a reputation is easier to destroy than to build, they strive to make an excellent job of it. And some very fine watches are the result.
To my simple mind, there are two reasons why quite a few exciting new manufactories have emerged over the last thirty years. The first is the gradual resurgence of popularity of mechanical watches following the “quartz crisis” -- a factor which applies to all watch-making countries. The second is the return of eastern Germany (traditionally the powerhouse of German watchmaking) to the capitalist system in 1990 -- obviously, this applies only to Germany.
So, (at my current state of knowledge) the new companies I most admire are:
- A Lange und Söhne -- 1990 (new company, old name)
- Glashütte Original -- 1994 (not strictly new, but a rebirth after over 40 years as state-owned GUB)
- F P Journe -- 1999
- D Dornblüth & Sohn -- 1999
- Lang & Heyne -- 2001
- H Moser & Cie -- 2002 (new company, old name)
- Moritz Grossmann -- 2008 (new company, old name).
I also admire Nomos (1990, and the first new company to be established in Glashütte after the reunification) -- but don’t think its main focus is “haute”.
As you will see, all but two of my list are German. This, I think, accounts for the preponderance of Germans in my collection.
My aspiration is to own at least one example from each of these brands (eight pieces, or over 50% of my modest collection already come from them). Unfortunately though, Mr Journe will probably forever be out of my reach -- so the weight of Germany in my collection is likely to increase.
I must also plead guilty to liking to be different -- so, the fact that the last five on my list are micro-brands (combined output probably only around 3000 pieces per year) makes them particularly appealing.