The 20 Best German Watch Brands - A Complete Guide for 2024

The 20 Best German Watch Brands - A Complete Guide for 2024

In general, a conversation about the top watch producing countries centers around two nations: Switzerland and Japan, with Japan often occupying the more affordable end of the spectrum and Switzerland more commonly associated with luxury watches and high watchmaking. Of course, this is an over generalization of the highest degree, as Japan is home to some of the finest purveyors of high watchmaking and there are indeed great deals to be found from Switzerland. 

However, the real tragedy here is the omission of the often overlooked superpower in watchmaking that is Germany. Home to dozens of brands, including some of the best in the business according to a variety of metrics, Germany is an excellent country for watchmaking.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at some of Germany’s better known watch brands to provide an overview of names you should know if you’re new to German watches. In each synopsis, We'll begin with a bit of history, share a few of the brands' major accomplishments or best-loved models, and say a bit about what they’re up to these days, other than eating bratwurst and watching Fußball, of course.

To bring order to this list, we'll attempt to arrange the brands by where they sit in the retail price hierarchy — starting with more affordable brands and working our way up in a very general way, knowing that many outliers in price exist within almost all of these brands. Generally, If it’s towards the end of this list, it’s going to be a bit pricey. That should help to prevent the uninitiated from trotting off into Google to buy a Lange 1 without realizing that'll run them $50k.


Laco began life as Lacher & Co. in 1925 in Pforzheim, where they are still based today. They are most famously known for being one of the five brands contracted to produce flieger watches (such as the Beobachtungsuhr) for pilots in the German Luftwaffe ― alongside A. Lange & Söhne, Stowa, and Wempe.

The Laco of today continues to be popular for its flieger watches. And unlike IWC and Stowa, Laco doesn’t shy away from using Japanese movements so that it can offer its flieger watches at more affordable prices. For more discerning fans, Laco also has a range of higher-end flieger watches that feature Swiss movements and artificially weathered cases and dials. Not wanting to be boxed in to just making fliegers, Laco also has a range of dive and dressy vintage-inspired watches.

Ocean One Vintage Chronograph


Steinhart was founded by Günter Steinhart at the start of the current millennium and has grown rapidly to become one of the largest microbrands today. Though it operates mainly through its website, Steinhart can now count on a network of distributors that span the globe from Finland and Poland, to faraway places like Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea. For better or worse, the company is most famous for its homage watches, which draw heavily from the design of vintage Rolexes.

The Ocean collection of dive watches that pay homage to Rolex’s Submariners is arguably the company’s most well-known. And following the rise in interest in Paul Newman Daytonas, Steinhart promptly released its strangely named Ocean One Vintage Chronograph – a Paul Newman Daytona homage that’s powered by an ETA-2824 with a Dubois Dépraz chronograph module. Today, the company is making attempts to forge new grounds by introducing original designs with models like the Triton, Apollon, and Lemans GT.



Founded in 1927, the name Stowa is a portmanteau of its founder, Walter Storza. Today, the company is run by Jörg Schauer, a watchmaker who acquired the brand in 1996 from Werner Storz, Walter’s son. The brand was most prolific in the late Thirties and Forties. During this period, the brand produced its first Bauhaus-style watches, and it was later contracted to produce pilot watches for the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) to be used in the Second World War.

The modern Stowa operates almost exclusively online and it is most famous for its Flieger and Antea collection of watches. The Flieger collection houses modern interpretations of the classic Beobachtungsuhr as well as versions that are more faithful to the original. The Antea collection, on the other hand, continues Stowa’s history of making Bauhaus style watches with designs that pay homage to the past, but with modern twists.


Damasko was founded in 1994 by Konrad Damasko, who realized that the high-performance materials that he developed for aerospace applications would be ideal for highly durable watches. In fact, up until 2002, Damasko was a supplier of hardened watch cases to Sinn. Today, Damasko continues the tradition of making tough watches. For example, its dive watches are made out of submarine steel and are bead-blasted and surface hardened to give them an enhanced Vickers rating that exceeds typical 316L stainless steel watches.

Like most young watch brands, Damasko is focused on developing its own movements. It has even developed its own silicon balance spring, called the EPS spiral, and silicon escape wheel. But as competent as Damasko’s in-house movements are, it’s most well-known models are arguably the DA38 series of flieger-inspired watches, which are powered by ETA movements are their equivalents. These feature the brand’s signature hardened cases and dials that are inspired by fliegers of old.

Max Bill Chronoscope Sapphire Crystal - Brown Strap


Junghans got its start in 1861 when it was founded by Erhard Junghans. In the company’s earliest years, it was focused on producing clocks. In 1903, with an annual production of over three million clocks, it was the largest clock manufacturer in the world. It was only in the Thirties ― some 70 years after its founding ― that Junghans made its first watch.

The modern Junghans is known for its association with Swiss designer Max Bill. A disciple of the Bauhaus style, Max designed clocks and watches for Junghans that became horological icons. Today, Junghans still produces watches inspired by Max Bill’s original designs in its Max Bill collection. These are classically-styled watches that adhere to the mantra of form follows function and have proved to be resolutely timeless.

S.A.R. Rescue-Timer Lumen

Mühle Glashütte

Mühle Glashütte, founded by Robert Mühle in 1869 in the state of Saxony, holds the distinction of being the oldest family-owned watchmaking company in Germany while also being, in practice, one of the youngest, having not produced a wristwatch until 1996. The company originally made time measuring instruments for the German Watchmaking School and afterward, with the onset of the World Wars, began making speedometers for motorcycles, dashboard counters for automobiles, and onboard timers for military planes, among a host of other timing devices. At the end of World War II, and the postwar partitioning of Germany, while nearly every other German firm that made watches and clocks consolidated into a single state-owned entity, Mühle continued under family ownership, and a different corporate name, branching out its manufacturing expertise into the fields of camera equipment and temperature and pressure gauges.

In 1994, after East and West Germany finally reunited and historic watchmakers like A. Lange & Söhne began re-emerging under private ownership, Mühle Glashütte as we know it today was formed under the leadership of family scion Hans-Jürgen Mühle and his son Thilo. Kicking off the modern collection was the timepiece the duo produced at the request of the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service, the S.A.R. Rescue Timer, which is still in use by the service to this day, and the other military piece that followed it, the S.A.R. Flieger Chronograph used by rescue pilots. The Muhle line has expanded from its military origins to encompass both sporty and luxurious models, and the company, now under the sole leadership of Thilo Muhle, has even dabbled in making its own in-house movements and modules. Best of all, the firm offers its products at very competitive prices compared to many of its neighbors in the watchmaking town of Glashütte.

Tutima Glashutte Dive Watch


Tutima was formed in 1927 by Dr Ernst Kurtz through the merger of two companies: Uhren-Rohwerke-Fabrik Glashütte AG and Uhrekfabrik Glashütte AG. Like other brands based in Glashütte, Tutima was affected by the Second War World. Dr Kurtz quickly moved west before the war was over and set up a small watch factory in Ganderkesee, near Bremen. It was there that Kurtz became a mentor to one Dieter Delecate, who revived the Tutima name and moved back to Glashütte.

To commemorate the move back to Glashütte, the company created the Tutima Glashütte Hommage Minute Repeater ― the first full minute repeater ever made in Glashütte, and also the first wrist minute repeater in German watchmaking history. With interest in Glashütte watchmaking at an all-time high, the company released its Patria watches in 2019. The Patria is a classic-looking watch with a hand-wound in-house movement executed with a traditional Glashütte three-quarter plate, gold chatons, and screwed balance wheel.


Sinn was founded in 1961 by Helmut Sinn as Helmut Sinn Spezialuhren. This makes it a relatively old name in German watchmaking. Unlike most of its German counterparts, Sinn was founded in Frankfurt and still operates there today. The history of the modern company really began in 1994, when it was acquired by Lothar Schmidt, an engineer who promptly renamed the company Sinn Spezialuhren. Thereafter, the company was focused on developing technologies for making sturdy tool watches.

Sinn’s most recognisable model has to be the U1 dive watch. Unlike most other dive watches, which are made of stainless steel, the U1 is unique in that it’s made out of German Submarine Steel. Additionally, the bezel has been treated with Sinn’s Tegiment technology, which increases the hardness level even further. Dive watches aside, Sinn also has watches designed for financial professionals like the 6096 Frankfurt World Time Watch that tracks time in three time zones ― after all, Sinn is based in one of the major financial centers of Europe.


Founded in 1990, just two months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Nomos has, in the short span of thirty years, risen to become one of the most popular brands in German watchmaking. Much of this is down to a combination of sensible pricing, classic Bauhaus design, and outstanding quality. In the past couple of years, the brand has been steadfast in its pursuit of developing in-house movements and can now count upon an arsenal of well-designed calibers to put in its watches.

Today, Nomos is renowned for its classic Bauhaus style watches. The OG Tangente 38 is a hot favorite, and it’s not difficult to see why, with its ageless look. More recently, the brand has been trying to break out of its shell with sportier watches like its Ahoi dive watches and racing-inspired Autobahn watches.

Glashütte Original

Glashütte Original

The history of Glashütte Original is complex. After the Second World War, the Soviet Union, which controlled East Germany and therefore Glashütte, consolidated all of the watch companies operating in the town under one company called the Volkseigener Betrieb Glashutter Uhrenbetriebe (GUB). This state-owned enterprise was later allowed to be privatized in 1994, which led to the Glashütte Original that we know today.

The brand is arguably most famous for its Pano collection, which can be easily identified by its asymmetrical dial – à la Lange 1. Among the collection, the most distinctive is hands down the PanoInverse, so-called because the back of the movement has been flipped to form the dial of the watch. This exposes the large movement plate with Glashütte ribbing and the intricately decorated balance cock for all to see.


MeisterSinger was founded in 2001 by Manfred Brassler. Interestingly, MeisterSinger was Brassler’s second watch brand and he had the goal of making watches that were “unmatched in simplicity and clarity.” This resulted in MeisterSinger watches having only one hand. The concept might seem unfathomable, but the truth is that the earliest clocks only had one hand.

The No. 01 is surely MeisterSinger’s most famous model. It’s a time-only watch with just one hand and large Arabic markers around the clean dial. It seems unusual at first, but its clever design means you do get the hang of reading it after a while. Recently, the brand has been introducing more complicated watches to its collection. This includes models like the Lunascope, which has a moonphase indicator, and the Astroscope, which tells the day and date. MeisterSinger has also embarked on creating in-house movements. In 2014, it debuted the MSH01, a hand-wound movement with an impressive 120-hour power reserve.

Lang & Heyne

Lang & Heyne

Lang & Heyne was founded in 2001 by Marco Lang and Mirko Heyne in Dresden, which is just 30km north of Glashütte. Like Moritz Grossman just below, Lang & Heyne is one of Germany’s most exclusive watch brands, with annual production said to be only around 50 pieces. The company prides itself on ultra-traditional watchmaking, so everything is made by hand and in time-honored techniques. Apart from the usual three-quarter plate and hand-engraved balance cocks, Lang & Heyne goes further with screws that are beveled, have domed threads, and tin-polished heads. Wheels are made of solid gold and chamfered to reduce friction.

The brand’s most well-known watch is arguably also it’s most unconventional. It’s called the Georg and, rectangular case aside, its claim to fame is really its movement. Dubbed the Caliber VII, it has none of the traditional elements of German-made movements like the three-quarter plate and hand-engraved balance cock. Instead, the Caliber VII is a series of immaculately finished bridges and wheels that terminates in a large screwed balance wheel held by a large balance bridge.

Moritz Grossmann

Moritz Grossmann

Moritz Grossmann as a brand was founded in 2008 by Christine Hutter, and presented its first watch in 2010 ― just 10 years ago. The history of the name, however, goes back much further. Moritz Grossmann was born in Dresden in 1826 and, alongside Ferdinand Adolph Lange, was one of the pioneers of the watchmaking industry in Glashütte.

The brand is one of the most exclusive watchmakers in Glashütte. Because of their steadfast pursuit of the concept of “manu factum” ― meaning everything made by hand ― Moritz Grossmann’s annual production is measured in hundreds and not thousands unlike crosstown rivals like A. Lange & Söhne. The brand’s most famous model is the Benu, a classically designed watch made to exacting standards. Like most high-end watches made in Glashütte, Moritz Grossman’s watches feature traditional elements like three-quarter plates, Glashütte ribbing, and hand-engraved balance cocks.

A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1

A. Lange & Söhne

Widely regarded as the granddaddy of German watchmaking, A. Lange & Söhne was founded by Ferdinand Adolph Lange in 1845 in the sleepy village of Glashütte. It’s really a story of two brands. The original company ceased to exist after the Soviet Union took over East Germany, and the company that we know now was revived in 1990 by Walter Lange, the great-grandson of Ferdinand Adolph Lange, with the late and great Günter Blümlein, and help from several other Swiss manufactures including IWC and JLC.

Though the modern incarnation of A. Lange & Söhne is a mere three decades old, its contribution to watchmaking is impressive. For most, the iconic Lange 1 is the face of the brand, the importance of the Datograph cannot be overstated. After all, the Dato, as it is affectionately referred to by fans, is widely regarded as the watch that gave brands like Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin a kick in the pants and forced them to speed up development on their own in-house, manually-wound chronograph movements. Today, the brand is venturing into new territories with the Odysseus – their take on a stainless steel sports watch.

Wempe Iron Walker


Hamburg-based Wempe, primarily one of the world’s top watch retailers but also a manufacturer of timepieces branded under its own name, was founded in 1878 by Gerhard Diedrich “Golden Gerd” Wempe. Like so many other German companies, the family-owned firm was conscripted into service during World War II as a producer of military equipment — specifically large wrist timekeepers for pilots during World War II. By the war’s end in 1945, however, Hamburg was in ruins and Wempe, like so many of its brethren, was forced to rebuild. Fortunately, the next two generations of the Wempe family would lead the firm to lasting success. In 2005, Wempe bought the derelict Glashütte Observatory, transforming it into its own watchmaking center. One year later came the Chronometerwerke line, which used movements made and chronometer-tested at the facility. The line continues as a mainstay of Wempe’s watch collection, particularly the Chronometerwerke Automatic Aviator Watch, a retro-designed pilots’ watch based on those produced during the wartime era. More recently, Wempe introduced its sport-luxury Ironwalker family, which takes its name and some visual cues from the nickname for the construction workers that built New York’s skyscrapers in the early 20th century — like the one that today houses Wempe’s midtown Manhattan showroom.

Alexander Shorokhoff Levels

Alexander Shorokhoff

The name of the founder is Russian but the watches proudly sport “Made in Germany” on their dials. Moscow-born independent watchmaker Alexander Shorokhoff founded his eponymous watch brand in Bavaria in 2003, focusing on offbeat, avant-garde, and usually highly limited timepieces that take inspiration from Russian authors and painters: Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Peter Tchaikovsky, and Wassily Kandinsky are among the historical luminaries who have provided inspiration for Shorokhoff’s distinctively creative timepieces. Some of them, like 2019’s “Levels,” merge the artistic aesthetic with bold horological experimentation. Its multi-level dial, which displays home time and local time on different planes, achieves its 3D dual time zone displays with the use of two separate self-winding ETA 2671 movements, one for each time zone. Occasionally, Shorokhoff pays tribute to artistic pioneers outside his native land, as with Los Craneos, another dual-time watch, this one displaying the times on two Frida Kahlo-style skulls, the spark for which came from Shorokhoff’s trip to Mexico. 

Hanhart Red Lion


Founded in 1882, Hanhart  is based in Schwenningen, Germany’s traditional center of clockmaking. The company originally specialized in making hand-held stopwatches for track-and-field runner and other athletes, but as the specter of war loomed over the country in the 1930s, the family firm’s second-generation leader, Wilhelm “Willy” Hanhart, took it into the more lucrative and field of making chronograph wristwatches for military pilots. Among Hanhart’s most storied watches from that era were the monopusher Calibre 40 models, launched in 1938, and a series of two-pusher chronographs the following year, such as the Calibre 41 and the Tachy Tele (named for its dial’s tachymeter and telemeter scales). The latter two timepieces introduced several new and practical elements for pilots that remain brand hallmarks to this day: a bright red return-to-zero pusher that would be less likely to be inadvertently pressed while timing an interval during a flight, and a red marker at 12 o’clock on the rotatable bezel, which enabled the wearer to record times longer than the 30 minutes indicated on the chronograph counter. These red details live on in today’s flagship Pioneer collection, which takes the design of those of vintage models into the modern era — most faithfully with The Pioneer MKII, which traces its look all the way back to those 1939 models, right down to the retro coin-edge bezels and the riveted, contrast-stitched calfskin strap. 

Leica L2Leica

Germany’s Leica, one of the world’s most respected camera makers in the world, entered the crowded field of watchmaking in 2018 and it did so with the same devotion to technical and design excellence that it has brought to the field of photography since 1986. Its first two Leica timepieces — the three-hand L1 and GMT-equipped L2 — were designed in collaboration with renowned German product designer Achim Heine, a longtime collaborator on Leica products. Among the subtle but recognizable Leica camera elements on both models are the fluting of the crown and the curved shape of the crystal in the style of a camera lens and the ruby set on the crown, which stands in for the famous red dot of the Leica logo. The camera-shutter-button-inspired crown is designed to stop the movement by being pushed in rather than pulled out. Perhaps most notably, Leica actually makes the watches in Germany rather than licensing their manufacture out to somewhere in Asia or even Switzerland. (Leica has said that the “Made in Germany” designation, like the one on its cameras, was extremely important; the manually wound movements, for example, are made in partnership with Lehmann Präzision GmbH in Germany’s Black Forest.) The collection remains rather small and niche in its appeal but has already gained much acclaim from reviewers.

Archimede Pilot


While Archimede has only been making watches commercially since 2003, the family-owned firm that produces them traces its origins all the way back to 1924, when founder Karl Ickler established his watch case factory in Pforrzheim, Germany, a city known worldwide for its jewelry. What that means in practice is that Archimede is one of the few watch companies that can claim that all its cases are designed, prototyped, constructed and finished entirely in house. These Ickler cases, which are all machined from a single block of stainless steel, are found across the entire Archimede range (they’re also provided, mostly anonymously, to other German watchmakers), which offers divers’ models in the SportTeuscher collection, modern versions of naval officers’ watches in the DeckWatch family, classically elegant gents’ pieces called Klassik, and perhaps most prominently the Pilot collection, which takes cues from the styling of aviators’ watches made in Germany during the 1930s and ‘40s, with inverted triangles at 12 o’clock, bulky grooved crowns, and riveted leather straps.

Kudoke Gruner Wald


Independent watchmaker Stefan Kudoke (pronounced koo DOH kah), received his master craftsman in watchmaking certificate with honors at age 22 and honed his skills working for German and Swiss maisons including Glashutte Original, Breguet, Blancpain, and Omega. Since 2008, Kudoke has been making his own watches in his native Germany, several of which have earned awards in the prestigious Geneva Grand Prix (GPHG). His stock-in-trade is skeletonizing and engraving existing movements to make them something unique and putting them on display in uniquely eye-catching timepieces, for which he makes his own dials and hands. Kudoke’s standout pieces include the Kudoke Oktopus Tourbillon, a collaboration with Austrian watchmaker Richard Habring. In which the openworked movement bridges, plates, and even the hands have been reworked to resemble the tentacles of an octopus. More recently, Kudoke introduced the Grüner Wald Sonderedition (“Green Forest Special Edition,” in English), a variation on his Kudoke 2 model with a textured dark green dial, more notable, the first in-house Kudoke movement. 


Join the Conversation

Roger W.

Great list of fine timepieces of Germany for the heritage collection as well as the dress watch/art nouveau. For a well-established German diving collection, though, UTS is something to be considered.

Alex J.

Guinand is missing as a German watchbrand. After Helmut Sinn sold his company SINN in 1994 he bought closely after that year an originally swiss company and this was Guinand. He manufactured under this name again own watches a bit in the SINN style. Later on he moved the company to Frankfurt in Germany and extended the portfolio and e.g. build the famous WZU-5 watch. He was at that time the oldest young watches businessman and he sold highly aged Guinand and died in 2018, at age of 102.

Ladislav V.

And Sternglas? …

Tom J.

There’s Union Glashutte too.

Tom J.

I’ve been impressed with Union Glashutte lately. No US retailers though. Care to take them on?

Robert S.

What about Hentschel From Hamburg?

Steven H.

What about the company called Tufina Watches. They claim to be made in Germany since 1828. I haven’t bought one because they look sketchy. Do you know anything about them?

Robert B.

Great list and blog, though I think you should add the 3 brands from Jochen Benzinger with Jaeger & Benzinger; Benzinger; and Grieb & Benzinger. The Grieb & Benzinger watches are as beautiful as anything made in Germany, though they cost as much as some people’s homes.

Sid S.

Teddy, you kinda skipped Montblanc and D. Dornblüth & Sohn :)

Kevin C.

Would love to see honorable mention or some kind of coverage of Dornblüth & Sohn. Maybe too small but the quality belongs on this list imo.

Geoffrey B.

Hi looking for a 2 sub dial chronograph for not very much money but not found one yet

Alfonso B.

Good day, i,ve just joined,
I,m starting to collect watches basicaly for use (not for selling price), i owe Rolex, Montblancl, Blancpain, etc.
Now i,m starting to buy cheaper units. Have just purchases Seiko skx007k2 Iso 6425 and works incredible, also have purchased (hope receive it tomrw) the Junghans Meister (blt 2019) and i,m doubting to see which unit of bellow i should purchase:

1- Steinhart Ocean GMT, watch is new and blt 2013 – or the
2- Steinhart Triton 30 ATM Diver is new and blt 2015

Which one u recomend me?
are good watches? are reliable?

Kind regards

Leif H.

great collection, but you forgot

Authorized Retailer

Official Authorized Dealer of over 40+ leading luxury brands.

Customer Support

Dedicated customer service staff ready to resolve any purchase or product issues.

Shipping + Fulfillment

Swift delivery directly from our fulfillment center, no product sourcing or un-stocked consignment.

Curated Collection

We work with leading luxury brands to provide the best selection for discerning collectors.