One of the perks of living in Baden-Württemberg is that German watchmaking surrounds me. Whatever direction I go – apart from the west, that being France– I will soon arrive at a watchmaking city. In the north, you can find Frankfurt with Sinn being the largest company in that area. Drive east and you’ll soon reach Pforzheim, the jewellery and watch centre of (West-) Germany with brands like Laco, Stowa or Benzinger. Lastly, you have the south with the Black Forrest. Many brands come from this area like Hanhart and Junghans (in Schramberg). I visited them about 3 years ago during the presentation of their then-new Junghans Meister Pilot collection. They did not only show us their latest creation but the beginning of their dream project; the renovation of the legendary Junghans Terrace Building. I’m happy to report that after three years the project is finally finished.
Junghans Terrace Building
The Terrace building (Terrassenbau, as they call it) is where it all started for the brand. It is here, that Junghans built the foundation of a successful business which later allowed them to grow and develop. Since decades now the building was not part of daily production but Junghans always had plans of renovating it and opening it to the public. This project started in 2015 but as it was still just an idea at the time I could not report on it. We were still able to tour the empty corridors and large rooms where hundreds of watchmakers worked many years ago. Imagine an 8-story building that’s built onto the side of a hill in a valley of Schramberg. Each story lays under the other gradually like terraces, hence the name. These are some of the shots I made during that trip back in 2015 showing the “before conditions”.
While we already knew earlier this year (around Baselworld) that the building is ready, the official introduction to the press did not happen until recently. Junghans invited us to spend a day at the manufacturer. We toured their building, saw the production facility and met the people behind Junghans. While it is always nice to get a first-hand experience on these details what we were all looking forward was the tour of the renovated Junghans Terrace Building. As a heritage-listed construction, the Terrasenbau’s renovation was slow, meticulous and expensive. Although you cannot see much change from the outside, the inside has been carefully restored. It houses two museums; one that shows Junghans’ own history and another that focuses on clockmaking of the Black Forrest. The last leg of our tour took us to these exhibition spaces.
When you enter the building on the lowest level you have to take a funicular all the way to the top floor. From there on you can work your way down to reach the final stop; the gift shop. As I mentioned above, the Junghans Terrace Building is home of two museums; a collection of wall clocks (Cuckoo clocks, Robert-Jan’s favourite, no kidding) that are specific for the Black Forrest. You can also find Junghans’ own museum in the building. The exhibition space was designed that you have to work your way down from the top floor. Under the clock museum, you have the museum of Junghans’ history with a ton of interesting watches, clock, data sheets, blueprints even the actual watches that are in production. You can pick them up, try them on and a few steps later in the display shop you can actually buy them.
The last bit of the day was a gala dinner and the presentation of the new Junghans Mega movement. As it is a rather complex topic I will not get into it for this article. We will soon review a Junghans with a Mega watch so stay tuned for that. As a teaser, I can tell you that, despite the fact that it is a quartz movement (that many do not regard as high as mechanical movements) it can pack a punch, especially at the price it comes with. I won’t spoil the surprise, come back and read when the article goes live.
I would like to thank wholeheartedly to the whole team at Junghans for inviting us. It has been a great event and we were glad to see the final development of the Terrace Building. If you wish to check out the latest Junghans models visit their site, here.