From high-end luxury to modern tactical, the best German watch brands are creating some of the finest timepieces in the world. But these brands and their watch models can often take time to navigate since many of them tend to fly a bit under the radar. We’re excited to share our favorite German watch brands representing some of the country’s best offerings.

With any discussion about German watches, you will see two main cities mentioned recurringly throughout this piece: Glashütte and Pforzheim. Both of these cities were considered watchmaking hubs in Germany. Their differences are mainly geographic and nuanced. Pforzheim was well regarded as a precision tooling and jewelry producer as far back as the 1700s. At the same time, Glashütte’s prominence in watchmaking occurs slightly later in the mid-1800s to establish the town as a center for watchmaking education. The other difference you’ll see between these two cities in our brand list below is how each was impacted differently by WWII.

Please enjoy exploring the best German brands and watches listed below, and if any names still need to be added to our discussion, please let us know.


Image: Zeppelin
Location:Ismaning, Germany
Founded:1996 (operating under POINTTec electronic GmbH – ESTD. 1987)
Popular Watches:LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin, LZ 126 Los Angeles, and LZ 129 Hindenburg
Design Style:Historic and inspired by Zeppelin Air Craft
Price Range:$200 – $1,400

Zeppelin watches are the most affordable brand option for folks looking to add a German watch brand to their collection. While the brand as a manufacturer lacks history and provenance when compared to other legacy brands on this list, Zeppelin watches are still an excellent choice at an affordable price.

Owned and operated by POINTtech GmbH (a German-based company with several trademarks in the watchmaking space), Zeppelin was technically started by POINTtech when they acquired the rights to use the Zeppelin name on timepieces. As such, the impetus for the brand was to create historically nuanced and inspired timepieces that paid homage to the Zeppelin airships.

When analyzing their designs, you’ll note that many of the case lines, the placements of subdial, logo elements, and even the hands will be evocative in some way to old Zeppelin Airships.


Image: Junkers
Location:Dessau, Germany
Founded:1895 (Defunct in 1969, but then revitalized by POINTtech Electronic GmbH in 1996)
Popular Watches:J1, Flieger, Professor
Design Style:Historic and inspired by German Pilot Watches
Price Range:$250 – $2,400

Also owned by German watch business group POINTtech GmbH, Junkers is a horological brand with a history and German engineering legacy, just not with watches. Junkers was a German aviation and engine manufacturer that gained most of its notoriety by innovating all-metal airplanes during WWI. This reputation continued into World War II as the brand expanded production and engineering innovation into jet engines.

Despite the brand’s engineering and innovation success, it faced financial hardships in the 1930s, resulting in the original brand owner (and primary patent holder), Hugo Junkers, being forced out of his company and relinquishing his patents to the Government. Unfortunately, to ensure the company’s longevity, Junkers needed to do more than just let its name and patents survive through WWII. In 1960, the brand disappeared due to several acquisitions and business mergers.

That is until POINTtech GmbH obtained the rights to use the Junkers name in 1996. They are currently working with the Junkers family members to design and manufacture wristwatches that resemble the historical designs of their family’s aircraft. As such, Junkers timepieces tend to feature more of a historical military lean in their designs while expanding that design sensibility across different watch types such as Bauhaus, Fliegers, and more.

Junkers are an excellent option for folks looking to get into a German watch brand with a bit more history and a more reasonable price tag when compared to some of the other legacy brands featured here.


Image: Laco
Location:Pforzheim, Germany
Popular Watches:Aachen, Zurich, Squad
Design Style:Classic Flieger style pilot watches
Price Range:$350 – $2,300

One of the most well-known historical German watch brands, Laco’s history starts as one of independence and fierce innovation. With its roots in Pforzheim, Germany, Laco’s Co-founder Ludwig Hummel decided the best way to make Laco (then referred to as Lacher & Co) stand among other German watch manufacturers was to produce their movements in Germany (as opposed to using Swiss movements). Hummel then started a movement manufacturing company called Durowe.

During World War II and the subsequent years afterward, Laco’s true brand identity would come to fruition as a producer of timepieces favored by the German Air Force. As such, they are one of 5 German watch brands that can trace their design lineage to the famous B-Uhr dial (sometimes called Type-B Flieger pilot watch).

During WWII, the Allied air raids leveled Pforzheim, along with Laco. However, after WWII, Laco and both Durowe were rebuilt and began producing wristwatches again. Despite this rebuilding, sales suffered in the 1950s, leading to Laco’s acquisition by Timex in 1959. However, due to a lack of momentum, Timex sold Laco. Thus, it began a series of ownership changes and plunged into obscurity that continued for nearly six decades until the company finally began to experience some stability in 2010 under its current ownership.

Today, Laco produces timepieces featuring classic and highly recognizable Flieger design styles in classic stainless steel and bronze. This German watch brand is one of the best affordable options for classic Flieger-style watches with automatic movements if that’s what you want to add to your collection.


Location:Stadtbergen, Germany
Popular Watches:Ocean One, Ocean 39
Design Style:Inspired by Rolex
Price Range:$400 – $1,600

Steinhart watches is the passion project of one man, Gunter Steinhart. Initially beginning operations in 2001, Steinhart quickly gained the watch community’s attention by being one of the premier, highest-quality German watch brands providing homage watches. An homage watch is any timepiece that takes its design narrative from an already designed timepiece in such a way as to honor it. For Steinhart, the muse of their designs was Rolex.

Steinhart’s watches stand out because they incorporate the same principles of quality, craftsmanship, and attention to detail that the best German watch brands exemplify. The results are some of the highest-quality tribute design timepieces available today.


Image: Junghans
Location:Schramberg, Germany
Popular Watches:Max Bill, Meister, MEGA
Design Style:From Classic Bauhaus to modern dress watches
Price Range:$400 – $2,800

Erhard Junghans and his brother-in-law Jakob Zeller-Tobler founded Junghans in 1861, giving the company a long and rich history. The company initially focused primarily on the production of civilization clocks. The company was so successful that by the early 1900s, it employed over 3000 people in its flagship factory in Schramberg, Germany.

While the brand produced wristwatches for military use in the 1920s, focusing on military history has rarely been a focus for Junghans. Instead, Junghans established its modern brand identity in the 1950s by collaborating with Max Bill, a Swiss designer, and artist trained in the style of German Bauhaus. Bauhaus design language features clean lines, a rational approach towards design elements, and avoids unnecessary adornment. Often, the effect can feel sparse, but with its primary roots in industrial design, Bauhaus can present itself as a logical approval of design and structural elements.

This collaboration with Max Bill is a significant differentiator between Junghans and brands like Laco. Where Laco focuses on operating in a manner that evokes Germany’s military history, Junghans creates timepieces that evoke Germany’s artistic contributions.

Junghans is an excellent choice for someone looking for a legacy German watch brand offering a quintessential Bauhaus-style watch.


Location:Pforzheim, Germany
Founded:1924 (operating as ICKLER then creating the Archimede line in 2003)
Popular Watches:Pilot 39, Pilot 42, Outdoor Protect, Sporttaucher
Design Style:Historic German aviation and modern outdoor sports
Price Range:$600 – $2,900

While technically a newer German watchmaker, Archimede’s roots extend much further back to 1924 with the establishment of ICKLER. Karl Ickler was an experienced watch manufacturer who started his own company, primarily producing watch cases for other brands. ICKLER skillfully crafted watch cases from its beginnings until World War II, when the war destroyed the Pforzheim factory. However, in 1947, Karl Ickler’s sons rebuilt the factory, and from that point until about the 1990s, ICKLER focused on producing watch cases for some of the best German watch brands.

In the 1990s, ICKLER began experimenting with possibly producing a German timepiece in-house under the name “Archimede.” Eventually, in 2003, Archimede started bringing its first timepieces to market. With a focus on Flieger models, Archimede operates in a design ethos that evokes both the Ickler family’s horological tradition and Germany’s horological past. Archimede is still a family business owned and operated by Thomas and Lisa Ickler (3rd generation).

Archimede pays meticulous attention to detail when crafting timepieces, ensuring they achieve the highest quality. As such, Archimede is a German watch brand for someone interested in owning an excellent example of a historically inspired Fleiger but isn’t worried about whether or not it comes from one of the leading 5 German watch brands that held the Fleiger contract in WWII.


Image: Stowa
Location:Engelsbrand, Germany
Popular Watches:Flieger, Marine, Prodiver
Design Style:Historic German aviation, bauhaus, and modern sport
Price Range:$800 – $4,500

Founded by Walter Storz in 1927, the brand derives its name from the first characters of the founder’s last and first name (STO-WA). Like many other German watch brands, Stowa moved to Pforzheim in 1935. Then, in 1938, the German Air Force contracted the brand to provide their pilots with timepieces. Most notably, the B-Uhr Flieger was provided to German pilots by Stowa (the model was contracted and provided by other German watch brands like Laco).

The Allied air raids in 1945 destroyed the Stowa factory in Pforzheim, along with much of the city. In 1950, Stowa set about rebuilding the Pforzheim factory and creating a new factory in Rheinfelden, Germany, with both buildings completed in 1951. Following these milestones, partnerships, movement innovations, and overseas marketing campaigns solidified Stowa as a mainstay German watch brand to the present day.


Location:Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Popular Watches:104, 556, 358
Design Style:Modern aviation
Price Range:$900 – $5,500

Helmut Sinn, an aviation enthusiast and watch lover, transformed his two passions into one of the best German watch brands operating today. In 1961, Sinn was formed and primarily focused on creating on-board aviation clocks and pilot chronographs. Uncompromising functionality and tactical practicality have always been at the heart of Sinn’s timepieces. As such, Sinn tends to be a German watch utilized by police forces and astronauts. In fact, during Spacelab D1 (STS-61-A) in 1985, Reinhard Furrer wore a Sinn 140, and on the MIR-92 mission, Klaus-Dietrich Flade wore a Sinn 142.

1994 was pivotal for Sinn, with Lothar Schmidt acquiring the German watch brand. As an engineer, Schmidt pushed the company to further experiment with new materials, technologies, and horological applications to push the possibilities of timepiece engineering and reliability. With innovative technologies such as TEGIMENTED steel (which significantly improves scratch resistance), Temperature Resistance Technology (which allows the timepiece to operate in temperatures ranging from -49 degrees Fahrenheit to 176 degrees Fahrenheit, and more, Sinn is one of the most functionally reliable watch brands operating today.


Image: Damasko
Location:Barbing, Germany
Popular Watches:DK32, DC70, DC56
Design Style:Modern aviation
Price Range:$1,000 – $3,500

One can’t discuss German watch brands without mentioning Damasko and Sinn in the same breath. Konrad Damasko founded Damasko in 1994 to manufacture high-quality materials for the aviation industry. In 2000, the brand also began crafting wristwatches. However, Damasko also provided hardened cases to Sinn for their high-performance timepieces.

In 2002, that partnership ended when Sinn opted to push towards self-reliance and endeavor to produce their watch cases. That didn’t deter Damasko; the brand has earned a reputation for overengineering its timepieces to meet the functionality needs of demanding industries. With unique technological innovations like Ice-Hardened Steel Cases (which purportedly quadruples a watch case’s hardness), Ceramic bearings (which are unbreakable), and the patented Push-Button system (which allows underwater chronograph function), Damasko produces timepieces for those who want a robust watch they can rely on as a tool.

Mühle Glashütte

Image: Mühle Glashütte
Location:Glashütte, Germany
Founded:1869 (re-established in 2007 post-bankruptcy)
Popular Watches:S.A.R. Rescue-Timer, 29ER, Teutonia
Design Style:Modern nautical dive watches with a lean towards vintage and minimal dress watches
Price Range:$1,000 – $10,000

The Mühle family can trace their family history back to the 1300s within the period of the Kingdom of Bohemia, and they are purportedly the only local family still holding ownership of a Glashütte-based watch factory. In 1869, Robert Mühle started a precision instrument workshop in Glashütte after training with Moritz Grossmann. Mühle primarily provided technical instruments for the surrounding and local horological industry and did so successfully well into the 1900s. The Mühle factory also gained recognition in 1918 by providing instruments for the growing automobile industry (speedometers, dashboard clocks, and more).

After WWII, Glashütte was subject to an Allied Air Raid, which destroyed most of the horological industry there, including The Mühle factory. After their factory’s destruction, the Mühle family still held a high reputation in the precision instrument industry. In 1945, Hans Mühle founded a new company that actively manufactured train dials and temperature gauges. This line of business continued into the 1970s when the family continued running the business and eventually started supplying instrumentation for the marine transport and nautical industry.

That transition to operating in nautical instrumentation eventually led the Mühle family to create their first wristwatch in 1996, which then also established their core presence as a core German watch brand.

Wempe Glashütte

Image: Wempe
Location:Glashütte, Germany
Popular Watches:Iron Walker, Chronometerwerke, Zeitmeister
Design Style:Modern luxury
Price Range:$1,100 – $15,000

Gerhard D. Wempe began selling watches and operating a watch workshop out of a house owned by his aunt in 1878. What made him successful in those early days was the amount of personal attention and focus he gave each client who entered his humble workshop. As his business expanded and he added more and more showrooms across Germany, Gerhard had a dream for each major city in the country to feature one of his watch workshops. However, WWI derailed his business plans as the operation grew, and Gerhard died in 1921. At this point, Herbert Wempe (Gerhard’s son) took over the business.

Herbert was responsible for one of the milestone moments for Wempe, the acquisition of Chronometerwerke Hamburg, a legacy manufacturer of marine chronometers. With this acquisition and further expansion, Wempe was on track to fulfill Gerhard’s vision. However, Wempe’s plans for expansion were interrupted again by WWII. Despite this setback, the company continued expansion after WWII by growing across Germany and even beginning to press more and more into the international market during the 70s and 80s under the leadership of Hellmut Wempe. Today, Wempe is a trusted name in watch manufacturing, watch dealing, and jewelry. Through the leadership of Kim-Eva Wempe (Hellmut’s daughter), Wempe strives to honor its past while pushing toward the future.

Tutima Glashütte

Image: Tutima
Location:Glashütte, Germany
Popular Watches:M2, Saxon One, Grand Flieger
Design Style:Modern aviation with some leanings towards vintage
Price Range:$1,100 – $6,000

Certain brands have specific models or types of timepieces that put them on the map. In the case of Tutima it’s the Glashütte Chronograph. With its roots in the Saxony region of Glashütte, Tutima operated with modern and Swiss-based manufacturing practices that also included automation (new at the time in Germany). Approaching horology and crafting their watches in this way allowed them to gain a reputation for quality timepieces from their beginnings in 1927 and well into WWII. This reputation led the German Government to integrate the brand into the burgeoning war effort, specifically to create a pilot’s chronograph.

Tutima met specific requirements for these chronographs, and even non-German militaries recognized them by name and appearance for their exceptional quality. This recognition resulted in downed German pilots often immediately being stripped of their chronographs by Allied Forces. In fact, after WWII, Glashütte ended up on the Soviet side of Germany. The valuable machinery in the Tutima factory was taken to Moscow, producing a series of Soviet-made Tutima Type-59 chronographs (which are very collectible today).

From the 1980s to now, Tutima has continued its close ties with the German military, often providing issued timepieces, including chronographs, to enlisted members of specific military units.


Image: MeisterSinger
Location:Münster, Germany
Popular Watches:N 01, neo, Stratoscope
Design Style:Bold and function-driven with a slight vintage lean
Price Range:$1,300 – $7,000

As a newer German watch brand, MeisterSinger doesn’t have a historical design or cultural legacy that informs its operations. Instead, it’s a watch brand that operates on its impetus and marches to the beat of its own drum – hence, all MeisterSinger watches are single-hand timepieces. Based in Münster, MeisterSinger is owned and operated by Manfred Brassler, who takes a very hands-on approach to the vision and operation of the brand.

Brassler’s conception of the single-hand timepiece stemmed from his desire for his watch to harken back to the time when watches were precision instruments. Brassler knew the modern interpretation of a watch needed to be simplified to enforce and evoke this notion of a precision instrument, which is where the single-hand readout comes from.

NOMOS Glashütte

Image: Nomos
Location:Glashütte, Germany
Popular Watches:Orion, Metro, Tetra, Club
Design Style:Modern Bauhaus
Price Range:$1,400 – $21,500

With a driving appreciation towards German design and the country’s horological history, it’s unsurprising that the fall of the Berlin Wall was a primary impetus for the creation of Nomos. Roland Schwertner founded Nomos in 1990, just months after the Berlin Wall fell, in a cultural environment that saw the resurgence of German design and history. With strong influences from 1950s Bauhaus design and headquartered in the historic horological town of Glashütte, Nomos coalesces these two quintessential German cultural contributions and touchpoints.

Nomos is still independently owned and creates timepieces in their interpretation of German Bauhaus. What also separates the young German watch brand from other timepieces in the industry is their continued efforts to innovate on mechanical movement technology and in-house calibers. Nomos remains one of the few watch brands that can design with one eye on the past, one eye on the future, and the capabilities of still offering in-house movements.

Glashütte Original

Image: Glashütte Original
Location:Glashütte, Germany
Popular Watches:Senator, Pano, SeaQ
Design Style:Luxury, timeless, and classic
Price Range:$6,500 – $32,000

Glashütte is the cultural and historical hub of all things horological for the country, and the modern brand Glashütte Original exists to honor Germany’s watchmaking history.

In 1845, four of the most influential innovators in German horology sought a new location to pool their talents, experience, and horological perspectives. Moritz Grossman, Adolf Schneider, Julius Assmann, and Ferdinand Adolph Lange chose Glashütte because its location in Dresden was advantageous for them. Dresden was establishing itself as a horological epicenter, and the Glashütte team aimed to create an industry to support German horology. Grossman successfully founded the German School of Watchmaking in Glashütte in 1878, proving the team’s plan to be a success.

Watchmaking in Glashütte prospered until WWII, which threw the town and all its businesses into peril. Not only was Glashütte subject to a devastating air raid, but after WWII, the influential German town ended up on the Soviet-controlled side of Germany. The Government owned most businesses in the Soviet Union as they didn’t privatize them. So all the watch brands that existed in Glashütte during the partition of Germany were combined under one entity to be controlled by the Soviet Union – the conglomeration of brands was called VEB Glashütte Uhrenbetriebe and featured the following horology houses:

  • A. Lange & Söhne
  • UFAG
  • Gossel & Co.
  • Mühle & Sohn
  • Felix Estler

While some of these brands ended up separating from this core group after the fall of the Soviet Union, it wasn’t until 1994 that the remaining entities ended up in private ownership under Heinz W. Pfeifer, who wanted to revive many of these brands to their former glory. In 2000, the Swatch group purchased these Glashütte brands from Pfeifer, and Glashütte Original was born. Today, it offers incredibly high-quality movements and is well known for creating many components and parts in-house.

A. Lange & Söhne

Image: A. Lange & Söhne
Location:Glashütte, Germany
Popular Watches:Lange 1, Zeitwerk, and Odysseus
Design Style:Classic, intricate, and elegant
Price Range:$19,700 – $2,600,000

When Ferdinand Adolph Lange joined three other watchmakers (Moritz Grossman, Adolf Schneider, and Julius Assmann) in establishing a center for watchmaking and horology in Glashütte, he did so by creating the foundation for what many people consider the best watch brand in existence today. A. Lange & Söhne timepieces characterize intricacy, dedication to stretching the bounds of horology, and effortless, timeless design. All of these are threads that connect A. Lange & Söhne today to its past.

While A. Lange & Söhne fell into Soviet hands along with the other six core Glashütte watch brands after WWII, it took a different path than those other brands following the fall of the USSR. In 1990, Günter Blümlein (a long-time watch industry executive) and Walter Lange (great-grandson of Ferdinand Adolph Lange) resurrected A. Lange & Söhne, eventually creating their first product offerings in 1994 and solidifying A. Lange & Söhne as core luxury watchmaker once again.

Commonly Asked Questions About German Watch Brands

Does Germany make watches?

Yes – many brands people consider the best are based in Germany (like A. Lange & Söhne and Glashütte Original). Germany’s history in watchmaking took hold in the mid-1800s with the establishment of Glashütte, Germany, as an epicenter for precision watchmaking and watchmaking education. German watchmaking prospered at this point, but this rise to prominence was interrupted by the fallout of World War II, which resulted in Glashütte’s leveling by Allied air raids and all the iconic German watch brands falling under the ownership of the Soviet Union government.

While some German brands on the western side of the country could begin establishing themselves, those iconic legacy brands from Glashütte were discarded and forgotten until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1990/1991. Today, legacy and modern German watch brands represent German horology to the highest standard.

What are the top 3 watch brands in Germany?

A. Lange & Söhne, Nomos, and Sinn. All three of these brands represent what makes German watchmaking great. A. Lange & Söhne is the ideal representation of classic, timeless elegance. Nomos is the perfect modern iteration of a refreshing take on German Bauhaus design. And Sinn embodies the functional nature of over-engineered German watchmaking.

Are German watches as good as Swiss Watches?

Yes – if we’re classifying Swiss Watches and German Watches as being rated on the same merits as legacy watchmaking houses, strict quality control, horological innovation

4 thoughts on “The Best German Watch Brands of 2024 – A Comprehensive Guide”

  1. Good article. One brand that stood out as missing from this lineup is Sternglas. They’re a microbrand that’s been around since 2016 does very reasonably priced Bauhaus-inspired watches.

  2. I just know some day I’m going to end up with a Sinn, but I’m torn on which model. I lean toward the 556 A RS, but the 856 with the tegimented steel, higher end movement, etc. is appealing. I’d ultimately love a Nomos Orion as a dress watch, but it’s hard to justify the expense on something I would only occasionally wear. I almost never go into an office, nor am I going to any fancy events. I know I could wear it more than that, but I have plenty of other casual watches to wear on the daily. I think Damasko should get more love, but I also think they should offer more models that come with a bracelet. The Archimede Outdoor is a very cool watch, and I am surprised I don’t see people post about it more frequently. It’s kind of got this Bauhaus design combined with the rugged Alpinist feature set (200m WR, etc.). The 39mm Outdoor model has a ton of cool variants, and it seems priced more like Sinn was when I first got into this stuff in 2018.


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