Loading ...


Great watchmakers: Moritz Grossmann

One of the most eminent representatives of German watchmaking, Karl Moritz Grossmann lived from 1826 to 1885 in the Saxon town of Glashütte devoting his entire life to horology and creating exceptional pocket watches, chronometers, and precision pendulum clocks.

But Grossmann left an important mark not only with his creations but also as an award-winning technical writer and co-founder of the historically significant German School of Watchmaking.

Portrait of Moritz Grossmann
Courtesy of the Stiftung Deutsches Uhrenmuseum Glashütte

The son of a mail sorter working at the local royal court post office, Karl Moritz Grossmann was born in Dresden on 27 March 1826.

Moritz grew up in modest circumstances, but his teachers at school soon realised that he was an exceptionally gifted pupil and he received a free place at Dresden’s Technische Bildungsanstalt, the precursor of what is now the Technical University, then starting an apprenticeship as a watchmaker. 

Deeply fascinated by technology and mechanical timekeeping instruments, he felt the urge to expand his horological knowledge and, at the age of 20, he started travelling through Europe stopping in London, Hamburg, Paris, Stockholm, Copenhagen, and La Chaux-de-Fonds in Western Switzerland, to learn new techniques and developing his skills. 

In 1854, Moritz returned to Dresden. Soon after, persuaded by his long-standing friend Ferdinand A. Lange who had already established his manufactory in 1845, he moved to Glashütte - 30 kilometers away - to open his own atelier. The year after, he married the apothecary Amalie Auguste Uhlmann remaining childless.

Glashütte in 1855

During his apprenticeship, Grossmann had developed the vision of a movement that could work with the highest degree of precision in spite of a straightforward design.

Within a short period of time, he invented the Glashuetter Drehstuhl, a small watchmaker’s lathe and started working on the optimisation of lever escapements and pivoted detents for chronometers.

Glashuetter Drehstuhl (lathe) - Courtesy of glashuetteuhren.de

He crafted precision tools, escapement models, fine pocket watches, and precision pendulum clocks as well as lever chronometers and marine chronometers.

Moritz Grossmann gold hunter-cased watch with key-wound movement, enamel dial with Roman numerals and blued spade hands - circa 1860

His accomplishments were presented at trade fairs, guild events, or in the shop’s show windows and later as exhibits in the German School of Watchmaking.

Moritz Grossmann Lever Chronometer movement No. 5306 - 1882

Moritz Grossmann was sincerely interested in raising the general quality standards in watchmaking so he kept making his achievements available to other watchmakers spending time and resources in finding new solutions for technical problems.

As an example, the so-called micrometer screw, which he described in his essay “On the adjustment of watches” in 1880, extended the notion of index adjusters as conceived by Grossmann during his sojourn in London. 

The screw has a deep thread and lies in an exposed transversal bore of the balance cock. The index tail is tapered at its end and thus engages with the thread of the micrometer screw. When the screw is turned, it entrains the index pointer and thus shortens or extends the active length of the hairspring to adjust the oscillation period of the balance. This solution allows a watchmaker high-precision corrections if a watch runs slow or fast.

As a tribute to Moritz Grossmann’s legacy, the micrometer screw still equips the watches that bear his name today. In this picture, the Calibre 100.3 of the new Moritz Grossmann ATUM Date

Moritz Grossmann had talent also as a technical writer. His publications bolstered the success of his factory, prompting orders from all parts of the world as a side effect.

Company advertising in USA - circa 1880
Courtesy of glashuetteuhren.de

But, again, we remark that his main interest was to expand watchmaking knowledge. With this motivation, in 1878, he translated “Textbook of Watchmaking” written in French by famous watchmaker Claudius Saunier.

His first own publication was an essay entitled “On the detached lever escapement”. In 1866, he submitted the text anonymously for a competition organised by the British Horological Institute winning the first prize and becoming the very first German contestant to win a competition tendered by prestigious institute.

The clearly structured, accurate description of how to craft a lever with an escapement, including possible pitfalls, not only convinced the jury but also made it possible for any knowledgeable reader to reproduce such a mechanism. 

His guiding principle ‘Simple and Perfect’ was explained in detail in his book “On the construction of a simple but mechanically perfected watch”.

Above and below, Moritz Grossmann pocket watch, case No. 5798, Ø 54 mm - circa 1880
Courtesy of Auktionen Dr. Crott

Additionally, he published numerous articles in major technical journals, always with the goal of sharing knowledge.

Moritz Grossmann played a key role also in the establishment of the German School of Watchmaking (Deutsche Uhrmacherschule Glashütte). Even before the school was founded, he was already holding courses in draughtsmanship for aspiring watchmakers at a Sunday school in Glashütte. In 1877, he actually had the idea for the school and under his leadership, a local committee was set up for the establishment and preparation of the school. On 1 May 1878, Moritz Grossmann opened the German watchmaker's school Glashütte (DUS) in the name of the Central Association of German Watchmakers.

Even though he was the school’s first chairman of the board of trustees and despite his busy life, he still found sufficient time to teach mathematics and languages there.

“The tall, upright man with the measured posture and calm words, 
with keen eyes and greying hair, was a personality that attracted 
attention everywhere with sheer physical and mental presence: 
the uncrowned king of Glashütte.” 

Student Michael Loeske writing about his teacher Moritz Grossmann

The building of the German School of Watchmaking in Glashütte 

More than just a respected master watchmaker in town, Moritz Grossmann was also a promoter and organiser of the city’s social and political life.

From 1866 until 1878, he served the community as a councilman, and later even as a representative of the Royal Saxon Landtag, succeeding to his friend Ferdinand A. Lange. He significantly contributed  to the social welfare of the city and the global fame achieved by its most important products: exquisite mechanical watches. 

After his first wife died, he remarried in 1871 and became the father of three children. 

He died of a stroke in Leipzig on 23 January 1885 after delivering a speech about the introduction of World Time. Tragically, just like his friend Ferdinand Lange, he only lived to the age of 60. After his unexpected death, Grossmann’s manufacture in Glashütte was liquidated.

Luckily, in 2008 watchmaker Christine Hutter secured the trademark rights to Moritz Grossmann and founded Grossmann Uhren GmbH in Glashütte to reinterpret, with modern technology and updated for today's market, the rich heritage that had been dormant for 120 years.

Today, the Moritz Grossmann manufacture is governed by the principles of pure artisanship – every single step involved in the making of a watch signed Moritz Grossmann Glashütte I/SA is entrusted to the hands of specialists, from drafting the blueprints to manually sculpting the hands, from the finissage and decoration of each movement part to the assembly of the timepiece, thus combining classic horological values with the expectations and capabilities of haute horlogerie in the 21st century.


A. Lange & Sohne,138,Accutron,1,AkriviA,10,Alain Silberstein,3,alarm,16,Alpina,14,Andersen Geneve,2,Andersmann,2,Andreas Strehler,5,Angelus,6,annual calendar,43,Anonimo,15,Anthony de Haas,1,Antiquorum,4,Antoine Martin,2,Antoine Preziuso,1,Apple,2,Apple Watch,2,Aquadive,2,Aquastar,1,Armin Strom,76,Arnold and Son,27,Artime,1,Astarwatch,1,Atelier de Chronometrie,1,Ateliers deMonaco,2,Atmos,1,Auctions,92,Audemars Piguet,93,Autodromo,1,automaton,2,BA111OD,1,Ball Watch,1,Bamford,2,Baselword 2022,1,Baselworld,8,BaselWorld 2013,50,BaselWorld 2014,53,Baselworld 2015,69,Baselworld 2016,27,Baselworld 2017,64,Baselworld 2018,75,Baselworld 2019,41,Baselworld 2020,2,Baume,4,Baume & Mercier,12,Baume et Mercier,66,Bell & Ross,39,Bernhard Lederer,4,Bernhard Zwinz,1,bespoke,1,Blancpain,93,blue dial,3,Bonhams,2,Bovet,12,Brands histories,1,Breguet,123,Breitling,73,Bremont,1,Bremont Watch Company,4,Breva,2,bronze,28,Bücherei,1,Bucherer,1,Bulgari,115,Bulova,2,Burberry,1,C3H5N3O9,1,carbon,3,carillon,3,Carl F. Bucherer,4,Carl Suchy,1,Carrera,18,Cartier,47,ceramic,20,Certina,11,Chanel,4,Chaumet,3,chiming hour,13,Chopard,42,Christiaan van der Klaauw,1,Christie's,9,Christophe Claret,5,Christopher Ward,14,chronograph,729,chronometer,41,Chronoswiss,6,Citizen,4,co-axial,1,column-wheel,7,complete calendar,27,complications,89,concept watch,5,Concord,1,constant-force,39,Corum,18,Credor,1,CSEM,1,Cuervo y Sobrinos,1,Cyrus,32,Czapek,8,Dan Niederer,1,Davosa,1,Daytona,7,De Bethune,28,de Grisogono,3,dead seconds,21,Delma,1,detent escapement,4,DeWitt,9,digital display,1,dive watches,60,diving,8,diving watches,381,double regulator,3,Doxa,35,drei,1,dress watches,507,dual time,101,Ebel,2,Eberhard,35,Edouard Koehn,5,Edox,6,El Primero,41,Emile Chouriet,1,Emmanuel Bouchet,1,Emmanuel Breguet,1,enamel dial,12,enamelling,15,Equation of time,9,ETA,1,Eterna,18,exhibitions,1,F.P.Journe,38,Faberge,2,factory tours,3,Favre-Leuba,1,feature article,83,features,119,Felipe Pikullik,2,Ferdinand Berthoud,8,flyback,55,Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie,1,Formex,1,Fortis,9,Franc Vila Founder,1,Franck Muller,7,Frederic Jouvenot,1,Frederique Constant,15,Furlan Marri,1,FVF,1,Gallet,1,Garrick,1,Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix,8,Georg Jensen,1,George Daniels,4,Gerald Charles,2,Gerald Genta,12,Girard-Perregaux,48,Glashuette,19,Glashuette Original,89,Glashütte,33,Glashütte Original,122,Glycine,4,GMT,129,GoS,1,GoS Watches,1,GPHG,20,GPHG 2020,3,GPHG 2021,3,GPHG 2022,3,GPHG 2023,3,GPHG2019,1,Graham,6,Grand Feu,5,Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve,16,Grand Seiko,33,Grande Complication,28,Grande Sonnerie,8,Greubel Forsey,38,greubelforsey,1,Gronefeld,10,Grönefeld,8,Grossmann,3,guilloché,8,H. Moser and Cie,49,H20 Watch,1,Habring,10,Habring2,11,Hajime Asaoka,2,Hallmark of Geneva,2,Hamilton,37,hands-on,120,Hanhart,16,Harry Winston,11,Hautlence,6,Hermes,26,Heuer,2,high jewellery,2,high-frequency,3,Hublot,60,Hybris Artistica,1,Hydro Mechanical Horologists,7,HYT Watches,16,Icon,1,In pictures,17,independent watchmaker,35,industry news,229,interview,8,Interviews,8,IWC,168,Jacques Bianchi,1,Jaeger-LeCoultre,124,Jaquet Droz,58,Jean-Francois Mojon,1,Jean-Marc Pontroué,1,JeanRichard,3,jumping hours,37,Junghans,11,Kaj Korpela,1,Kari Voutilainen,10,Kenissi,1,Kollokium,1,Korpela,1,Krayon,4,Kudoke,5,Kurono,2,L.Leroy,1,L'Epee 1839,1,Labails,1,Ladies watches,191,Lang & Heyne,4,Lang 1943,1,Lange,49,large date,3,Laurent Ferrier,25,Laureus,2,Le Garde Temps,1,Lederer Watches,4,Leica,3,Lemania,1,Leroy,4,Linde Werdelin,2,Longines,94,Louis Erard,27,Louis Moinet,7,Louis Vuitton,1,luxury steel watch,25,LVMH,10,LVMH 2020,6,M.A.D.Edition,4,M.A.D.Editions,4,Maîtres du Temps,1,Manufacture Contemporaine du Temps,3,Manufacture Royale,3,Marc Lang,1,marine chronometer,2,Marqueterie,1,Maurice de Mauriac,2,Maurice Lacroix,26,MB&F,66,MCT,1,MeisterSinger,91,meteorite,3,metiers d'art,2,Mickey Mouse,2,Mido,60,military watches,14,Minerva,3,Ming,1,Minute Repeater,62,monopusher chronograph,5,Montblanc,57,moon phases,124,Moritz Grossmann,31,Moser,44,Muhle,6,Mühle-Glashütte,5,mystery watches,4,Nautilus,13,New Britain Corp,1,new watches,3632,Nivada,2,Nomos,77,Norqain,31,Ochs und Junior,6,Officine Panerai,103,Omega,193,Only Watch,15,Only Watch 2015,4,Only Watch 2017,2,Only Watch 2019,3,Only Watch 2021,4,Only Watch 2023,10,Oris,42,paillonne,1,Panerai,106,Parmigiani,15,Parmigiani Fleurier,34,Pascal Coyon,1,Patek,58,Patek Philippe,135,Pedrozo & Piriz,1,perpetual calendar,148,Perrelet,11,Petermann Bedat,3,Phenomen,1,Philippe Dufour,1,Phillips,10,Piaget,35,Pierre DeRoche,2,pilot watch,113,Pininfarina,1,Pisa,14,Pisa 1940,2,Pisa Circle,13,Pita,1,planetarium,2,platinum,7,pocket watch,3,pocket watches,2,Poehlmann-Bresan,2,Poincon de Geneve,2,Porsche Design,17,Pre-SIHH 2016: Cartier - Clé de Cartier Automatic Skeleton,1,pulsometer,5,Purnell,1,quartz,10,Rado,19,Ralf Tech,3,Ralph Lauren,2,rattrapante,23,Raul Pages,2,Raymond Weil,4,rectangular watches,16,reddot award,1,regatta,1,regulator,26,remontoire,5,Remy Cools,1,Renaud Tixier,1,Reservoir,2,resonance,21,Ressence,12,retrograde,10,Revelation,1,Reverso,26,review,121,RGM,1,RGM Watch Co.,1,Richard Mille,111,Richemont,4,Richmond,1,Roger Dubuis,11,Roger Smith,1,Roger W. Smith,1,Rolex,70,Romain Gauthier,12,Romain Jerome,1,Royal Oak,39,Rudis Sylva,1,sapphire,4,Schwarz Etienne,1,Seamaster,9,Seiko,41,SevenFriday,25,SIHH,3,SIHH 2012,4,SIHH 2013,25,SIHH 2014,36,SIHH 2015,43,SIHH 2016,44,SIHH 2017,41,SIHH 2018,43,SIHH 2019,53,Simon Brette,2,Singer,7,Singer Reimagined,11,single hand,28,single-hand watches,33,Sinn,16,skeleton,35,smartwatch,9,solar energy,1,Sotheby's,8,Speake Marin,6,Speake-Marin,6,Speedmaster,35,split seconds,23,sport,1,sport watches,941,sportwatches,1,Spring Drive,2,square watches,3,squelette,58,steampunk,1,Steinhart,1,Strehler,1,striking time,16,SuisseMecanica,1,sunrise,2,sunset,2,Swatch,9,Swatch Group,23,Sylvain Pinaud,2,table clocks,4,Tag Heuer,174,tantalum,1,technical insight,3,terra Cielo Mare,1,Theo Auffret,1,Tiffany,17,Tissot,8,titanium,9,top news,412,Torsti Laine,1,tourbillon,367,Trilobe,4,Tudor,36,Tulloch,1,Tutima,3,ultra thin,36,Ulysse Nardin,39,Unimatic,1,Union Glashutte,14,Universal Genève,1,Urban Jurgensen,29,Urwerk,22,Vacheron Constantin,81,Van Cleef & Arpels,7,Vauchier Fleurier,1,Vianney Halter,5,video,1,vintage watches,3,Vulcain,11,wandering hours,1,watches,1,Watches & Wonders,42,Watches & Wonders 2020,19,Watches & Wonders 2021,28,Watches & Wonders 2022,35,Watches & Wonders 2023,38,Watches & Wonders 2024,23,Watches&Wonders,8,WatchesandWonders2022,35,WatchesandWonders2023,39,WatchesandWonders2024,24,Wilhelm Schmid,1,Winnerl,1,worldtime,57,YEMA,4,Zannetti,1,Zeitwerk,2,Zeitwinkel,1,Zenith,111,Zodiac,9,
Time and Watches | The watch blog: Great watchmakers: Moritz Grossmann
Great watchmakers: Moritz Grossmann
History of Moritz Grossmann. Moritz Grossmann is one of the most eminent representatives of German watchmaking, Karl Moritz Grossmann lived from 1826 to 1885 in the Saxon town of Glashütte. In 2008 clockmaker Christine Hutter secured the trademark rights to Moritz Grossmann and founded Grossmann Uhren GmbH in Glashütte to reinterpret, with modern technology and updated for today's market, the heritage of Moritz Grossmann that had been dormant for 120 years.
Time and Watches | The watch blog
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Read more Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share to a social network STEP 2: Click the link on your social network Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy Table of Content