‘Impressions’: The Somewhat Different Book About A Glashütte Brand
Quite a while ago I was approached regarding an interesting project by my friend Anders Modig, a Swedish journalist with whom I have collaborated on various projects over many years.
Modig was in the throes of planning a large book project with the rather creative marketing and PR team at Glashütte Original.
The book was to be a large compendium of, well, impressions of Glashütte Original by authors from ten different countries.
And it was to be called Impressions.
Now, something like this could well have turned out to be a bit blasé if the project-leading team hadn’t been careful to mix it up in an interesting way. So in addition to various chapters written by established journalists of varying nationality, chapters were also authored by personalities that have nothing to do with the watch industry at all.
These include “The Soup” host and comedian Joel McHale, figure skating legend Katarina Witt, vice president of the Saxon state parliament Andrea Dombois, and Stefan Schwarze, captain of the research icebreaker Polarstern.
As you can probably imagine, the approach here is not a strict chronological presentation. In fact, there is no timeline involved at all except for a small foldout graphic at the back of the book.
The chapters are divided under 12 unexpected headings: Originality, Community, Excellence, Consistency, Creativity, Resilience, Flexibility, Beauty, Devotion, Balance, Heritage, and Perspectives.
And, in a new twist, the texts are not marked with their authors’ bylines.
“It is the people – the engineers, precision mechanics and watchmakers, all the friends, business partners and companions of Glashütte Original – who transform our watches into veritable collector’s items,” said Yann Gamard, CEO of Glashütte Original, on the occasion of its celebratory debut in Glashütte. “We wanted to give them a voice. As a result, Impressions is not only a portrait of our manufactory, but a tribute to the rich history of the region and the outstanding skills of the people who work and live here.”
A reading in Glashütte
To bring this project vividly to life for the many people who may not have the opportunity to go to Glashütte to experience the background themselves, the project managers have instead arranged several readings involving some of the authors in various world cities.
The first reading was simultaneously the book’s debut party. Taking place in – where else? – Glashütte, authors read their chapters in front of a sizable crowd gathered in the manufactory’s large atrium.
Among the readers were the aforementioned Dombois as well as Thomas Wanka, editor-in-chief of UhrenMagazin. A third chapter was read out by freelance lifestyle and watch journalist Joern Kengelbach, who also participated as a director of one of the five short films that Glashütte Original presented to guests as part of its 2015 Berlinale engagement (see Glashütte Original Short Films Premier At The 2015 Berlinale).
For that creative project, Kengelbach cooperated with Sven Helbig – a German composer who has worked with Rammstein, the Pet Shop Boys, and others – to produce a film based on audio and visual impressions of the city of Glashütte and Glashütte Original’s factory. More than 600 individual sounds were utilized to compose the explosive homage to Glashütte Original’s brand of expressing the Saxon art of watchmaking.
You can view that film below.
Readings in Asia
Glashütte Original also took the reading of the Impressions “show” on the road, so to speak, staging events in both Beijing and Hong Kong in December 2015.
I was fortunate to have accompanied the brand to the “fragrant harbor” city on the southern coast of China to read one of my own chapters from the “Beauty” section, a story entitled “The Face of Beauty.”
Though hard to tell from the title, this chapter concerns the all-important art of dial-making at Glashütte Original.
As there has never been a dial manufacturer located in the city of Glashütte, the brands have always had to search out suppliers for this outside of the famed watch city in the Erzgebirge mountains.
Glashütte Original has collaborated with its Pforzheim-based dial maker since the days in which it was an East German combine. Several years ago, Glashütte Original even acquired it.
You can read more about this particular topic in Sixties Iconic: Glashütte Original’s Richly Multicolored Homage To Vintage East German Style and Focus On Technology: Pad Printing.
Interested parties in the United States will also have a chance to attend one such reading in the new year. Keep a watch right here for news as soon as it’s available.
Publisher: Glashütter Uhrenbetrieb GmbH
Book style: hardcover, comes in a hard dust cover
Year of publication: 2015
Number of pages: 250
Language editions: English and German, more to follow
Distribution: sold exclusively through Glashütte Original and select Tourbillon boutiques