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From Germany, With Love - What Are The Best German Watch Brands?

[2020 Update]

At the end of the day, watches are all about prestige and German watch brands are known for their class. So, if you want to flex, which brands are most worth your time? We got your back as we have answered this below, so read ahead.

Braun

Braun is one of the most popular watch manufacturers in Germany. However, if you don’t live in the country, the chances of you knowing who they are slim.

All of their watches look minimalistic, and this isn’t a surprise as most of the watches on our list are like this. 

According to Braun, functionality, clarity, longevity, quality and timelessness are their core values. However, we also have to note how innovative they are. In their Prestige collection, they had an entire watch made from a single block of stainless steel.

Braun AW 10 Re-issue (Ref: BN0021BKBKG)

Being minimalistic, the watch isn’t too big. That’s why its case only measures 1.49 inches (38 mm) across. 

Against the black, the yellow second’s hand makes the watch easier to read. It also adds a much-needed pop of colour, don’t you think?

There are Arabic numerals throughout the dial. Some users may have problems reading roman numerals or rhomboid markers, so Braun has you covered. 

You’d expect a Swiss mechanism from the Braun, but this is not the case. Strangely, the watch comes with a Japanese Quartz movement. Although Japanese mechanisms have a lack of craftsmanship in them, they’re more accurate than their Swiss counterparts, so it isn’t too bad.

The watch comes with a leather strap. It’s not embossed, in keeping with the minimalistic feel. However, it’ll feel like a million bucks as the leather is soft.

Even though German watches are expensive, the AW 10 is not. The leather strap helps fool people into thinking you sold a kidney for it. 

It would’ve been great if a sapphire display came with the device. Unfortunately, we weren’t lucky as there’s a mineral one instead. Mineral windows can take a beating but are nowhere as resistant as their sapphire counterpart. 

Like any good watch, the Braun is water-resistant. It can handle up to 165 feet (50 m) underwater. You may be tempted to snorkel with it on, but don’t. Braun heavily advises against this.

Junghans

Junghans is a German watchmaker that has it all. From radio, solar to mechanical watches, you’ll always find something that would pique your interest. They have quite a few collections, but their most noteworthy is the Max Bill. If you didn’t know, Max Bill was a key Bauhaus designer. This is why the line is very contemporary and modern. 

Junghans is a pretty old brand, having entered the game in 1861. If you’re a watch snob, this is something you’d love to hear.

Junghans Men's Max Bill (041/4461.04)

Like the Brauns, the Max Bill is on the daintier side. Its case is 1.49 inches (38 mm) across. This isn’t too small though as it’s considered the lower end of the ‘perfect size’ spectrum. 

The watch is Quartz. We were surprised to find a Japanese Quartz earlier, so we’re happy that the Junghans has the J645.33, which is fully Swiss made. 

You see a pretty wide dial, which might intimidate you. That being said, it’s very contemporary, which a lot of people would like. Its window is also very flat, making it look like it doesn’t have a crystal on. However, it has a plastic display. I don’t know how you feel about acrylic displays, but they feel cheap to me.

Once again, you see Arabic numerals plastered on, so time’s easy to read. However, the font is small, so this might pose a problem. 

Although minimalistic, Junghans managed to fit a calendar in the device. It only reads the day’s date, but we weren’t expecting anything more. 

There’s a leather strap on it. It feels just as premium as the Braun. 

Of course, the device is water-resistant, but not as much. The watch can only withstand a dunk or two as it’s resistant up to 100 feet (30 m) underwater. 

Its hands are thin, due to the Bauhaus aesthetic. This is great, but there is luminous paint on it. Being so thin, having luminous paint makes it useless.

MeisterSinger

MeisterSinger isn’t known for its cheap watches. Most of their devices are over $1000. This shouldn’t be a surprise as they look great and come with swiss automatic movements. 

In the world of watches, heritage is important. Unfortunately, MeisterSinger is a newcomer to the industry. The company was only created in 2001. So, do they warrant such a hefty price tag? To answer this question, know that the watch community loves the brand. They’ve won the Red Dot Design award several times.

MeisterSinger Phanero Unisex PH309

The Phanero is pretty small, at 1.377 inches (35 mm). If you have larger wrists, it may be uncomfortable to have on but it’s worth it. It looks amazing, having one of the most eye-catching sunray effects we’ve ever seen. 

Its emerald dial just screams money, and its suede strap adds onto this. Suede is a luxury material, but what’s best is that it feels comfortable. 

Being such an expensive watch, it’s no surprise that it has a sapphire display. That isn’t all, the sapphire has a scratch-resistant coating, so it’s extra special. 

Not only does the watch look good, but it’s also pretty durable. The domed window makes the sapphire more resistant, and the device has a water resistance of 100 feet (30 m). As a result, you don’t have to worry about wrecking its insides. This is especially true since the Phanero is shock resistant

We love a good Swiss automatic. We were delighted that the Phanero had an amazing swiss mechanism. The PH309 boasts of the Sellita caliber SW 210. This gives it a 42-hour power reserve, 19 jewels inside its gears and 28,800 semi oscillations per hour. 28,800 oscillations per hour are pretty good, giving the PH309 some great timekeeping.

Glashütte Original

If you ever get a watch from Glashütte, know that it was made with care. The brand is named after the city it was made in, which is renowned as the epicenter of watching making in Germany. This is why the manufacturer prides itself on its craftsmanship, using in-house, German parts. As you can imagine, Glashütte Original has some of the most expensive watches on the market.

Glashütte Original 100-13-01-01-04

This watch costs an arm and a leg but it’s worth its price tag as it comes with a solid, 18K rose gold case. It’s polished too, so it looks expensive. The watch is a gift that keeps on giving as its dial is silver. 

The rose gold is on the markers and hands too, which is a nice touch. 

Remember that we mentioned how we love Swiss automatics? We were thrilled when we heard of the Swiss mechanism in the device. The watch comes with a Caliber 100-13, as a result, it has a 55-hour power reserve. The cherry on top is the fact that it has 86 jewels inside its gears. Keep in mind that there are usually 17. 
Similar to the MeisterSinger above, it also comes with a VPH of 28,800.

You shouldn’t expect a regular strap. The Glashütte comes in crocodile leather. 

If you’re a fan of anything out of the ordinary, the Glashütte Original should be your go-to. It’s the first watch to be able to set an alarm 30 days in advance. 

It not only looks great on the outside but also the inside. This is why it has a transparent back case. Without a doubt, watching its gears move is a fun way to pass time. 

The watch comes with scratch-resistant sapphire glass, which was expected. However, the Glashütte Original is highly water resistant as well. It can withstand considerable depths, up to 150 feet (50 m) underwater.

Montblanc

When you think about the Montblanc brand, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t their watches. They are a huge name in the fountain pen industry, after all. They are big in the German watch game though and their watches have even gained popularity outside Europe. Most notably, their Time Walker line is the best.

Montblanc Heritage 112534

There are 3 sub-dials on its display. You’d think they were chronographs, but you’d be wrong. The watch wants you to be ahead of your schedule, so it has calendars.

There’s even a moon phase sub dial. You probably won’t use it much, but it’s a nice addition.

Being such an expensive watch, you’d expect the world from its automatic mechanism. It’s a Swiss automatic and has the Calibre MB 29.18 in it. However, it gives the watch a 42-hour power reserve and 25 jewels in its gears. 

If the watch didn’t have a sapphire display, we’d be disappointed. Thankfully, it comes with one, and has a scratch-resistant layer. 

If you’re a fan of the finer things in life, know that its hands and markers aren’t painted gold, and they’re the real deal. 

Like most of the watches we ran through, the Montblanc is on the smaller side. Its case is 1.49 inches (38 mm) across. Like the rest, it also has a leather strap, which is alligator skin.

Zeppelin

Zeppelin is owned by Pointec which also owns the Junkers brand. The first thing you’d notice when you see a Zeppelin watch is how aeronautical it looks. This isn’t a coincidence as the brand has a myriad of pilot and field watches at their disposal. Overall, their devices are not as pristine as the other watches we ran through.

Zeppelin Men's 7642-5 LZ127 Count Watch

Who doesn’t love a good field watch? The 7642-5 comes with a second time zone, towards the centre of its dial. It would’ve been very useful for a German soldier in the world wars, as you can imagine. However, the second time zone can be useful even today as you will know what time it is for a loved one abroad. 

The 7642 is noticeably easy to read. The time is marked in large, Arabic numerals. Even if you’re at the opposite end of the room, the large numerals would stand out. This is because it comes in a robust font. 

Compared to other watches on our list, the Zeppelin isn’t that expensive. That’s why you shouldn’t expect a sapphire display. Don’t fret as it comes with a domed, mineral one. So, it can take a beating or two.

If you love Quartz movements, you’d be glad to hear that the Zeppelin comes with a Swiss quartz movement. It has the Ronda 505.24H which is known for its battery life. This is great as replacing a watch’s battery is the bane of a watch enthusiast's life. So, how long can it last? 45 months

We love a watch that looks great and is durable. So, the fact that the Zeppelin is water-resistant up to 164 feet (50 m) is appreciated. 

There’s a calendar in the 3-o’clock position. We love the idea behind it, but it’s pretty small. If you have bad eyesight, it certainly won’t be the most fun to read. 

Moving on: 

There is a leather strap is at your disposal.

Chronoswiss

Chronoswiss is the most Swiss brand you’ll find on our list, and possibly on the market (excluding actual swiss brands of course). When everyone was switching to the new and improved quartz movement, Chronoswiss held their ground and continued with their automatic devices. They still make some great swiss automatics, so you can imagine how pricey they are.

Chronoswiss Men's Regulateur CH133

The first thing that would catch your attention would be its crown. It’s pretty cylindrical and grooved. It makes the watch look more expensive as it’s jewel-like, but it also makes it easier to use as the crown can easily be gripped. 

The watch costs an arm and a leg, which is why you wouldn’t expect it to be made from ordinary materials. Its dial is made from real silver. Its window is sapphire, which as you know, we’re major fans of. 

The caliber 122 is in the device. As a result, it has 30 jewels inside its gears, making it move like a dream. This is great, but for a watch that’s so expensive, its power reserve isn’t the most noteworthy, at 40 hours

The Chronoswiss will make you feel opulent as it has a crocodile leather strap. It’s embossed, so it’s even nicer to hold. 

Its dial is pretty minimalistic, but it gets the job done. You’ll see Arabic numerals from 5-60 minutes around the center ring. Unfortunately, the ring is noticeably small, but this helps with the almost Marie Antoinette, pristine vibe the Regulateur has going on. This is also why it only has one watch hand, which might look strange to most users. 

There are 2 sub-dials on its display. No, they aren’t chronographs. Instead, one of them marks the hour, while the other marks the seconds. So, you’ll always be ahead of your schedule. 

Before we move onto our next review, Chronoswiss states that the Regulateur is a unisex watch. This wasn’t hard to note as the watch has a more dainty design, with a 1.49 inch (38 mm) case.

Nomos

When it comes to German watch brands, the Glashütte name is a sign of quality. However, Nomos is a new entry. The brand itself entered the game in the early 1990s. Other than that, they produce some of the most Bauhaus inspired watches we’ve ever seen.

Nomos Tangente 101

It’s the first German mechanical watch on our list. This is why its crown is shaped in such a way that it makes it easy to grip. When it comes to mechanical watches, power reserves are important. It affects how long it’ll take until you have to start meddling your watch again. In the Tangente 101’s case, this is every 43 hours. 

Although the Tangente is pretty expensive, the number of jewels it has isn’t the most impressive. You only get 17, meaning it runs as smooth as a 100-dollar watch.

It’s one of the smaller watches on our list. Along with the MeisterSinger Phanero, the Tangente is 1.377 inches (35 mm), which may be too small for some. 

What kind of luxury watch would it be if it didn’t have a leather strap? It doesn’t disappoint, but we aren’t told what type of leather is used, so it could be something rather cheap. 

A sapphire display is present, making the watch very durable. What also helps with durability is its water resistance. You can take the Tangente 101 up to 100 feet (30 m) underwater. For a dress watch, this isn’t too bad. 

There isn’t a second hand. Before you panic, look at the sub-dial in the 6-o’clock position. It marks the seconds passed. 

Its dial may be hard to read. It has Arabic numerals and thin, cylindrical markers. The numerals have a tricky font, and the thin markers don’t help either.

A. Lange & Söhne

We have another manufacturer from Glashütte. A. Lange & Sohne had a rocky start. Although they entered the industry in 1845, they were put on pause in 1948 as they become nationalized into Germany’s economy. The brand is known for its prestigious fans from the past, including Abdul Hamid II of the Ottoman Empire, and Wilhelm II, Emperor of Germany. 

Overall, their watches don’t look very German, or even Swiss, but more British.

A.Lange & Sohne 1815 (238.026)

Easily, this is the most expensive watch on our list. It costs as much as a luxury car, so do we think it’s worth it? Certainly, as it comes with a heritage that’ll drive any watch enthusiast wild. 

It exudes luxury as its case is made from polished, 18 Karat white gold. A. Lange & Sohne wanted to make sure you feel luxurious, adding satin straps to the edge of its case. 

There are 3 sub-dials, 2 that act as calendars and one that is a moon phase dial. What’s great about them is the fact that the watch hands are made from rose gold.

It has a clear back case for good reason. You see highly detailed hand-engraved gears. When you see the intricate details, you’re reminded of how expensive the watch is. Other than that, the hand engravings are a treat for the eyes. 

The watch is the largest on our list, at 1.57 inches (40 mm). It’s huge for a German watch but in reality, it’s still quite petite. 

The cherry on top is the alligator skin strap that we’ve seen time and time again. There is also a scratch-resistant, sapphire display.

So, is the watch water resistant? Yes, at 100 feet (30 m) underwater. 

The Nomos Tangente 101 won’t feel so lonely as the 238.026 is also a mechanical device. It’s much better though, which isn’t a surprise as it costs as much as a small home. You get a 72-hour power reserve and 26 jewels inside its gears. 

Unfortunately, its VPH isn’t the best at 21,600, so its timekeeping isn’t as accurate as the other watches on our list.

Laco

Laco produces some of Germany’s most sought after pilot watches. This doesn’t mean that they don’t make other watches, but their Originals Pilot Watch is their most noteworthy line. In the 1940s, they were tasked by the German Airforce to build watches for pilots. The watches followed a formula created by the Ministry of Aviation and is still used to this day.

Laco 1925 Men’s 861806 Pilot Watch

The watch is certainly not as dainty looking like the ones above. It’s huge in comparison, at 1.65 inches (42 mm). As established, it only looks big when up against other German watches. 

Since it’s a pilot watch, it needs to be accurate. That’s why you see a Swiss Quartz movement. There are also large, Arabic numerals on its dial. They have a tint of green which may worry you. No, this isn’t a funky design choice as the green is the watch’s luminous paint shining through. As you can imagine, such a thing would be very important to a pilot. 

We love a good leather strap, which is why we weren’t disappointed with the Lacos’. The thing is, it’s not made from Alligator skin. By no means is this bad, but Alligator skin is the epitome of luxury that we’ve been used to. 

You don’t get a sapphire display. Instead, you see a less-than-great mineral window. Mineral can take a beating, but certainly not as much as sapphire. 

Being a pilot watch, the Laco would need some expert-level water resistance. Unfortunately, it disappoints as it can only handle 165 feet (50 m) underwater. However, it’s not every day that your plane crashes into the sea, so you’re good. 

There’s an inner dial. It looks intimidating, but it marks the hour. Once again, this is something that would be very useful for a pilot. 

You won’t see any fancy materials on the watch, like gold or silver. This isn’t much of a surprise as it’s a durable device, not a pretty one. Also, it’s not expensive, so you can’t expect to be spoiled.

German Military Watches (GPW)

The brand name sounds intimidating, but their devices are made with a level of care you need in your life. Owned by ARCTOS, GPW is their line/sub-brand that focuses on the watches they used to supply the Germany military with. As you can imagine, they’re pretty hardcore. If you’re a horology nut, know that ARCTOS has been around since 1923.

German Military Titanium GPW (GPWCHRBLNY)

Having run through some pretty expensive watches, we thought it’d be great if we capped our review off with a more affordable device. The GPW isn’t expensive, which is why it doesn’t come with a fancy strap. You’ll see nylon on the device, which helps with durability as the fabric has some major high tensile strength. 

The 3 sub-dials are the watch’s chronographs. If you were a soldier, this would be pretty handy. However, it’s still fun to meddle around with if you’re on the field. 

The watch is especially great for outdoor use as you get large, circular markings that have ample luminous paint. The manufacturer has added Arabic numerals on the watch’s bezel as well. 

The GPW can take a thorough beating. Not only does it come with sapphire glass, but the glass has also been curved to withstand an array of accidents. The display comes with an anti-reflective coating as well. 

It can run laps around the other watches on our list, in terms of water resistance. It’s a beast as it can withstand 330 feet (100 m) underwater. 

There’s a sandblasted titanium case that prevents reflections when underwater, or even in enemy terrain. 

Unlike many dive watches out there, you can actually dive with the GPW on. According to the brand, the watch was made for industrial aquatic and aeronautical use. 

You get Swiss quartz in it. The Caliber Ronda 5040B doesn’t come to play as it has a 54-month battery life, and 13 jewels inside its gears.

Conclusion

If you’re thinking of buying from a German watch company, their devices are amazing but can be very expensive at the same time. They’re some of the priciest watches you’ll find on the market. However, are they worth it? We think so, as they come with heritage and a name attached that anyone in the watch community would swoon over. At the end of the day, all the watches on our list brought very similar things to the table. 

So, what do you think? Why don’t you tell us in the comments below? While you’re at it, don’t forget to share this article.
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