Station: [5] Junghans Clock Industry

M: He was the "clock king" of the Black Forest.

F: ... an industrial pioneer.

M: ... friend to the engineer and designer Gottlieb Daimler.

F: But Arthur Junghans was also something else...

M: ... he was a spy.

F: Well, at least briefly. But first things first...

M: Arthur Junghans. Born on the 19th of October 1852. Son of Erhard Junghans and Luise Junghans-Tobler – the fifth of eight children. After completing an apprenticeship as a clock and watchmaker, he attended the trade school in Stuttgart. In 1870, he joined up as a volunteer and fought in the Franco-Prussian War...

F: But let's get to the exciting stuff. In 1872, his mother sent him to the United States.

M: His father Erhard Junghans, who’d set up the business, had died two years previously. The sons were to follow in his footsteps.

F: And part of that was young Arthur snooping on the leading US clock and watch factories. He travelled incognito under his fiancée's surname. He worked as a carpenter, a locksmith and even as a cleaner. Using his own body as a yardstick, he secretly measured the machines, made drawings and took everything he’d learned back home with him – to Schramberg.   

M: Where he created a system of modern production based on the US model. His buzzwords were...

F: Mass production, assembly line, division of labour. The firm of Junghans rose to become the largest watch and clock manufacturer in the world.

M: Though initially, the experts in the trade weren’t very enthusiastic about the clocks "made in Schramberg". Their main criticism was the very basic design. But ultimately, the value for money ratio won out – and at the turn of the century, that was unbeatable.

F: And anyway, people needed affordable clocks and watches back then! They were in the midst of industrialisation. Factories were mushrooming; workers were slaving away for up to twelve hours a day. Factory rules were strict – and anyone who didn't turn up for their shift on time risked having their wages docked. In around 1900, alarm clocks accounted for around 70 per cent of overall clock and watch production at Junghans. The Weckerwerk 10 alarm movement was especially famous.

M: It was distinguished by its pierced plates, punched wheels, open mainsprings and robust balance wheel. Take a look in our showcase to see a few examples. For half a century, the Weckerwerk 10 was a top seller. By the end of the 1920s, Junghans was manufacturing 20,000 of them – every day. 

F: On the 30th of January 1920, Arthur Junghans died suddenly, aged 67. In its obituary, the local daily Schwarzwälder Tagblatt wrote:

M: "[Let us lay] A palm branch on the bier of the great master."


Fotos: © Stadtmuseum Schramberg