Monday, January 26, 2015

Mühle-Glashütte: A teaser on the new Mühle Watches to be launched in 2015

In the past months, the watchmakers and designers from Mühle-Glashütte have worked intensely on the new models for the year 2015. As a family business in the fifth generation, Mühle-Glashütte places great value on sovereignty and independence. Each timepiece from Mühle-Glashütte reflects the passion, heritage and values of the traditional Glashütte brand –which also applies to the design and functionality of the timepieces. Hence, the bold and reduced Mühle design is drafted in-house. How the origination process of a Mühle-watch looks like can be demonstrated with the watches of the M 29 Classic family.

It is a long way from the idea for new models, the first sketch of the design to the finished Mühle timepiece – a process followed through from start to finish at the headquarters of the family business in Glashütte/Germany. CEO Thilo Mühle and a three-person team, composed of designers and brand specialists, are responsible for the first drafts. This is where the ideas for the classic timepieces, the sporty instrument watches, the nautical wristwatches as well as those for the manufacture models of the R. Mühle und Sohn line emerge.

“As a medium-sized family business, the policy of short distances has proven itself – also in the field of design”, says Thilo Mühle, head of Mühle-Glashütte. “From our experience, the best ideas originate directly within our company headquarters, because this is where our heritage resides. In addition to this, other design influences and feedback from the market are considered as well.” A Mühle timepiece is identifiable as such at first glance. One of the features that stand out the most is the bold and open character of the dial design. This reduced design is derived from one of the core values, after which Mühle-Glashütte designs their timepieces: the optimal legibility of time. This is a result of the over 145 year old history of Mühle in the production of precise measurement instruments and the aspiration that the measurements can be conceived precisely and with one glance.

With the M 29 Classic family, the designers wanted to go a step further and were inspired by historic dial indicator gauges from the company founder Robert Mühle, which were designed during the beginning of the twentieth century. These instruments displayed mechanically measurements accurately up to the thousandth of a millimeter. “I have had the idea to convey the traditional design of my great-great-grandfather’s dial gauges into the modern age for a while”, says Thilo Mühle. “The design is timeless and the fact, that these instruments still function impeccably and without deviation for over 100 years, fascinates me.”

Before the drafting process, the different versions of the traditional dial gauges and tachometers from Robert Mühle’s era were examined and the basic design elements were defined and collected. This allowed the design team to notice for example the timeless and precise scaling, the scale inscription inside and out, different mark lengths or the usage of clear-cut hands without a counterbalance.

The task was to translate these and other design elements from the original instruments into the design language of the wristwatches of Mühle-Glashütte. Subsequently, different drafts were discussed repeatedly within the large team. During a strenuous coordination process, further preliminary drafts were developed before the final model was chosen.

The results of this intense process are paralleling its historical inspiration down to the smallest detail. The delicate, black scaling and clear-cut, dark hands are a clear contrast to the crème colored dials. The five-minute scaling upon the ascending outer ring frames the precise minute track. In combination with the red second hand, the time can be read precisely accurate. Red indices at three, six and twelve o’clock offer further reference points and emphasize the instrumental character of the timepiece. These design features are not only included in the model with centre second. As a family addition, the M 29 Classic Kleine Sekunde (small second) was introduced in 2014 as well.

Over the past few years, Mühle-Glashütte has continued to expand its production and manufacturing capacities, to grow sustainably and with caution. Due to the new CNC-work center, the increase in personnel structure as well as in-house training, the vertical range of manufacture has been consistently increased.

Product development also follows this long-term strategy with a clearly structured collection policy, which is based on watch families. With this in mind, it will be interesting to see which new model variations of the M 29 Classic family the designers and developers from Mühle-Glashütte will exhibit at this year’s Baselworld.

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