As in Glashütte, the post-war years in Pforzheim were extremely difficult – many factories were destroyed, production facilities were dismantled by the victorious powers. However, many entrepreneurs such as PUW founder Rudolf Wehner braved the adverse circumstances and rebuilt the city and the manufacturing facilities.
The effort was worth it: Many Pforzheim-based watch factories became more successful than ever in the post-war years. In the 1970s, just under 30,000 people were employed in the Pforzheim watchmaking industry in order to produce mechanical watches efficiently and with high quality in large series. Just like in the rest of the Black Forest, many companies and jobs in the watch industry also disappeared in Pforzheim due to the rise of quartz watches and the associated quartz crisis.
Today, however, numerous traditional and young microbrands are again active in Pforzheim and the surrounding area. In the Goldstadt you can still find excellent conditions to build high-quality watches “Made in Germany”, including case and dial manufacturers. In Pforzheim you will also find a goldsmith and watchmaker school, the Federal Association for Watches and Jewelry, and the Technical Museum of the Pforzheim jewelry and watch industry.
In keeping with the Pforzheim tradition, the prices for watches from the Goldstadt are usually relatively affordable today and thus offer an excellent entry into the world of high-quality watches made in Germany.
Watch industry in the Black Forest
Wooden clocks had been produced in large numbers in many small workshops in the Baden part of the Black Forest since the second half of the 18th century. Thanks to the early division of labor and simplified construction, the alarm clocks, grandfather clocks and wall clocks from the Black Forest were internationally successful due to their low prices and high quality. The basis was the cheap and easy-to-use raw material wood, which was available in large quantities almost in front of the door. Wooden clockmaking was a free trade that anyone could do. The production of metal clocks, however, was subject to the guild rules and was limited exclusively to urban watchmakers. At the beginning of the 20th century, the alarm clock in a sheet metal housing became the flagship product of the Black Forest watch industry, which could be efficiently and in high quality produced in large-scale industrial production based on the American model.
Watch industry in Schwenningen
Schwenningen, which was once known as the largest watch city in the world, was particularly influential for the watch industry in the Black Forest. As early as the beginning of the 20th century, Schwenningen traded clocks and manufactured its own clocks in metal housings in small factories. In 1900 the state school of precision engineering, which still exists today, was founded in Schwenningen as the royal Württemberg school for precision mechanics, electromechanics and watchmaking. The watch industry in Schwenningen was extremely successful – on the peak, from 1954 to 1963, there were well over 200 companies that were active in the Schwenningen watch industry.
After the two world wars and the quartz crisis, however, the Black Forest watch industry did not regain its former strength. Nevertheless, there are still numerous manufacturers of large clocks and mechanical movements in the Black Forest.