I've just returned from my short trip to Saxony, where I went for some sightseeing and to attend the annual antique watch market held in the watchmaking city of Glashuette.
My trip began on Thursday in Dresden.
The famous and once very beautiful Saxonian city - as most know - has been turned into a pile of rubble in 1945 by Allied bombers and was later rebuilt, mostly according to the new approach in the new, Eastern world it found itself after WW2.
In a way, it looks a little like Warsaw, also demolished during the war. The very centre of the old town restored, but the rest - new, and almost without traces of the old times, except for some landmarks surrounded by the new, post-war architecture.
Unlike Warsaw, however, Dresden had to wait much, much longer for the old city centre to be restored, as the Socialist DDR state would not see fit (or economically justified) to pump a lot of Deutsch Mark to restore castles and churches, no longer needed in socialist state.
The restored part is now beautiful, but I think much had been lost forever, if you compare Dresden to - for example - Prague (Czechia), with it's vast areas of old buildings, almost untouched by WW2.
One more picture for you - the recently restored, lovely opera house:
Going further back in time, from the nightmarish 1945 to 1694, a year when the city was about to reach it's peak power and beauty, a year when a young and ambitious man later known as Augustus the Strong has just ascended to the Saxonian throne.
The man - seen in many monuments and paintings, looking at you from the walls of every museum in Saxony, was also the king of the (once) great Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which was - at the time - already on the road it's swift fall and sad demise.
It's funny how history goes, in Poland we generally consider Augustus the Strong (strong referring just to his physical strength he loved to show off) an inefficient king who's bad politics lead to the eventual catastrophy (not seeing that the Polish nobility is way more to blame than the King himself), while in Saxony he seems to be a local hero, who made the land great and powerful. So different...
But... let's go back to the 21st Century :)
After Dresden, I went to see the nearby city of Meissen, where in early 18th Century, the famous porcelain manufacture was established (also during the reign of Augustus).
Unlike Dresden, Meissen was not razed to the ground during wartime, and many of the old buildings surrounding the very centre still stand in good shape.
Thus, Meissen remained a beautiful old city with it's distinctive 'old' spirit.
For me it does make a difference. In the restored 'new' cities of Warsaw or Dresden the spirit burned in the fires that destroyed them. The restored centre feels like an oversized museum in the middle of a whole new town.
The old cities that prevailed 'feel' different. I think you know what I mean…
Being in Meissen I just could not resist the urge to buy just one decent piece of it's wonderful porcelain…
In an antique shop in the street shown, I've bought…
...an adorable, decorative plate.
The logo on the back dates it to circa 1900 (roughly, as this particular shape of the Meissen logo was used for some decades) and it is just adorable.
But now you'll finally ask me... what does this all have to do with watches???
A long off-topic post and still not a single watch in it?
Well - I'll get to that very soon now.
Form Meissen we traveled south-east, towards Dresden, to visit the old local vineyards to try and buy some local (top notch) wine. Ad this is where I present my faithful companion.
During the whole trip, doing it's best, the...
...Gutkaes& Lange No 2207 pocket watch ticking in my pocket.
Doing it's best as it's not in top shape and it can be dreadfully inaccurate.
Obviously, it's not a good carry watch.
It's too inaccurate to keep time and way too preciosus to carry in the first place.
But as I planned to visit Glashuette on Sunday, I just could not resist the urge to take my precious Lange to it's Vaterland, where it was made, around 1860, when Glashuette watchmaking was just getting started.
Ending the beautiful Saturday with the adorable Saxonian potato soup, pork chop and a large glass of wonderful local beer, I was already thinking of upcoming Sunday's event. I was looking forward to being there, on Glashuette antique watch market even though with my tiny amounts of cash (reduced even further by the buying of th Meissen plate), I had no hopes for making a good buy there.
Still - it's just something one has to see, I think…
But before we're off to Glashuette - just a few words - again - about my G&L companion.
It is a rare find, an accidental buy on Polish internet listing.
I decided to bid high on this watch only because I'd never seen one like that before (at the time) and I had a strong feeling this could be 'big'.
I bid much higher than the final price this watch reached, and when I examined it closely, I was in heaven.
I don't even remember now how it occured to me this could be an early Glashuette watch.
Was it the balance wheel?
Maybe, but when I found some information about early Glashuette watches - it was a perfect match.
It's all original. The nera-mint dial, the original superb quality hands, the silver OF case, with a lot of wear to the back engine turning pattern, but otherwise in good state… And the movement itself:
Yes, this this turned out to be a G&L No 2207 watch. Hard to find, many seen in museums rather than on internet listings.
It surely is a precious watch, very likely the most valuable piece I have in my collection.
And today I'm not even thinking of the ridiculous price I bought it for, money is not the thing here - it's all about finding a watch one cannot buy easily even if he does have all the money in the world. These are just hard to find in all original, unspoiled condition.
Perhaps I am exaggerating here, as sometimes these watches appear here and there, with prices adequate to their considerable value, but it surely is not something many people own. Under the dial shot, with clear G&L marking:
In the early period of Glashuette watchmaking, the company was experimenting with their escapement, and here's another grat thing about this watch - the early escapement (not the first one, but still early) with two piece brass/steel pallet fork:
Now - we all know the distinctive Glashuette Goldanker, that appeared later (wthin the 2000-3000 range in fact)…
...but the brass-steel one is a real (scarce) treat.
Like I mentioned, the watch is in average mechanical condition, ticking, but not keeping good time at all. Still - visiting it's homeland it's not about how well it keeps time…
In this picture you can see it right next to it's close relative seen behind the glass in Dresden's museum…
...a Gutkaes brand watch of similar construction.
Plenty more watches and clocks to be seen in both Dresden'a and Glashuette's museums, but I'm not going to show it all - I recommend to go and see for yourselves!
Not just for the watches, but for the beautiful land of Saxony, the nice people there… oh, and the beer of course.
Warm greetings to you all, next time we're off to Glashuette itself :D !!!