M. Grossmann, London, Movement No. 4116, Case No. 4116, 50 mm, 124 g, circa 1880
A very fine, rare Glashuette splendour hunting case pocket watch, manufactured in quality 1A, with magnificent case decoration for the British market Case: 18k gold. Dial: applied floral gold ornaments "a trois couleurs", lavishly florally engraved. Movm.: 3/4 plate movement, gold screw compensation balance.
It is interesting and very unusual for a timepiece to bear the signature "London". We know that Moritz Grossman took part in industrial exhibitions in London - the case of the watch is decorated in the most exquisite manner and the movement is of supreme quality; it could easily have been part of such an exhibition. This model is a striking showpiece, a unique blend of all the characteristic features of a fine Grossmann timepiece.
Carl Moritz Grossmann was born in Dresden on March 27, 1826; his father was a sorter at the Royal Court Post Office. Moritz grew up in modest circumstances, but his teachers at school soon realised that he was an exceptionally gifted pupil and he received a free place at the “Technische Bildungsanstalt” (which was later to become Dresden’s Technical University). This enabled him to study for two years – just like Ferdinand Adolph Lange some years before him. In 1842 Grossmann began his apprenticeship with the watchmaker Gottfried Friedrich Kumme (sen.) in Dresden and was allowed to end his apprenticeship early because of his unusual talent. He also learnt English, French and Italian; at the same time Grossmann became friends with the watchmaker Lange who was 11 years older. Both men were ambitious and meticulous workers, keen to learn and to build watches. His travels took Moritz Grossmann to Altona in 1847 where he worked with chronometer maker Moritz Krille; lafterwards he went to stay with watchmaker to the Munich court Josef Bierganz. He went on to the La Chaux-de-Fonds, the Swiss stronghold of the watchmaking industry; from there he traveled to England, France, Denmark and Sweden, always on the lookout for opportunities to learn and further his knowledge and abilities in watchmaking. He only returned to Dresden for a short while in 1854 before moving to Glashuette, about 30 km from Dresden. In Glashuette Grossmann invented the „Glashuetter Drehstuhl", a small watchmaker’s lathe. He began devoting himself to the construction of lever escapements and tried to perfect the pivoted detent escapement. He also built precision tools, movement models, fine pocket watches and marine chronometers. Grossmann mastered this multitude of tasks with a team of highly qualified colleagues; he was able to win the two expert watchmakers Ludwig Strasser and Carl Maucksch for his workshop. This allowed Grossmann not only to build his own watches but also pass his knowledge on to others. Grossmann gave lectures, wrote articles for national and international horological magazines and translated technical books such as Claudius Saunier‘s textbook on watchmaking „Lehrbuch der Uhrmacherei", which consisted of several volumes. In 1866 Grossmann was the first German to win a competition at the British Horological Institute in London with his paper "On the detached lever". Moritz Grossmann was also very socially and politically active; he founded the volutary fire brigade of the sports club in Glashuette, the military club and supported the building of the railway link to the Mueglitz valley. After his wife died in 1871, he remarried and the couple had three children. In 1876 Grossmann became a member of the state parliament of Saxony. He initiated and created the concept for the German Watchmaking School in Glashuette; he founded the school in 1878 and served as its first chairman of the board and taught maths and languages at the school. Moritz Grossman died after a stroke on January 23, 1885 in Leipzig, shortly after holding a lecture on the introduction of Universal Time. Just like his friend Lange he was only 60 years old when he died. After Grossmann’s sudden death his factory in Glashuette was dissolved. Sincere thanks are given to the Grossmann Uhren GmbH for the text and the information provided.
Estimate 8,000 - 12,000 €
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