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Article about Dornblueth in "Volksstimme"

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1 Article about Dornblueth in "Volksstimme" on Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:29 pm

A new article about Dirk and the manufacture was published in "Volksstimme".

The original article in German is at:


I have stretched the limits of my poor German for the following translation (any good German speakers, please feel free to correct me!):

The only piece of men’s jewelry
Oliver Schlicht

The Craftsmans Guild of Magdeburg has awarded the watchmaker Dirk Dornblüth recently with the Foreign Trade Award 2010. The small Dornblüth operation in Kalbe / Milde actually "makes" watches. The intricately handcrafted luxury models are sold over the Internet around the world.

Kalbe / Milde.

Finding the watch manufacture of Dirk Dornblüth in the Altmark village of Kalbe is not easy. No advertising, no name plate at the entrance, only a forged "DD" in the garden behind a creek says to the seeker: this is the right place.

Also on the property itself, there is little business to see. Fields, monkey bars, swings, sheds, two houses. The watchmaker comes out and offers his hand to the visitor on arrival. Seeing his fingers is a surprise. Are these condoms, which he has put on? Ooh, lala. Quite bizarre here in the rural areas. But no, they are the finger-cots of a watchmaker obviously at work.

The private life of the family Dornblüth is barely separated from the company Dornblüth. The two-story home stands opposite the courtyard from the equally large workshop. The boss himself is working in the workshop room upstairs. Jasmin, age four, looks pretty playing under the apple tree and sees her father passing by. She complains of an "ouch on the back." Dirk Dornblüth looks over his loupe down at his daughter: "Should I blow or kiss?" Jasmine opts this time for the blow and then disappears quickly. Reason: mother Anja has appeared below.

100-150 watches produced each year

Dirk Dornblüth and his four coworkers manufacture 100-150 watches per year. Each consists of 200 to 250 individual parts. In these luxury watches, more than half of all components are hand-made with in-house tools. "This is one of the main reasons why customers buy from us. For the major watch manufacturers, such a large proportion of handcraftsmanship is not common," says the watchmaker. Currently, the watches cost between about 3000 and 15 000 euros. The company with four employees sells their pieces almost exclusively through the company's own website. The watchmaker is silent about his sales figures.

Only four employees? Could not a few more employees produce many more watches? The 43-year-old Dornblüth shakes his head: "No, I won’t do this. The company earns enough that we all can live well on it. What use is it to me to lie in the cemetery rich? I would like to have enough time for my family." And he needs it. Jasmin has three brothers: the six year old Patrick, the 13-year-old Lucas and the 19-year-old Timm. Who will follow the footsteps of his father hasn’t yet been decided. "Timm probably not. He has just begun to study theology. But perhaps one of the other."

The little company is called “D. Dornblüth & Sohn”. The name refers to Dieter Dornblüth, the father of the current master watchmaker. He retired two years ago, but occasionally looks in on the workshop of his son. Beginning in the early 1960s, the father ran his workshop in Kalbe. Son Dirk completed his watchmaker training in 1985, then began working in his father's business. In 1996, the son founded his own company, and shortly thereafter the two companies merged back together, and the son took over from his father as chief.

The staff of this small manufacturer has a sense of family. There is Roswitha Loeffler, who began working in the parent company of Dieter Dornblüth as a young girl in 1964. She handles the fine polishing of the metal pieces. Klaus Kontzog has worked intermittently since 1977 for Dornblüth. Actually he is a trained watchmaker. "But in between he dabbled as an electrician, mason and roofer - in that order," says Dirk Dornblüth with a smile.

Now he is again a watchmaker and he works on a small bench drilling tiny holes in gears. The metal drill is almost too small to allow the drilled grooves to be seen. "It has a 0.15 mm diameter. There is even a 0.5-millimeter large drill with two internal channels for cooling liquid," says Klaus Kontzog as he clamps the next gear into the machine.

No "normal" Precision Mechanic

In a space Gerald Koss engraves straight lettering with a customer’s initials into a metal plate. When asked about his job, he just shrugs his shoulders. For Gerald Koss is not a "normal" precision mechanic. Dirk Dornblüth says: " He originally designed and managed our website. Today he works here because I still need someone in the workshop and we fit well together, so now he does both jobs." Two years ago, Gerald Koss moved from Tangermünde to Kalbe. Now here he is, "Precision Mechanic-Metalworker-Internet Builder- Web Designer”.

Breakfast is always served together in the Dornblüth Company. "Every morning we go together, shop, and set the table," said the boss. But even here it is mostly talk of watches. "We are always looking for new ideas." And for partners from the region. The stainless steel cases come in from metal companies in Beetzendorf and Salzwedel. The cushions for packaging are supplied by a seamstress from Kalbe. Wood boxes made by a carpenter from the region.

At first glance, Dornblüth watches don’t look luxurious to the layman. The watches do not look fancy, but have their form reduced to their core function: display the time. Two to six seconds deviation per day are common in the fully mechanical watches. Dornblüth: "If it were just about reading the time, the clock in a mobile phone will suffice. I think the fascination of a high-end watch is very close to the slogan of a manufacturer: The watch is the only jewelry for men."

The Kalbe group also makes women’s watches, of course. The finest model is, however, for the male customers: called "Gorch Fock", it costs 15 200 euros. This watch is inspired by an original marine chronometer, which the watchmaker restored, after visiting the museum located in the Stralsund ship two years ago. This restoration was done free of charge as a contribution to the reconstruction of the "Gorch Fock" as a functioning sailing ship, to which a Stralsund Association is committed. From every "Gorch Fock" watch 2000 euros will be donated to the "Gorch Fock" project. Approximately 15 000 € has been raised in this way by watches sold so far.

70 percent is exported

Almost 70 percent of Dornblüth watches are exported. Half of them are sold outside the EU. "Many to the USA and Japan. But we are also getting more orders from China," said the watchmaker. Customers are kept regularly informed by mail about the construction process of their watch. Some even come in person to collect their timepiece. Only last week a white Porsche with Swiss license plates was parked in the Dornblüth yard next to the swing.

In Kalbe / Milde itself the watches from the luxury manufacture sell poorly. This is because for most of the Kalbe residents, new tiles on the roof or a new pasture fence is more important than an 8000-euro-watch on the wrist. But still: "Over the years, a single watch found a customer in Kalbe / Milde," says Dirk Dornblüth. Who that is, he will not betray. But good news, he added: "We are in conversation with someone. I am hopeful that we will soon sell a second watch in Kalbe."

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2 Thanks! on Sun Oct 03, 2010 6:32 pm

That's a very nice article, which reminds me of the humility and very personal nature I adore about this brand.


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3 great find! on Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:24 am

Thanks for the article and the translation!

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4 Re: Article about Dornblueth in "Volksstimme" on Mon Oct 11, 2010 3:09 am

This was a great article. Thanks for posting it!


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5 Re: Article about Dornblueth in "Volksstimme" on Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:37 am

Fantastic article which really captured the essence of Dornblueth.

Thank you for sharing and for what appears to me to be an excellent translation!

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