We recently visited the workshop of Benzinger, one of the brands featured in our Chrono24 Brand Boutique. The best part about it: You can too. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you organize a trip to Benzinger.
Fans of German watchmaking know that the two strongholds of the industry are Glashütte in the east and the Black Forest in the south. On the northern rim of the forest lies the city of Pforzheim. This German city, nicknamed the Golden City for its connection to the watch and jewelry industry, is also home to many watch brands. One of these brands is Benzinger. You can find this little atelier tucked away in the backyard of a building on a hilly street. The building is anything but flashy, a characteristic which applies to our host, Mr. Jochen Benzinger, as well.
A soft spoken and quiet man who creates small wonders with his almost 100-year-old guilloche machines, Mr. Benzinger is a student of the old techniques. He represents a part of watchmaking history that is long gone from mass production. His small workshop has machines lined up in an orderly manner. You won’t find any room-sized CNCs or other huge equipment here. The workshop is truly a tiny but sacred place where wonders are created by the hands of Mr. Benzinger and his team.
Today, mass production is a normal part of our lives. Cars, home appliances, and even watches are produced by the thousands every day. It’s rare that we find a company still using a technique that enjoyed its prime a few centuries ago during the times of Marie Antoinette. Back then, hand-powered and operated guilloche machines were used to create clocks and travel watches for royals. When you step into the Benzinger workshop, you may feel like you have traveled back in time.
You can witness how, millimeter by millimeter, the decoration appears on the plate from the tip of the cupboard-sized machine weighing 500 kilos. This meticulous work requires hours of training, steady hands, and a lot of patience, but the result you get is worth the trouble. However, Benzinger is not known for this technique alone.
They are also specialists in engravings and, more importantly, skeletonizing. Skeletonizing, as its name indicates, is a technique where the dial is either missing or cut open. Through the face of the watch the spectator can then see into the movement. Because of that, the otherwise hidden bridges, levers, and other parts are decorated piece by piece, entirely by hand.
A lot of watch brands offer similar models but they are mostly machine-skeletonized. Rarely do you come across a true manufacture watch where every cut-out and decorative surface is done by hand. Mr. Benzinger and his team run such an atelier. This technique requires hundreds and sometimes even thousands of working hours to finish, and the prices of these marvelous timepieces reflect this.
Benzinger offers their buyers total freedom in customizing their watches. Jochen Benzinger and the customer meet and discuss what the future watch should look like down to the smallest detail. If the customer has no special requests, they can choose from several readily available models Benzinger offers through the Chrono24 Brand Boutique. One thing is for sure: You do not often see a Benzinger watch in the wild. Yet if you do, you can be sure that the person has impeccable taste and a hunger for craftsmanship and traditional techniques, as that’s what Benzinger is all about.
Since Benzinger is an open atelier, anyone interested in their work or passing by Pforzheim is welcome to visit the workshop by appointment. They will show you around, explain how the machines work, and happily take your order for your next (or first) Benzinger watch. Such a visit is a unique experience that explains a lot to watch lovers about how these timepieces come to life.
If you want to visit Benzinger, all you need to do is to send us an email. We’ll take care of the rest:
Discover Benzinger timpieces in the Chrono24 Brand Boutique: