Hermle Clock Company – A Modern Success Story

The Hermle clock company, like many of the well-known American clock companies , such as Seth Thomas and Ingraham , owes its existence to one clockmaker who had the desire to build quality clocks, Franz Hermle. While the major American clock companies trace their roots to the early 1800’s, the Hermle company is a twentieth century success story. The company was started in 1922, shortly after Germany began recovering from World War I, as the Franz Hermle Clock Company in the town of Gosheim near Wuerttemberg, Germany.

Amazingly, at a time when the world economy was plummeting into the Great Depression and American clock companies were struggling to avoid bankruptcy, the new German company prospered. By the early 1930’s, the Hermle clock company was a world leader in the manufacture of quality clock movements. While other clock companies were using nineteenth century methods, Franz Hermle had an eye for efficiency and used the latest modern techniques for producing clock movements.

Like other master clockmakers, Franz Hermle passed on his clockmaking expertise to his four sons: Gebhard, Alfred, Hans and Heinrich, changing the name of the company to Franz Hermle and Sohn. Continuing the success story, Franz Hermle and his sons prospered after the devastation of Germany from World War II, at a time when many of the major American companies could not recapture their former status as world leaders in clockmaking and were soon to disappear from the scene. In addition to the manufacture of clock movements, Franz Hermle and Sohn expanded into the manufacture of clocks and clock accessories. Franz Hermle died in 1953, leaving the company to his sons.

At the current time, Franz Hermle and Sohn remains in the hands of the third generation of Hermle clockmakers. The company continues to specialize in mechanical and quartz movements and other clock parts that are manufactured in a computerized and automated precision manufacturing environment. The manufacturing is done in four locations in Germany plus an American subsidiary called Hermle Black Forest Clocks. This American facility is located in Amherst, Virginia.

Franz Hermle and Sohn is a major worldwide supplier of clock movements, exporting to over 100 countries. Their advertising points out the fact that “You may not recognize our name, but we are the source who keeps the clock industry ticking.” The company manufactures clock movements that are used in clocks worldwide producing, according to their claim, “the largest selection of mechanical and quartz movements available anywhere.”

In addition to being a world leader in the manufacture of clocks and movements, Franz Hermle and Sohn is a leading supplier of clock dials and pendulums. The company also produces decorative weight shells for modern weight-driven clocks, especially grandfather clocks.

Besides manufacturing clock movements and accessories for the world market, Franz Hermle and Sohn produces a full line of quality clocks. The current catalog shows over twenty models of sleek table clocks reminiscent of the Art Deco era. The product line includes over 25 models of the traditional style of anniversary clocks plus other table clocks with glass domes. Adding to their modern look, these glass domes are cone-shaped. The product line also includes over 50 models of mantel clocks . While most of these clocks are variations on the humpback design, the offerings include some old designs like a steeple clock and many bracket clocks.

The company also produces a line of grandfather clocks under the title of floor clocks. The clock cases are wooden with designs that range from elaborate to modern unembellished styles. There are approximately 20 models of floor clocks to choose from and all are made in Germany.

Plus there are a virtually endless number of wall clocks in the product line. With over two hundred styles to choose from, these wall clocks appeal to everyone from modern movie buffs with a taste for nostalgia for the likes of James Dean, Rock Hudson and Doris Day to those looking for traditional nineteenth century wall clock designs and everything in between.

Indeed, the Hermle Clock Company name is a modern success story in the clockmaking industry, growing and thriving in a time period in history where the former American leaders in world clockmaking were disappearing like the dinosaurs.

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