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  1. #1

    Default Vintage alarm clock, and some German corporate history...

    Greetings,

    I am a vintage wristwatch collector, but have recently, for the first time, acquired a vintage clock. It was manufactured by the well-known German company Kienzle. And while it's a tangent, the history of that company is really very interesting. For those who are interested, I’ve pieced together an overview, using various sources from around the ‘net, which can be read below the image.

    My new (old) alarm clock is from "around 1900", is chrome plated, and features the original brown paper dial. Supposedly it is functional (I haven't yet received it), but even if it isn't, I'll be delighted to use it as a decorative piece.

    Regards,

    Tony C.




    At the end of the first quarter of the nineteenth century, there was a leading clock manufacturer founded in Schwenningen, the southern part of Germany. The founder, named Johannes Schlenker, had led the company to achieve production of 2,000 pendulum and wall clocks during their foundation year in 1822.

    In 1883, a young merchant named Jakob Kienzle married into the Schlenker family, and became a partner in the company, which was renamed in SCHLENKER & KIENZLE. In 1897, Jakob Kienzle became the sole proprietor of the company. He has also introduced american-style assembly-line production. Emphasis at the time was on time-punch machines, taxi meters as well as kitchen and wall clocks.

    In the early 20th century, the decline in the demand of pocket watches had created an opportunity for Kienzle to think seriously about the launch of wristwatch production. With the good foundation in clock manufacturing, Kienzle had successfully reached the annual production of watches and movements in excess of 2 million pieces by 1908. Two years later, they introduced the first automotive clocks to the world market. Rolls-Royce was among its early clientele, and during 1950's and '60s, the vast majority of the clocks found in German and other European automobiles – including Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, Jaguar, Opel, Renault and Volvo – were made by Kienzle.

    Also in the ‘50's and ‘60's, the first parking meters appeared on the streets of Europe, and they were almost exclusively made by Kienzle. In the early '60's, Kienzle attempted to penetrate the market for higher-quality mechanical wristwatches as well. From a 2006 issue of Watch Time:

    “The Superia Chronometer, a highly pre-cise, hand-wound chronometer containing a refined version of Caliber 081/21, was launched in the winter of 1962. This 11-ligne caliber had 21 jewels, a center seconds hand, olive-cut jewel holes, elastically mounted end stones, polished heads on its screws, and a polished lever and escape wheel. Its movement, which was imported from Switzerland, was a refined version of the ETA 2391. Approximately 2,500 chronometer-certified Superia Chronometer watches were manufactured during a four-year period; the less exclusive Superia model was sold without chronometer certification.“

    Although the whole European watch market was severely affected by the “Quartz Crisis” in the early 1970’s, especially Switzerland and Germany, Kienzle chose to face it in a positive way by seeking new direction of production. In 1972, they developed the first solar-powered timepiece – the Heliomat, battery-powered timepieces, and – of course – quartz watches. With the successful strategy of, in a sense, riding the “Quartz Crisis” wave, Kienzle became the biggest wristwatch manufacturer in Germany by 1974. In 1987, they exported 300 million pieces worldwide! During that period, Kienzle also got involved with early computers (together with the IT-pioneer Nixdorf), and diversified into supplying components for the car industry.

    By 1997 Kienzle had produced the first watch with the claim to be waterproof to 1200 atm, accomplished by filling the case with silicone oil. Also in 1997, the company was taken over by the Highway Holdings Group of Hong Kong, and production was moved to China.

    In 2002, an international consortium behind the newly founded Kienzle AG in Hamburg took over all of Kienzle sales and marketing activities, and in 2006 the entire company.

  2. #2
    Forums Administrator harold bain's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage alarm clock, and some German corporate history... (RE: Tony C.)

    Hi, Tony. Welcome to the message board. Great bio of Kienzle.
    Please post any credits that might be due for your sources of information.
    harold bain, Member ch 33
    "If it won't "tick",
    let me "tock" to it"

  3. #3

    Default Re: Vintage alarm clock, and some German corporate history... (RE: harold bain)

    Greetings Tony --

    The "Luxus" also shows up, below, in the Kienzle 1929/30 Katalog that is available on CD in the Tang series (www.any400day.com). The section shown is courtesy of Victor.

    Regards,
    Zep
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Kienzle 1929-30 Cat Cover.gif   Kienzle 1929-30 "Luxus".jpg  

  4. #4

    Default Re: Vintage alarm clock, and some German corporate history... (RE: zepernick)

    Hi Zep,

    Thanks very much for that! What a treat – I'll have to order the CD. And since it was featured in that catalogue, it's doubtful that it was being manufactured 30 years earlier. The exact date of manufacture isn't important to me; I bought it (at auction) because I find it to be a really attractive decorative piece. Having said that, though, I am happy to learn whatever I can about it.

    Harold,

    Some of the information I sourced from "official" Kienzle sources, while other bits and pieces were from various posts on the topic. I did not, other than the Watch Time credit, think to keep track of the them. Sorry about that.

    Regards,

    Tony C.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Vintage alarm clock, and some German corporate history... (RE: Tony C.)

    hi clock-lovers,

    some weeks ago i was tiding up my fathers storage and found a Kienzle clock. It's the same style like "Luxus". But the most interesting thing is a note: AUKŠČIAUSIOS RŪŠIES In Lithuanian it means The highest class.
    I was looking for information about this clock everythere, but unsuccesfully....
    can you help me?..........


  6. #6
    Forums Administrator harold bain's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vintage alarm clock, and some German corporate history... (RE: Akvile)

    Hi, Akville, welcome to the message board. I don't think you will find any better information than what was posted by Zep, from a 1929/30 catalogue.
    harold bain, Member ch 33
    "If it won't "tick",
    let me "tock" to it"

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Vintage alarm clock, and some German corporate history... (RE: harold bain)

    Thanks for trying to help me...
    I was thinking about this catalog....
    I am not collector... I have only 3 clocks and some clocks in pieces... Two of them i've already indentified...
    http://www.antiqueclockspriceguide.c...oan/404153.jpg

    and

    http://www.antiqueclockspriceguide.c...mitt11/131.jpg

    and this Kienzle is the last..... I remember this clock from my childhood, and especially allarm I know, that my father liked this clock very much...
    So now i have a little plan how to know something new...
    Help is welcome

    some questions...
    1. I saw a lot of pictures of different kienzle clocks. And i found that in different era (may i say so?) the trademark of Kienzle is different... From when this trademark is used?

    2. I have read, that many manufacturers were making clock according to that time fashion. So I have seen a lot of pictures, even tried google translator from chinese and i found that this shape was often used around 1912-1935... Am I right?

    3. Looking to the photo Kienzle Luxus, i find out the differences in clock-face... The style of numbers, hour hand, etc.... I have seen pictures of alarm clock made in about 1900 with similar numbers and hour hands... Maybe the style of clock-face has no difference?

    4. one lithuanian antique clock wright said to me, that some lithuanian clock craftmen were using german manufacturers' made parts and their own clockfaces... Maybe he was right? but here i have a dilemma... not looking to hour hands, the numbers on clockface is similar like on some german kienzle clocks... maybe they are not the same? only look like?..... Lithuanian market is and was too small to make lithuanian clock faces in kienzle factory..... and why i cant find anything about the note ERCES

    5. is this possible, that my father, being really good craftman in many ranges, foud some old clock pieces and made a clock using these pieces?.... (the mechanism of this clock is really kienzle).

    Sorry for my English... I don't use it very often....

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