The G.Gerlach watches are made in Poland by G.Gerlach Fundacja Rozwoju Polskiej Myśli Technicznej i Mechaniki Precyzyjnej, a foundation that was formed to revive the ingenious Polish industry, design and products.
Poland is a large manufacturing hub for cars, airplanes and other products in Europe; however very few of those products were invented and designed in this country. The newly formed institution wants to manufacture products which are entirely designed and made by Polish designers, craftsmen and engineers. This is how the G.Gerlach watches carrying ‘Made in Poland’ were born.
Patron of the foundation is G.Gerlach, a 19th century Polish industrialist, who used to produce measuring equipments and manometers of highest quality in his factory.
G.Gerlach Watches – Historical connection
Back in 1845, eighteen-year old Gustaw Gerlach reached Warsaw from Berlin, accompanied by a pastry chef Karl Emil Wedel (founder of perhaps the most well-known confectionery establishments in Poland) and Frederick Plus (creator of the well-known and highly regarded in the nineteenth century, the Factory of Soaps, Toiletries, Perfumes and Cosmetic Products).
Gustaw Gerlach was employed in the optical instruments manufacturing plant in the Krakowskie Przedmieście Street. In 1852 he took over the factory and started manufacturing product under G.Gerlach trademark.
Soon, he shifted his business to Tamka Street 38/40 and also opened a shop with his products on a prestigious street in Warsaw. Later the company opened more shops in Warsaw, Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
The factory manufactured optical and measuring instruments not only for the Russian occupied Poland, but also for the whole Russian Empire. The industrialisation of Russian Empire boosted the business and in 1882 the factory received the privilege of being able to sign their products and adverts with the Empire’s coat of arms.
Gustaw Gerlachstarts was associated with many charity works such as Warsaw Charity Association and the Evangelical Church. Gerlach installed a sundial on a tenement house located on Tamka Street, which remained a typical element of the Near-Vistula district in Warsaw up until the Warsaw Uprising in 1944.
Gustaw Gerlach retiree at the age of 60 and passed the company onto his two sons – Emil and Gustaw. Under their leadership, the product range enhanced to binoculars, typewriters, and manometers. Both of them were equally involved in charity works and also associated with Polish Theatre. This combination of entrepreneurship, talent, great technical knowledge and fantasy together with a huge social awareness made the Gerlachs very inspirational to many people in Poland.
In 1919, the Gerlachs sold the factory to their cousins – Henryk, Gustaw and Emil Ludwik Voellnagl, who extended the product line by e.g. airplane instruments and compasses. Manometers made by G.Gerlach were fitted to the PZL.37 „Łoś” and PZL.23 „Karaś” bombers as well as the PZL.11 fighter planes and also used by the Polish naval industry.
Unfortunately, the factory and residential buildings on Tamka Street were destroyed during the Warsaw uprising in 1944 and were never rebuilt. After the war, Emil Voellnagel tried to recreate the business on Próżna Street, but not succeeded due to the post-war economic and political state of the country.
G.Gerlach Watch Collections
G.Gerlach watch models are named after famous personalities, military formations, aircrafts, ships, submarines and cars of erstwhile Poland. Most of these timepieces are equipped with Sea Gull movements made in China. They also make special edition watches for horology communities and forums.