Stahl 1. How to design a watch – learning from the German artist and musician, Herbert Grönemeyer

Stahl 1 with a bottle green face and black leather strap

A dream came true for Herbert Grönemeyer, when he visited the Wempe shop on Kurfürstendamm in Berlin a couple of years ago and disclosed his fascination for watches and design.

Being open-minded, the store manager transferred his wish to the Wempe headquarter. A collaboration was born and an assembly of Mr.Grönemeyer’s aesthetics and the business know how of the watch manufacture Wempe Glashütte I/SA was about to begin.

Stay in the same colour black but mix different materials, horn, leather, black steel and silk

The process was the most fun, what was possible and how did Mr. Grönemeyer’s very precise ideas about how he wanted his watch to look combined with the philosophy of Wempe Glashütte.

We met Mr. Grönemeyer for the launch of the STAHL 1 watch in Hamburg this month and learned a lot about what makes a perfect watch function. All profits are beeing donated to the association “Ärzte ohne Grenzen” (“Médecins Sans Frontière”).


  1. A rectangular watch for man is very unique, there are not many on the market. But I was certain that I wanted to design a rectangular shape and the dial had to be in racing green, just like some vintage cars.
  2. When designing a watch, the shape of the hand and the wrist are the key factors. My hand is rather square and round watches get lost on my wrist,a rectangular shape compliments my hand better.
    The focus on watch design is the anatomy of your hand. Mr Herbert Grönemeyer wearing Stahl 1.


  3. The Wempe logo was adjusted into a more modern, almost industrial looking typography that was necessary to make the dial most harmoniously. Also, the indexes needed to be strong. There is not much space to create a strong visual and emotion on a watch dial and not much can be added to give a watch a certain character.
  4. I wanted an industrial looking watch. From where I come from, the Ruhrgebiet, I find lots of beauty in industrial buildings, harbours, factories and warehouses. Steel for me is a beautiful material, I started my watch collection with mostly steel watches. When I was a child I loved the noise of steelmaking by the workers in the Krupp factories close to whereI grew up in the Ruhrgebiet.
  5. I always had this idea of designing a watch. But it was only an idea and I knew, one day I will get the chance to realise my dream.
  6. I wanted the watch to look like a woman in a turtleneck. The same elegance, simplicity and strength was important for me. My mother always wore a big watch, which looked rather like a men’s watch, maybe that was always my association when it comes to a men’s watch worn by a women.
    The way I like to combine a masculine watch with a silk cut dress
  7. I think it is fascinating how much time it takes to design a watch in a generation where most people do not have time. This was so fascinating about the Wempe Sternwarte at the Glashütte. The watchmakers worked very precise, concentrated and quiet to build a watch, almost a very luxurious situation in our era.
  8. The meaning of time to me is to let go of time, by giving up things, do less and be able to delegate. Basically, it is about getting loose and well self-managed.

This story was made possible with the generous support of GERHARD D. WEMPE KG