Most of the complicated movements used by Uhrenfabrik Union were supplied by Audemars Piguet, though the ebauches were made in the workshop of Louis Elisée Piguet, a prominent ebauche manufacturer from Le Brassus, the final finishing of the movements and the cases is thought to have been done in Glashütte by Union.
According to the Audemars Piguet's Archives only 35 complicated movements were sold to Uhrenfabrik Union between 1895 and 1912 and only seventeen of these ultra-complicated watches were completed between 1893 and 1914.
Uhrenfabrik Union was founded on 1 January 1893 by the Dresden Wholesaler Dürrstein & Co., proprietor Johannes Dürstein (1845-1901) and put under the technical management of Julius Bergter.
Born in Frankfurt/Main, Johannes Dürrstein commenced his career with the wholesaler Ludwig & Fries. In 1874 he and his brother Friedrich set up their own business Dürrstein & Co. in Dresden where they secured contracts with Swiss manufacturers and in their heyday turned over 65,000 pieces per annum.
A. Lange & Söhne were the recognised top quality German maker exporting over 90 of their watches especially to North and South America. As a result of the recession following the American Civil War, Lange hit hard times and was thus pleased to allow Dürrstein to take over the sole distribution of the Lange range through the German speaking countries of Europe.
Johannes recognised that during the recession years only very few of his clients would be able to buy or stock Lange watches, inspite of their much better quality, and so formed in 1879 the "Deutsche Uhrenfabrikation Glashütte" - D.U.F. - for the distribution of cheaper Swiss watches under the Glashütte trademark of a bell flanked by five stars.
The original Union watches, with trademark of a 'portal', are of high quality and on special request could be supplied with the most complicated of mechanisms including pocket chronometers, tourbillons and perpetual calendars and with a rating certificate from the Hamburg Observatory.
We are indebted to Mr. Reinhard Meis, Lange Uhren GmbH, Schaffhausen, for his research and advice on this watch and the company Uhrenfabrik Union.