Occasionally, I receive private email from readers.
One reader asked why I dated the clock to 1950
I received a couple such emails regarding my Kienzle World Time clock and it prompted me to dig a little deeper into the origin of this unique clock.
The clock is substantial, measuring 13 and 3/4″ high, 10″ wide 2 and 1/2″ deep. It is certainly a singular work of elegance, style and a genuine stand-out in any room.
One reader asked why I dated the clock to 1950.
I referred the reader to this article. The article suggested that the mechanical version of the World Time was introduced the late thirties. It had a healthy production run and there were several variations. Mine was “Made in Germany” (West Germany was created in 1949) and might have been manufactured on or before 1949 which would not have prevented it from selling in the 50s. For most of the ones advertised on Ebay, 1950 appears to be the most commonly cited year of manufacture though there are no specific markings regarding date of manufacture on my clock.
It was designed in 1939 and at least one clock was made that year
However, here is some additional information which suggests that although it was designed in 1939 at least one clock was made that year though it did not go into full production until much later.
A birthday present for an infamous leader of Germany
The first Kienzle World Time clock was presented to Adolf Hitler on his 50th birthday in 1939 by the government of Würthemberg. The classical design with the world map in the “Mercator” (cylindrical map projection) style and the moving narrow scale with the time in the denoted cities came from the, at that time, Heinrich Johannes Möller, a famous designer who was working for Kienzle from 1931 onward til 1970. Möller was hired at age 27 and became Kienzle’s principle designer. The original clock had a bulky “foot” or base and was decorated with swastika patterns on the edge. After the war, the decoration was altered, the base became smaller but the general layout of the dial was preserved through all permutations of the clock, from the early mechanical versions to the electro-mechanical version and finally the quartz movements in the 80s. A curious feature of the clock is that it shows Germany to be the centre of the world.
The World Time clock turned out to be a long standing model and was available to purchase up until the 1996 Kienzle bankruptcy. During the period that the World Time Clock was introduced (1939) Kienzle had more than 6500 employees and a production rate of 5 million clocks.
Through the later 50s and 60s Kienzle clocks lost their stylistic prominence and followed then current (international) stylistic influences but Heinrich Johannes Möller was a significant influence not only on the design of Kienzle clocks but in the clock world in general.