Germany is famous for its contemporary factories, innovative engineering and outstanding quality.
has been long in the making
'Made in Germany' is one of the most recognised and valued labels worldwide. People associate it with quality and reliability – it is an image that has been long in development. Interestingly, these days German-made goods are especially valued in China and USA.
Considering that most of the things around us are made in Asia, how many German-made products could you name? If not many, this guide might surprise you.
Germany makes a variety of pens to match any budget and needs.
Lamy and Online are producing large quantities of main consumer-orientated products. Of course, they are not the only ones focused on quality and design, but not many of their competitors can boast about such cult following.
Pelikan, Porche Design are appreciated by people who like to showcase their status. A luxury brand that stands for German-made quality is one of the ways to do it. As a present I recommend Pelikan M120 Iconic Blue (pictured) or Green Pelikan Souvenir – these are widely recognised classics.
Kaweco Classic Sport, on the other hand, stands out because of its unique signature shape. Back in time, the pen was advertised to the well-dressed society, and especially sportsmen were targeted, hence the name Sport.
Out of more than 20 camera makers just a few decades ago, Leica is one of the few that is thriving to this day. It is very much respected for its technical capabilities, quality and even design. You cannot miss this simplistic yet statement-making shape. Its lenses also stand out because they are much smaller than the equivalents from other makers.
Other camera makers seem to concentrate on more niche products:
Zeiss and Voigtlander’s names are recognised by most photographers for their exceptional quality lenses in demand worldwide. It is interesting to see that Zeiss even developed a lens for an iPhone (pictured).
Mobotix is making very high tech security cameras with night and thermal vision, among other features. While Rollei is specialising in making action cameras for outdoors.
We all heard German names producing white goods: Siemens, Miele, Bosch etc. They are still German-based companies with great engineering teams but note that some ranges do get made elsewhere. Hence keep an eye on those labels when buying your next microwave.
Talking of some less known companies, I could point out Ritter. A small company is making all of its products in Germany. It includes meat cutters, coffee machines, toasters and eco-friendly kettles.
From my personal experience, I was recently surprised by a newly acquired Miele hoover. It is exceptionally quiet and has the HEPA filters as a standard. Many families with small kids and anyone with a sensitive respiratory system really appreciate this feature.
It can be tricky to find German-made headphones as major electronic makers are switching to globally placed suppliers. However, German engineers continue to develop and innovate great products.
For those in need, there are still a several headphones and many loudspeaker options to choose from:
Sennheiser's German factory still makes high-end HD 800 headphones and various microphones and in-ear monitoring systems.
If you are looking for a truly fine quality loudspeakers or amplifiers, then visit Burmester. It is appreciated by true music buffs worldwide, especially by the ones with the money – as it does not come cheap.
GermanMAESTRO stands out from the rest because all of its products, including a variety of headphones, speakers and in-car systems are made in Germany. It focuses on quality by relying on handcraft and prioritising 'quality over profit'.
Just like in Switzerland, the majority of German watches are made in the specialised towns: Pforzheim and Glashütte; which are known for its watchmaking since 19th century.
While Glashütte Original and NOMOS Glashütte are high to mid-range watch brands named after the town where they are made. Privately owned Laco stands out for its unique aged design that creates a vintage look from 70 years ago.
UTS Munchen, on the other hand, assembles and tests indestructible watches for extremely challenging environments. While A. Lange & Sohne is known for its luxury watches competing with the likes of Patek Philipe and Vacheron.
If I had to pick my personal favourite, however, it would be the German invention – single-handed watches. Botta, the creator of this design concept, started his own watch company Botta Designs.
There are many bicycle manufacturers in Germany. I suggest visiting For Cyclist Guide to see them all. But, to mention I few I like Bernds, which stands out for their unusual bikes – folding bikes, tandem folding bicycles and cute tricycles; and Kalhoff for their ever increasing electric bike range.
There is even longer list of companies manufacturing bicycle accessories in Germany. Vaude makes a wide range of quality panniers and cycling clothes, ABUS makes specialised bicycle locks, while SON Dynamo makes a wide range of dynamos and lights. The list is endless, to be honest.
For German bicycle parts, let me highlight Bike Ahead Composites are famous for its innovative carbon technology to produce carbon wheels, handlebars and other parts. And Taylor Wheels which has a factory in Germany making custom orders.
There are more detailed lists and descriptions on the cycling section of this site.
Germany is lucky to have a high-quality metal ore located in Solinger, a place where most of the blade makers (think swords, knives and even scissors) are based.
Good quality steel allows for a longer-lasting blade, less corrosion and reliability of the knife. Use of name “Solinger” is legally protected as a quality mark, hence watch out for this name when choosing your next knives set.
From the big players, you probably know Zwilling J. A. Henckels, a almost 300 years old company; or DOVO Solingen is specialising in scissors, razors and pedicure tools; or Böker that makes everything with a blade.
Of course, Germany is famous for its cars. It produces around six million of them every year, with a similar number made overseas by German brands.
Volkswagen is the biggest car manufacturer in the world if counting its Audi and Porsche subsidiaries. BMW is celebrated for its more sporty cars, but not many know that it also owns Mini and Rover (made in Britain).
Mercedes-Benz is no longer just an engineering and manufacturing company, it now also a status symbol. If you own one of these you automatically gain respect and brownie points from the peers who appreciate luxury.
But let's talk about the newcomer also – Tesla. This amazing car company is also going to make cars in Germany. The building of their new factory in Grünheide, near Berlin started in 2019.
Feeling inspired? Looking for more stories about original things made in Europe? Discover other European countries too.
Italy also makes a number of interesting things, waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.
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It is not just about the German innovation or engineering, but measuring time in a different way.
We spent years searching the web, artisan shops and visiting variety of makers in Europe. You welcome.