(adapted and updated from the German original published in September 2018)
As the year draws to a close, we would like to inform our friends abroad about an issue we have faced in recent months that has attracted attention—and criticism—in Germany. We manufacture our mechanical timepieces in Glashütte, in the state of Saxony in eastern Germany. Our workshops are not far from Chemnitz, which was the site of far- right protests and open attacks on refugees that erupted in late August of this year.
As an independent manufacturer, it is not our job to set a political agenda. But our values do not permit us to step aside and watch the process of radicalization that has gained a foothold in our region and our home. We condemn all forms of hate and violence—in no uncertain terms. We believe in our democracy and we are ready to defend its principles both in word and deed.
Given these events and guided by our principles, we decided to offer workshops to our employees, the first of which was held on October 23, 2018. In these day-long “Open Saxony” workshops, external experts from the “Courage” organization discuss forms of discrimination, provide factual information on immigration, and role-play scenarios for confronting people with opinions that differ from their own—in whatever form.
Dealing with extremists can be unsettling, we want to arm our employees with information so that—if they wish—they feel at least well-prepared to speak up (or out) and make a difference. Some people in our country have accused NOMOS Glashütte of political indoctrination that harks back to the Stasi era. Nothing could be further from the truth. All of our workshops are completely voluntary and in no way supervised by management. Our primary goal is to give our employee tools to evaluate facts and engage in open, meaningful, and respectful debate.
We believe it is our common duty to defend the democracy which our fellow citizens in Saxony (and elsewhere) fought so hard to achieve in 1989. Without the German reunification, without freedom and democracy, Glashütte would not be the same town that we know and love, nor would it be possible to manufacture our fine mechanical watches as we do here today.
Furthermore, we stand in solidarity with our employees—our colleagues—whom many on the far right do not accept for any number of reasons. We say no matter what your skin color, your sexual orientation, your age, or your religious affiliation may be, you are all welcome here.
NOMOS Glashütte is neither to the right or left of the political spectrum; but we do stand for democracy, a global mindset, and tolerance. Racism and intolerance have no place in our company.