Judith Borowski has been with NOMOS Glashütte for many years and is responsible for design and branding at the watchmaking company. She has also just been voted “Woman of the Year.” Why is that? Our CBO explains in an interview here.
Congratulations, Ms. Borowski, on your “Woman of the Year” award! How did it come about?
Judith Borowski: I might be “Woman of the Year” but I couldn’t have done it without my colleagues. After all, it is the NOMOS watchmakers who are especially deserving of this distinction—as well as the engineers, toolmakers, and design engineers—in Glashütte. Together they build our great watches and make our company what it is. They represent the brand of NOMOS Glashütte.
What about you?
J.B.: I do my part to ensure that the watches are beautiful and that the world finds out about them. It may be the smallest aspect of what we do, but, here as well, I work with so many talented people. Of course, I am delighted about this award both for our brand and for myself personally—even though I’m blushing after receiving such a huge honor.
Who do you have to thank for giving you this award?
J.B.: Sitting on the jury of this annually-awarded prize was the Horizont editor-in-chief Dr. Uwe Vorkötter, the heads of the “Zeit online” and “Spiegel” editorial departments, as well as the heads of the publishing house Gruner + Jahr and the central association of German advertising agencies.
So why NOMOS Glashütte and why you—when there are so many great brands and great women working for them?
J.B.: Yes, that’s a great question. And that’s why we were so surprised. Especially because we had no idea we were even nominated! But the jury recognized, above all, that NOMOS has demonstrated a clear stance as a brand over many years, including “taking real steps against populism.”
Is having a stance related to marketing?
J.B.: No. We just thought—and still think—that it is important to stand up for the values we believe in. Why? NOMOS Glashütte was founded in 1990. Democracy and freedom are what made our company possible. Without the Fall of the Berlin Wall, which was first fought for by the people of Saxony in 1989, we wouldn’t exist. Now, democracy needs a helping hand from every one of us.
So should all companies be political?
J.B: No, not in the sense of party politics. But in the sense that they too should stand for values, yes! Tolerance, acceptance, freedom: They all make our lives worth living. I don’t like the idea of hiding. German history has taught us this—and it is still true today: As soon as it begins, we need to resist. In particular here, unfortunately, where we are in some parts of eastern Germany. People should, I think, demand that company leaders show more courage. There are three of us in the boardroom of this company—Roland Schwertner, Uwe Ahrendt, and I. We all agreed that we want to work in a free, accepting environment. Today, and the future too. My two business partners may not have received an award for their work, but they are both as deserving of this one as least as much as I am.
What is NOMOS Glashütte doing exactly?
J.B.: It might sound unoriginal: We think it’s important to talk more with each other—colleagues, neighbors, politicians, everyone. That’s why we have spoken with the press whenever we were asked to, we have met with politicians from right across the spectrum and invited them to us too, we have set up workshops for our employees. These are spaces for concerns, grievances, questions. And the opportunity to let the polemics of extremists to come out in the open: What’s really behind all these clichés and stereotypes?
These workshops are of course voluntary, and more importantly they take place during working hours. Nobody must attend. But many of our roughly 300 employees have taken part already, and we’ve received lots of positive feedback. That’s a start.
Actually, for us, it’s not as much about politics, but more social engagement—for example, our cooperation with Doctors Without Borders: For years now we have made watches for the Nobel-prizewinning organization, to help bring better times to many people.
Were there other reasons the jury chose you?
J.B.: Of course—our main job is to make good watches. And the jury also recognized this: They noted, for example, our high production depth, the clear positioning of the brand, and how we consistently combine handcraft, quality, and elegance with a product that lasts a lifetime, with no frills.
Another reason we were selected was that we promote Glashütte, a place of heritage and tradition, in the east of Germany. Because the finest mechanical watches have been built here for 175 years. And as it always will be at NOMOS Glashütte: The watchmakers of Glashütte, undoubtedly the best in their field, are our stars. We couldn’t achieve anything without them.
PUBLICATION: February 2020
TEXT: NOMOS Glashütte
IMAGES: 1. NOMOS Glashütte/Anatol Kotte, 2. NOMOS Glashütte, 3. NOMOS Glashütte