Timekeeping in the former East Germany

Ostalgie – Ruhla Watches of the former East Germany (DDR)

Ruhla watches and clocks made in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) from 1952 to 1991.

For a short history of Ruhla watches, see Short History of Ruhla Watches and Gebrüder Thiel GbmH

Updated May 2017 – Ruhla in the life of East German Citizens 3

Updated March 2017 – Watches 12 and added Watches 13

Updated November 2016 –Watches 12

Added August 2016  – Watches 12 and Updated Ruhla in the life of East German Citizens 3

Updated May 2016 – Watches 11 and Pocket and Stop Watches

 

Continue to next page of photos

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16 responses

  1. Aitor

    Hello,

    I have two questions about this watch.

    1) Ruhla still makes watches?

    2) I have a Ruhla Digital Jump hour. (Blue). When this watch stopped making?

    Thanks

    December 14, 2010 at 10:51 am

    • Hello Aitor,

      Thank you for visiting my Ruhla collection website. In answer to your questions;

      1) Ruhla does still make watches under the name Gardé Ruhla. Their website is http://www.garde.de/

      2) This is difficult to answer with absolute certainty but Soviet watchmakers started making LCD quartz digital watches from about 1974. Watch production in East Germany followed what was happening in the USSR and so this jump hour watch probably ceased production in the mid 1970s.

      Regards,

      OstalgieRuhla

      December 14, 2010 at 4:58 pm

  2. Aitor

    Thank you very much for the information.

    Regards

    Aitor

    December 15, 2010 at 11:37 am

  3. Sue

    Thank you for your very informative Ruhla site. I have just bought (March 2011) a very fine Ruhla Gardé radio controlled watch, I found your information very rewarding.

    April 2, 2011 at 11:37 am

    • Thank you for your kind comments. Enjoy wearing your Ruhla watch!

      April 2, 2011 at 4:21 pm

  4. sukie

    Lovely site! Great watches too I had (have but its badly broken) a blue faced rhula with date window for my 4th birthday – a long time ago! Loved it! Do you know anyone who deals in old ones – Id love to find a replacement.

    June 15, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    • Hello Sukie,

      Thank you for your kind comments. The best place to pick up a Ruhla watch is Ebay. Obviously, as the watches were produced in East Germany, the best ones can be found on Ebay.de. Prices vary but have recently increased slightly as awareness of Ruhla watches has also increased.

      Ruhla movements are very simple and often all you need to do is have the movement serviced (cleaned and oiled) and they will happily tick for many years yet.

      I hope you find a replacement.

      Regards
      Sekondtime

      June 15, 2011 at 6:14 pm

  5. Nick U

    Love the website- great resource. I’m reallly keen on the Ruhla children’s watches. Saw this one on ebay. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/261003265258?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649#ht_500wt_922

    But the hands don’t look right to me – do you think they are replacement?

    April 16, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    • Hello Nicholas,

      Thank you for your kind comments about the website.

      Yes you are correct, these are replacement hands on this watch. These cat Wackelaugen (waggle eyes) watches come up for sale fairly frequently and prices vary. You should be able to find a more authentic one in time.

      Regards,

      Sekondtime

      April 16, 2012 at 8:00 pm

  6. Russell

    Hello,

    Did Ruhla ever use radium on their watches? I have a metal Ruhla pocket watch from the 50’s (it says Made in Germany on the dial), and was wondering if the glowing paint on the dial is radium?

    Thanks.

    February 28, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    • Hello,

      Like most watch manufacturers, radium was used on earlier Ruhla watches. During the 1950s many manufacturers started to use other types of luminous paint. The hazards of radium lume can be found by googling or searching on watch forums. If the lume has crumbled or flaked, do not open the watch case.

      Sekondtime

      March 2, 2014 at 12:23 pm

      • Russell

        Thanks for the reply. The watch I have is very similar to this one: https://ostalgieruhla.wordpress.com/ruhla-pocket-and-stop-watches/imgp0004/

        Does the paint on the numbers on this watch contain radium?

        Thanks.

        March 2, 2014 at 4:58 pm

      • It is hard to be definite as there does not appear to be any literature to say one way or another. West Germany banned the use of radium in 1960 and since Ruhla sold its products in West Germany, I would expect them to have ceased using radium but without any documentation, it is difficult to be certain. Certainly by the 1970s, I would doubt that any manufacturer used radium. Although it was used for military purposes by some countries for dials in aircraft.

        Sorry that I cannot be more precise. Without further information, I would urge caution.

        March 4, 2014 at 8:42 am

  7. Nigel

    Hello. I don’t know if it’s appropriate to leave this comment here, so forgive me if it’s not. I am wondering if you’ve ever seen this watch before: https://twitter.com/gulsonroad/status/839935693933551616 I am having trouble finding any information about it. It belonged to my grandfather. Thanks!

    March 9, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    • Hello Nigel,

      This pocket watch is one of the early Thiel Brothers Ruhla made watches depicting the Blacksmith. The movement is a Thiel Fearless Automaton and dates from the 1890s. It features a moving arm or leg of the character on the dial. These pocket watches were sold in Germany but also in the United Kingdom and The United States.

      The blacksmith is one of the more common variations of the automaton pocket watches. There were also the cyclist, the miner, the cobbler and the tailor.

      March 10, 2017 at 7:41 pm

      • Nigel

        Thank you SO MUCH for this info!

        March 10, 2017 at 9:46 pm

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