Junghans in Venice

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Venice Stories
Junghans, from watches to theater
Junghans theater

As agents for Italy of the German company Junghans, in 1877 the Herion brothers founded the first Italian factory of watches and precision devices on the island of Giudecca. At the beginning it was a simple workshop for the assembly of elements imported from abroad, but soon reached its own production autonomy. In the last twenty years of the nineteenth century, the island of Giudecca had become the city’s industrial area with many factories, including the Molino Stucky, distilleries and breweries, textile and manufacturing industries and shipyards.

In 1899 Arthur Junghans, one of the two heirs of the founder, joined the company and took it over in 1903. He introduced many new techniques to improve the quality of production, managing to patent 300 different inventions. These innovations prevented the financial collapse in 1886, when the production of pocket watches decreased, forcing Junghans to merge with the company Thomas Haller. In those years Junghans became the largest watch factory in the world.

Thus began the epic story of the “First Italian Watch Factory”. In the Thirties, production reached 1500 watches a day, employing about 500 employees, half men and half women, most of whom were residents on the same island.

During the Second World War the production was changed for war needs. In the fifties, with the closure of Molino Stucky and of the Arsenal, it became the most important productive reality of the city, employing about 650 people specialized in the manufacture of war devices.

The Junghans company began to experience a production and employment crisis that led to the gradual closure of the plant and the abandonment of the area occupied for over a century.

In the 2000s the recovery began with the restoration of the complex. From the anti-aircraft bunker was obtained a theater while from the other buildings (warehouses, laboratories, offices, etc..) were obtained residential complexes preserving the historical name of Junghans.

Location: Junghans Theater, Venice

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