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8 November 2014  |  0 comment  |  Zeynep Bakir

The German watchmaker came to Karaköy!

2 Emperors, 2 Empires, 130 years ago, 1 Watchmaker.... A matter of time between two cultures...

The German watchmaker came to Karaköy!

130 years ago, Abdülhamid II sent a letter to Wilhelm II, German Emperor of the day, and wanted him to send a good watchmaker. Thus, watchmaker Johann Meyer came to the palace.

Meyer took office as the watchmaker at Dolmabahçe and Topkapı palaces and took the title of head watchmaker. For this reason, nearly all watches at these two palaces come from the German school. 

With permission of the sultan, Meyer opens a watch shop at Karaköy Tünel. A whisper is spread among Karaköy craftsmen: “The German watchmaker came…”

Unfortunately, that shop does not exist anymore, as it was demolished like many other buildings in the Adnan Menderes period. 

The current head watchmaker of the palaces is Recep Gürgen, who learned the art from third generation grandson of Meyer. His workshop is next to the funicular garage at the head of Istiklal Street… Alongside performing maintenance of palace watches, he goes to Dolmabahçe clock tower every week on the same day, at the same hour and winds it up for it to indicate the correct time for one more week. Recep Gürgen is one of the best people to talk to for those who want to make historical research about watches…

* The National Palaces archive was also utilized.

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