In the tranquil town of Bad Honnef on the Rhine, Hans-Peter Jäger begins to take an interest in the big old grandfather clocks in his parents’ house as a teenager. When they stop, he is the one who gets them running again. Until he graduates from high school, he does not really know what to do with his life. A coincidence, a vacant apprenticeship with a local watchmaker and a recommendation determine his future. What drives you, Hans-Peter Jäger?
I want to do my work well!
Today, he owns a store including workshops in the southern Bonn district of Bad Godesberg. As one closes behind the store door and enters the magical universe of the watchmaker’s craft, history becomes alive. Clocks from all eras, museum and family pieces, wind-up music boxes with punched metal discs as well as industrial clocks arrive here for repair from all over the world.
The workings of the universe
Clocks are a medium to understand the world, says Hans-Peter Jäger. Clockmakers have always tried to recreate the workings of the universe, for example, to mechanically imitate the movements of living beings or to represent the cosmic movements of celestial objects.
Being and Time
In the most important philosophical work of the 20th century, in Being and Time the thinker Martin Heidegger demonstrates that the question of the meaning of life does not depend only on matter in relation to the present time. Being depends on the relation to its past and its hypothetical future. Temporal processes must thus be included in human self-understanding. Accordingly, a human being can only be understood in the overall context of a temporally structured world.
There is more than enough work, says Hans-Peter Jäger. Today there are only 2600 horologist businesses left in Germany. The trend is still downward. Young people see more promise in studying than in vocational training to become master watchmakers. Many businesses are closing because they cannot find successors. This makes it all the more important to guard the centuries-old treasures of knowledge and to sustainably secure them for future generations in the UNESCO cultural heritage.