Tucked away at the edge of the Black Forest, in the south-west corner of Germany, the small city of Pforzheim boasts a reputation for craftsmanship that belies its modest size. Since the mid-18th Century Pforzheim has fostered the talents of Germany’s finest jewellers and watchmakers, their penchant for precious metals earning Pforzheim the affectionate nickname of "Goldstadt" – the Golden City. Drawing on this rich history, still operating from the city in which it was founded, Otto Hutt brings unparalleled German design and expertise to every one of their beautifully crafted pens. This year, as they celebrate their 100th anniversary, we’ve been getting to grips with their story over the past century, and learning how it influences their products today.
The company was founded by Karl Hutt in 1920, and handed down to his son Otto Hutt in the 1960s. A keen enthusiast of the emergent Bauhaus design movement, Hutt sought to build upon the traditions of his home city, utilising bold new modernist principles to create high-end products that wouldn’t compromise on either aesthetics or functionality. These values are upheld even today, with Otto Hutt producing some of the finest pens (and pencils!) to come out of Germany.
“As a traditional company,” writes managing director Marco Frei, “we are aware of our roots but equally open to innovation.” This fusion of traditional techniques with contemporary style and technology can be found at the heart of everything Otto Hutt creates. For example, the legacy of Pforzheim is present in their use of guilloché, a 17th Century engraving technique developed by jewellers to create intricate patterns in their work. If you’ve ever had the fortune to inspect a Faberge egg you’ll know it well!
Today, this same technique – now recognised on the UNESCO World Heritage list – is employed by Otto Hutt for the finishing of the precious metals used in their pens, and is made possible thanks to their own self-developed CNC-controlled jewelling machines. It involves engraving very fine lines at close distances, resulting in delicate yet striking repetitive patterns. Have a look at the design04; where a varying guilloche patterns can be seen across the range.
Though they continue to develop cutting-edge technologies, we hand-writing aficionados know that nothing can come close to the personal, human touch. Thankfully, Otto Hutt knows this too: from the company’s inception it has been a family business with family values, its leadership philosophy focused on providing fair wages and good working conditions for every one of its highly-valued employees. Both Karl and Otto Hutt stood behind these principles for decades; today, with siblings Marco Frei and Nicole Klingel at the helm, the company continues to do so.
Otto Hutt remains indebted to the people whose expertise makes the delicate craftsmanship of their pens possible. Each and every pen, from the classic lightweight style of the design01 to the sleek lacquered finished of the design06, is inspected and tested by hand to ensure perfect quality, and individually engraved with a unique serial number to reflect each pen’s value as a singular piece of art. To signify their exceptional build, Otto Hutt products bear the inscription: Made in Germany – a protected and highly prestigious marker from the German Federal Association for Watches and Jewellery which exemplifies commitment to utmost precision and sustainability in manufacturing. In addition, each pen you purchase is protected with a 10-year warranty to guarantee premium quality long into the future.
From its humble beginnings at the height of the modernist period to today, Otto Hutt has earned its reputation for well-crafted, stylish and durable writing instruments. This year they are commemorating the centenary with the spectacular new designC, a celebration of the company’s past, present, and exciting future. Be sure not to miss out on this unique piece of Otto Hutt history, as they will be strictly limited to a run of only 500 worldwide. Watch this space.