Wednesday, June 24, 2009


It’s 1975. Ulli is curled up in the trunk of her boyfriend’s Renault, escaping from communist East Germany; escaping to freedom in West Berlin.

Despite the drone of the engine still she can hear the tick tick tick of the watch which Klaus gave her as he convinced her to come home with him to West Berlin, “Ulli, it’s time to be free!”

Her thoughts drift back to her childhood; a time when she would sit quietly in her Dad’s workshop, watching him work the metal and she, holding his big pocket watch, comparing her sense of passing time with what the watch displayed. A game she plays again, huddled for so long in the dark trunk, trying to ignore her heartbreak over leaving her family, her friends and her home, trying to ignore the pervasive terror of being caught and losing it all. But her yearning for a life without restrictions was strong.

Ulli would never again live where limitless travel was a pipe-dream and where her curiosity was blunted at every turn. In East Germany she had no chance to appreciate artworks by Dali or other modern artists, where it was impossible to buy rock ‘n’ roll music and she had no chance to buy blue jeans. Jeans were the symbol of rebellion and freedom. But, Ulli had luck. After three grueling hours in the cramped darkness, she emerged filled with a mixture of jubilation and sorrow.

Many years later, Ulli became a successful modern artist in Europe. Once she moved to the USA, she immediately bought a pair of real blue jeans in a Levi Strauss store. Most recently she founded Ulli Kampelmann Timepieces. (

Her newest collection is homage to these early hard times. She calls it her Jeans Watch collection. The highlight of this collection is a Jeans Pocket Watch sold in combination with a stylish pair of blue jeans of her own design. Be a part of it. Come visit with Ulli at Enjoy!