Born 1874 in Grossgartach, Germany, Werner started his career in 1895 as a mechanic at Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft.
In 1896 he went abroad with one of the first Daimler cars as a mechanic and driver, to the Daimler representatives in Vienna. Here he entered service with Baron Alfred Springer in 1899. During the "Nice racing week" of 1901 he gained four victories with the first Mercedes, a 35 hp car. Werner effortlessly won the 244-mile road race from Nice to Salon and back to Nice at an average speed of 36.0 mph and the La Turbie hillclimb at 31.9 mph. He was bested only by steam cars, still supreme over short distances, in the speed trials on the Nice promenade. His best speed over the flying kilometer was 53.4 mph.
In 1902 he was employed as a driver and chauffeur by the American Clarence Gray Dinsmore. After the latter's death Werner was appointed chief chauffeur to Kaiser Wilhelm II.