This year Junghans is celebrating 160 years of accessible German watchmaking, which is fantastic. It’s not only a chance to highlight their impressive heritage, but has led to some pretty special pieces, including the 160th anniversary hand-wound Meister Signatur. But it also coincides with another anniversary, one possibly more influential on their contemporary Bauhaus style: Max Bill.
Max Bill, in case you’re not up on your design movements of the 20th century, was a Swiss artist and designer, one who today is held across some of the most important museums across the world, including the MoMA in NYC and the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. He also happened to create a series of watches for Junghans precisely 60 years ago.
Indeed, Max Bill is still a huge part of modern Junghans, with the eponymous collection one of the brand’s most popular for its sleek, minimal look and less-is-more approach to timekeeping. So, amongst all their own birthday celebrations, the brand is paying homage to the designer with the Max Bill Edition Set 60.
The set is comprised of three variations on the Max Bill theme, with a nice progression between them. First of all there’s the standard, 3-hand and date version, with its signature, incredibly thin hour and minute markers and needle-pointed hands. It’s incredibly readable and deceptively simple, backed by the J800.1 automatic movement. This is pure Junghans fare.
In the second variation, the 58/4100.02, however, they’ve separated out the seconds to a subdial at 6 o’clock, leaving minutes and hours central. Here the markers at 12, 3, 6 and 9 are embellished with circles so they can be picked out easier, but otherwise the overall design is the same.
What is different is the movement. This is technically part of Junghans’ MEGA series, which use radio-controlled movements to automatically set the time wherever you are in the world. Technically that also makes it a perpetual calendar, but not really.
Finally, we come to the 27/3190.02, which completes the separation of seconds, minutes and hours with a regulator layout. Seconds are again as 6 o’clock, minutes are still central but this time hours are at 12. The hours actually use numerals which is strange for a Max Bill piece but adds a nice point of difference to the watch and makes it clear which subdial is which. As always, clarity is key.
The regulator is powered by the J800.5, which is a slightly more advanced version of the J800.1, not only splitting the timekeeping denominations but bringing the power reserve up to 42 hours from 38.
All three pieces share the same bright orange hands but otherwise show off the technically diverse range of pieces under the Max Bill moniker. All three also come together in a nicely presented set, complete with a slightly haunting illustration of the artist himself. It seems a bit pricey at €4,060 EUR – just over £3,500 – but you are getting three cool watches for that, so it’s hard to complain about. Max Bill himself certainly wouldn’t be.
Price & Specs:
Model: Junghans Max Bill Edition Set 60
Reference: 27/4108.02 (date only)
58/4100.02 (date and 60 second counter)
27/3190.02 (60 second counter and calendar)
Case/Dial: 38mm diameter x 10mm height (ref. 27/4108.02)
38mm diameter x 9mm height (ref. 58/4100.02)
38mm diameter x 10.5mm height (ref. 27/3190.02)
All models are made from stainless steel with anthracite polished PVD coating, white matt dial
Water Resistance: 30m (3 bar)
Movement: Calibre J800.1, automatic (ref. 27/4108.02)
Multi-frequency radio-controlled movement J101.66 (ref. 58/4100.02)
Calibre J800.5, automatic (ref. 27/3190.02)
Power Reserve: 38h (ref. 27/4108.02)
42h (ref. 27/3190.02)
Functions: Hour, minutes, seconds, date (ref. 27/4108.02)
Exact time display in half-second moves via SHM (Smart Hand Motion), smart time setting via the Junghans MEGA App, date with perpetual calendar (also in quartz mode) (ref. 58/4100.02)
Decentralised hours and seconds, central minutes (ref. 27/3190.02)
Strap: Light grey leather
Price/Availability: €4,060 EUR, set limited to 1060 pieces
More details at Junghans.