Despite placing themselves at the more accessible end of watchmaking, Junghans has a heritage on par with some of the big Swiss maisons. That might surprise you, given not just their price range but their use of quartz and radio-controlled movements, but it’s true, a point the Black Forest brand is hammering home with their anniversary edition, the Meister Signatur Handaufzug Edition 160.
The name says a lot about the watch, if you run it through a quick Google translate. The signature on the dial is an exact replica of original Junghans timepieces from the 1860s, complete with a hand-wound movement in a limited edition of 160. That’s German efficiency in a name.
What it doesn’t tell you however is perhaps what’s most special about this watch, and a reason more than an anniversary tie-in why it’s limited: the movement.
This isn’t just any old hand-wound movement, it’s a proper vintage Junghans calibre that’s been disassembled, re-finished with rose gold plating aplenty and reassembled. And it’s beautiful, as a quick glance at the caseback illustrates. The J620 calibre also has an impressive power reserve for its age at 45 hours.
The movement has been paired with a fittingly historic look to the watch, with a rose gold case that veers more towards yellow than your traditional reddish, coppery colour. It’s paired with a matte silver-plated dial with a dot minute track, applied case-matched baton indexes and lovely dauphine hands. It’s pure classicism.
That does mean it lacks the spaceship case profile that Junghans has embraced over the past few years, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s better for it. It’s simple, beautiful and, finished on a black leather strap, a perfect throwback to a history that the German watchmaker is quite rightly shouting about this year.
It’s also priced at €8,160 EUR (just over £7,000), which for a solid gold watch with a historical movement is not bad. Not bad at all. When all 160 pieces have gone, don’t expect a re-edition any time soon; these movements aren’t exactly common. So if you’re a historian of German horology – or just love a well-priced, beautifully classical timepiece – you’ll want to get in quick.
Price & Specs:
Model: Junghans Meister Signatur Handaufzug Edition 160
Case/Dial: 39mm diameter x 10.3mm height, 18k rose-gold, matt silver-plated
Water Resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: Calibre J620, automatic
Power Reserve: 45h
Functions: Hour, minutes, seconds
Strap: Black leather
Price/Availability: €8,160 (just over £7,000)
More details at Junghans.