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Junghans Meister Chronoscope Watch Review

Junghans Meister Chronoscope

Junghans are about as inseparable from Bauhaus as Sans Serif and surreal costume parties, and has classically leaned on the German-founded school’s aesthetics for most of their releases. And no, it’s not just their Max Bill collection, though the typography of the Bauhaus alumnus is as true to the school’s style as you can get. But across the board it’s filtered into Junghans’ aesthetics, their colours, indexes, numerals, and all the little ingredients that make up their watches.

There’s nothing wrong with having a theme of course, and the practical timelessness of Bauhaus is perfect for the kind of daily wearer you can strap on any time, any place. But that timelessness and minimalism, I feel, shoots itself in the foot. Once you’ve distilled the various aspects of timekeeping to the form-meets-function that Bauhaus demands, there aren’t that many places you can go.

Junghans Meister Chronoscope
Junghans Meister Chronoscope

The Meister Chronoscope therefore is refreshing, not because it’s particularly modern, but because rather than being timeless, it’s very much rooted in the watchmaker’s history. They’re not the only ones of course; collectors and brands both are moving from the Genta-flavoured obsession with the 1970s, to an earlier era of gorgeous dress watches and vintage elegance.

It’s an era that Junghans know well; the Meister line itself dates all the way back to the 1930s (even if the modern version first saw light in 2011) and back in 1956, they were the biggest producer of Chronometer-grade movements in the world. In short, they know how a vintage chronograph should look – and it should look like the Meister Chronoscope.

Junghans Meister Chronoscope

Funnily enough, we’ve never reviewed the Meister Chronoscope before. I’m not sure why or how it slipped through our ever-tightening net, but there you have it. It’s a shame because it’s a piece I’ve always loved, enough that we leapt at the chance to get hands-on with its newest grey version, which is a monochromatic beauty.

Where most chronographs lean on their sporty side, Junghans’ is slim, elegant and streamlined. There’s no tachymeter here, just a razor-thin bezel leaving plenty of room for the curving silvered dial, complete with matching curved indexes. It’s one of the most satisfying watches I’ve come across to just hold in your hand, as that curve is emphasised by the matching sapphire crystal for a pebble- smooth, tactile silhouette. The caseback too is dramatically curved, which helps it sit more comfortably on the wrist than its 40.7mm diameter suggests. Not that just under 41mm is particularly big for a chronograph of course.

Junghans Meister Chronoscope

Most of the time that would barely leave enough space for the chronograph subdials, but said subdials here are actually surprisingly small, especially the nine o’clock 60-second counter, I assume downsized to balance the day-date window opposite. It’s just about readable, given there aren’t many numerals and the indexes are razor-thin, but it does feel like they could have made the entire watch just a bit smaller and not lost any of the charm.

Rather than just printing the scale onto those subdials, they’re actually dimpled, bowl-shaped craters in the dial with a circular grain in contrast to the main dial’s brushed finish. Thanks to that contrast, they actually appear darker, almost beige in colour. It’s the kind of subtle juxtaposition I love to see in this kind of sleek, monochrome watch.

Junghans Meister Chronoscope

Equally sleek are the chronograph pushers, which if you see them from the side are actually oval. It makes them a little more awkward to use than more protruding pushers, but your classic mushroom pushers here would have made it feel a little too racy. Despite the archetypal stopwatch complication, the Meister Chronoscope is much more in line with a dress watch than a sports watch, so form is a touch more important than function.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the Junghans functionally. The J880.1 calibre inside is solid for this price point. It beats 28,800 times an hour and has a 48-hour power reserve, precisely in line with the Valjoux 7750 it’s riffing on. It is however better finished, with Côtes de Genève and perlage aplenty.

Junghans Meister Chronoscope
Junghans Meister Chronoscope

Honestly, there’s not much I’d change about the Junghans Meister Chronscope 27/4223.02. I’m personally not too keen on the ostrich strap; there’s certainly an old-school luxury feel to it, but a dial-matched grey suede would complete that neutral, monochrome look much better in my humble opinion.

Junghans Meister Chronoscope

Otherwise, as vintage-style dress watches go, it hits the nail on the head. The full grey look might be a bit too pared-back for some, but I love it, especially when it’s done this well. I’m glad I finally took the time to get one of these on my wrist – the downside being that I’ll be hard-pressed to find another watch quite as gloriously tactile, especially for well under £2,500.

Price and Specs:

Model: Junghans Meister Chronoscope
Ref: 27/4223.03
Case: 40.7mm diameter x 13.9mm thickness, stainless steel
Dial: Warm grey sunray
Water resistance: 50m (5 bar)
Movement: Junghans calibre J880.1, automatic, 25 jewels
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 48h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, day, date, chronograph
Strap: Light grey ostrich leather with stainless steel buckle
Price: €2,240 (approx. £1,900)

More details at Junghans.

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About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.