Junghans, originally known as “Junghans and Tobler” is a German company specialising in watches and clocks since 1861.
They started developing wristwatches back in 1927 and were crowned the biggest clockmaker in 1903 boasting sales of 3 million watches every year.
Junghans pride themselves on their deliberately subtle classic design and do this through close attention to detail and keenness for innovation.
They don’t make smartwatches, but they certainly did make huge strides using the technology of their era.
In comparison to the massive brands on the market, Junghans catalogue is modest and small. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular. What you’re about to read is a wonderful history lesson of a classic watchmaker that has stayed true to its roots.
The Meister appeared in the 30s as a mechanical watch. They hit a peak between the 50s and 60s. During this time they made chronometers and very quickly became known as the biggest producer on earth.
Within the Meister range, there are a lot of models to pick from. The one with the most sales is the Classic ($1,695 / £1,380.00). Released back in the 30s with the original timepieces, this is a 38mm watch comes in stainless steel in four different colours.
The next in the range is the Mega ($1,039 / £990). This is the more evolved version of the range. This collected relies on radio movement and is therefore incredibly accurate. The Mega has an app where you can sync your iPhone or Android smartphone you can use to sync the time when there’s no radio reception.
The Max Bill Auto 100 Jahre Bauhaus came out in celebration of Bauhaus’ 100 year birthday. There’s a concrete-grey strap and silver dial to represent the Bauhaus Dessau building. Simplistic, but beautiful.
There’s a bold red date window sitting at the 3 position. It has red markers for the minutes and hours. On the flip side, there’s a window that gives you access to the movements inside the watch.
You can still purchase a Bill today. The design has remained untouched. You can still purchase a timepiece with a simple dial, rounded numerals and a dome of glass atop of the face.
You can get a Bill for men or women as they come in different sizes. Either way, you’ll get clean lines and clear numerals.
$2,560 / £2,140
Back in the busy 1930s (busy for Junghans, at least), Junghans was producing clocks that sat on both airships and planes. Cut to 20 years later and they released the Bundeswehr Chronograph. This was a watch specifically designed for pilots. The most special feature being the dodecagonal bezel. Since the first Master Pilot was sold, this has been a staple feature.
They’re somehow both sleek and rugged. They’re inspired by the vintage feel. As it was designed for a pilot, you won’t be surprised to see there are luminous hands and numbers.
When you look at today’s version next to the 50s version, there’s really very little difference. Junghans stayed loyal to the design. The difference being today’s is slightly larger in a 43.4mm case and the leather strap comes in either brown or black.
Radio Control and Solar
Cut to 1985 and here we see Junghan producing its first-ever radio-controlled table clock. They outlandishly claimed this clock was accurate to a second in the space of a million years. Not sure if they’re still testing this claim.
Skip forward to the 90s. A time where innovation was everything. Junghans evolved this very same technology and put it into a wristwatch. The first in line was the Mega 1, followed closely by the release of the Mega Solar. You might guess that the latter was powered purely by the sun.
Amusingly, you can pick up an original Mega one on auction sites for less than $100. Today’s version of the Mega Solar comes in either titanium or ceramic versions with a sapphire crystal face for no less than $1,500 (around £1,285).
After the release of these two watches, Junghans has gone on to build some immense innovations. Namely, a larger radio control and solar collection. Models in this range include the Chronoscope Solar (1972).
This was a truly special watch that became the face of timekeeping in the Olympic Games held in Germany.
Later, they developed the Mega a final time to produce the Milano. A highly accurate radio-controlled timepiece. The Milano is a little more budget-friendly compared to the latest versions of its predecessors, at a modest $750 (£580 in the UK).
Our final stop sees us looking at the Form collection. It has a distinctive convex shape which makes the watch seem thinner. The unique selling point for this range is a nice ergonomic feel that fits perfectly.
The Form range offers simplicity and elegance. It’s minimalist design at its best.
The most popular within this collection is the Form A. A pleasant surprise about this watch is that it’s been received really well by critics and also has a modest cost of less than $1,000.
There’s another tribute in the Form A100 Jahre Bauhaus with a cutesy design with striking rainbow colour markings. There were only 1.000 of these timepieces released and can be found for a surprisingly low $1,000.
Which are the best alternatives to Junghans?
If you’ve enjoyed reading about Junghans but want to consider alternative brands, you’ll probably also be a fan of Certina watches. Read our review of Certainas collections here.