Junghans has announced new additions to the Max Bill by Junghans collection. The notable feature of these new additions is their increased dimensions, while remaining true to the original Bauhaus design.
The Bauhaus school of design began life as an art school in Germany in 1919, but went on to influence all the arts, architecture, typography, and industrial design for decades. Bauhaus is recognizable by the absence of ornamentation, and the form and function of an object working together seamlessly.
Bauhaus began as a school for industrial design, and while it’s most associated with furniture and architecture, it originally didn’t have an architecture component at the school at all. The architectural output from 1919-1927 was quite small. It was only after 1927, after Max Bill had left the school and moved to Zurich, that architecture became a focus, but the style is characterized by simplicity, eliminating anything extraneous.
Those aforementioned key elements fit nicely with the restrained styling which Junghans is known for – they do have the “Technology” and the “Erhard Junghans” collections, which are a bit more flashy, but when we hear the word Junghans, we like to think of clean lines and uncluttered designs. It is no wonder, then, that Max Bill’s influence works rather well for the brand.
Bill studied at Bauhaus under Vassily Kandinsky, and has the reputation as one of the biggest influences on Swiss graphic design in the 1950s. He designed elegant clocks and watches for Junghans in the ’50s and ’60s – just like the one you see above – and that is the classic design that Junghans is revisiting today.
Historically, the Junghans Max Bill three-hand watches have always been either manually wound or available in quartz movements, with the Chronoscope chronograph models equipped with automatic movements being an exception. New to the collection are two automatic powered Junghans Max Bill watches and a men’s Junghans Max Bill quartz.
The cases of the Junghans Max Bill men’s collection are all 38mm, which is a nice size without being too small or too large, especially for this watch, which I think fits in the casual-to-dress spectrum. I think I would be just as at home wearing it with an unstructured jacket, as I would in jeans and a t-shirt. The straps are calfskin with a stainless steel buckle to match the stainless steel case. The crystals are plexi, hearkening back to the time when Max Bill first collaborated with Junghans. Many watch companies used plexiglass up until the late ’70s/early ’80s.
The caliber inside is a 25-jewel, 38-hour power reserve movement, with Junghans engraved on the rotor. This is pretty much the best of both worlds: a reliable automatic movement with the understated elegance of German design.
The Junghans Max Bill design has stayed true to its origins, and has luminescent dots at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock and a double dot at 12 o’clock, ensuring that the pure dial is easily legible in the dark. The two automatic Junghans Max Bill models are offered in either a slate-grey dial and beige-colored calfskin strap combination, or in what Junghans calls jet black. Junghans also offers Junghans Max Bill watches in quartz, and has had a lot of success with the quartz-powered Junghans Max Bill ladies watches. Based on that success, they’re launching a men’s model called the Junghans Max Bill Quarz. The quartz watches will be available with dials in white, matte silver-plate, or a dark dial with sunray cut.
Pricing is reasonable, for classic design and an automatic movement: The automatics, 027/3401.00 (black dial, brown calfskin strap) and 027/3400.00 (black dial, black calfskin strap) can be bought for $1,031. The quartz-equipped 047/4355.00 in white dial, white strap will be available for $577, and the 041/4464.00 in white dial with black strap, $649. junghans.de
Tech specs from Junghans:
- Case: stainless steel, 38.0 mm
- Movement: J800.1 self-winding movement, 25 jewels, 38 hours power reserve, engraved Junghans logo on rotor
- Crystal: convex hard plexiglass with SICRALAN* coating, developed for the automotive industry, with improved scratch-resistance
- Strap: calfskin strap with stainless steel buckle
- Features: dial markings, hour and minute hands with environmentally friendly luminous substance, waterproof