April 14, 1861: Confederate troops were barraging Fort Sumter in the opening volley of the US Civil War and Europe was still buzzing from Charles Darwin’s publication of the Origin of the Species. In a few short weeks the discovery of Archaeopteryx, a feathered dinosaur fossil found in Bavaria, would reignite the flames of debate. Meanwhile, just to the east in the sleepy town of Schramberg, nestled Germany’s Black Forest, Erhard Junghans, and his brother-in-law Jakob Zeller-Tobeler were opening the heavy oak doors of their clock component factory for the first time.
Clock cases, bronze signs, hands, glass doors, wire hooks, hinges, and pendulums all began to flow from the factory and five short years later, Zeller & Junghans would produce their first clock. Clocks would eventually lead to the production of watches and by the early 1900s, Junghans was producing over three million timepieces each year, making it the largest watch and clock factory in the world with over 3,000 employees. In the century to follow, Junghans’s commitment to pioneering innovation and its strongly held values of quality, reliability, precision, allowed the brand to remain a mainstay in Germany’s renowned watchmaking guild. To celebrate this rich and storied history, Junghans is releasing three new limited-edition models in the Meister Gangreserve Edition 160.
Mechanical watches are marvels of engineering – at once simple and beautifully complex. By winding a crown or through the movement of a rotor, potential energy is stored in the coil of a mainspring. That stored energy is then transferred from the mainspring to the gear train, ultimately driving the hands around the dial, allowing us to read the time until the energy stored in the mainspring has been dispelled. Keeping track of the power remaining in the mainspring adds an extra mechanical complication, but the biggest challenge to watchmakers is creating a visually appealing and harmonious display of the power reserve. In the Meister Gangreserve Edition 160, Junghans has created an index-style, color-coded power reserve indicator to the dial that is subtle, discreet, but eminently functional. Originally unveiled by Junghans in the 1950s, the brand equipped watches with an opening in the dial located above 6 o’clock that revealed sliding colored segments that tracked the power left in the mainspring, allowing users to determine if the watch required winding.
Paying homage to these earlier watches, the Junghans Meister Gangreserve Edition 160 is a classically styled, but thoroughly modern, automatic watch that leans towards dressy, while still being highly versatile. The power reserve indicator above 6 o’clock blends seamlessly with the layout of the dial and each colorway uses a power reserve color scheme that harmonizes with the dial. On the bracelet-equipped stainless-steel model with a silver-plated dial, Junghans has utilized the universally recognized colors of traffic lights. A fully green display indicates a full charge, with yellow moving up the display as the mainspring loses energy. At 25% reserve, red fills half the display as a clear warning that power is running out. Full red, you’re out of juice.
The two models on leather straps use a more subtle display – fully wound, the power reserve indicator matches the dial; as the watch loses power, the watch transitions through more and more intense shades of grey until finally, the red signal appears when the watch stopping is imminent.
The three models of the Gangereserve Edition 160 each feature a 40.4mm diameter case with a thin height of just11.1mm. The cases are either stainless-steel (for the silver dial on bracelet model and sunray blue dial on leather strap model) or PVD-coated stainless steel for the gold-tone. All feature domed sapphire crystals with anti-reflective coating to ensure that the gorgeous dials with applied indices at 3, 6, 9, and 12, and lumed dauphine hands shine bright. Visible behind a display caseback is the caliber J810.2 automatic movement that features a 42-hour power reserve, date function, and power reserve-indicator.
The Junghans Meister Gangreserve Edition 160 is available now for $1,700 USD for the leather strap models and $1,800 USD for the silver dial on bracelet. Each model is limited to only 160 pieces. For more information on the Gangreserve Edition 160 and other Junghans watches, be sure to visit the brand’s website.
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