What’s with Germany’s knack for outputting all these gorgeous, affordable, dress appropriate, and artistic stylized watches? As if the Max Bill wasn’t enough to just hang it up and call it a day. Junghans has once again set its sights on perfection, but this time without the guiding hand of a Swiss genius, with simple and clean watch optics. No better is this mirrored than in its Meister Classic, Agenda, Calendar, and Telemeter models. Remaining true to Bauhaus tradition, there’s once more a total lack of overcrowded or tricked out designs.
The history of this collection stretches all the way back to the 1930s, a time in which English watch brand titles like the Speedmaster or the Submariner were all the buzz and when Max Bill was still just stretching his legs as an artist. Elegant Junghans dress watches might have been just one among many, but they peaked out in the styles of the Midcentury Design in the Meister Collection. Other manufacturers would do very well to take note of this, perhaps even go one step further, and take a leaf out of the Junghans book.
The Meister title was originally only reserved for the most prized models, even as the collection was incorporated into the portfolio of Junghans in 1936. This is why vintage watches with the Meister tagging on the dial are especially treasured by watch aficionados. The clean visuals of this series really set the bar, with many Junghans designs replicating its style even years later. It was also 25 years before Max Bill developed his legendary wristwatch for the brand. Today, the Meister collection represents, next to the model series named after its founder Erhard Junghans, the excellent craftsmanship of this timepiece manufacturer. Junghans hasn’t forgotten its fans of precious metals either, as the collection also offers up variations in both yellow and rose gold.
The Meister Classic shares the same case size as the Max Bill Automatic with a measurement of 38 millimetres. However, double digit dimensions aren’t the only thing both dress watches have in common: They both also have a hesalite crystal. While the case edge is relatively thin, the watch is always legible and still manages to never feel too small.
Compared to the Max Bill Chronoscope, the Meister Chronoscope has a display to show the elapsed hour and is equipped with three totalisers. Its dial arrangement hints at the ETA/Valjoux 7750 ticking away inside of it. Of course, this isn’t missing in our list of the 10 most important ETA SA movements. You can read about it right here.
The Meister Telemeter is equipped with two additional sub dials that are located at the 3 and 9 positions on the dial. The watch has a 50s style and is rigged with the J880.3 movement, which was based upon the ETA 2892-2 and expanded by a Dubois Dépraz chronograph module. The namesake for the Telemeter comes from its tachymeter scale, which is an indicator that can be configured to determine geographical distance. This is made entirely possible, when a visual and acoustic event correlate with one another. For example, the distance of a thunderstorm can be determined by stopping the time when lightning strikes and then looking at the Telemeter scale when thunder booms. The distance that the sound of lighting travels in one minute is roughly 20 kilometres. This watches dial also bears the Chronoscope lettering.
Junghans proves it’s not a newcomer to calendar complications with its Meister Agenda and Meister Calendar. The Meister Calendar even has an additional moon phase display. An ETA 2892 ticks inside the Agenda and compared to the Calendar (with an ETA 2824), it’s reflected in its higher price tag.
1936: The Meister series launches and represents the very core of the Junghans collection.
1951: The Junghans Meister Telemeter releases on the market.
2006: Junghans presents its Meister line-up, which becomes an integral part of the entire collection. It’s a mechanical counterpart to the Junghans portfolio usually dominated by quartz, radio, and solar powered watches.
2011: Two Meister models in a limited edition are released on the 150th Anniversary of Junghans.
2014: The Junghans Meister Telemeter is reissued as a tribute to the classic timepiece launched back in 1951.
2015: The Junghans Meister is released in several new colour variations.