It was on October 19th that we had the pleasure of talking to Mr. Hannes Steim, Chairman and Ceo of Junghans, during a brief visit to Lisbon. The meeting took place at the beautiful and almost century-old Joalharia Ferreira Marques in the heart of Lisbon where, in addition to a pleasant informal conversation, some of the brand’s new products were presented.
The German watchmaking brand, which has more than 160 years of history, was founded in 1861 in the town of Schramberg in the district of Rottweil in the eastern Black Forest, and where it remains to this day.
Junghans has a rich history, becoming the largest watch manufacturer in the world at the beginning of the 20th century with more than 3,000 employees, in 1951 it became the largest chronometer manufacturer in Germany and four years later the third in the world, and it is in this context that in 1972 it was chosen to be the official timekeeper of the Munich Olympic Games, which unfortunately was marked by the terrorist attack against the Israeli delegation.
It was in 2009 that businessmen Dr. Hans-Jochem and Hannes Steim bought the company and took over the helm of the watchmaking brand, saving the company from having its production moved to other places.
Of particular note is the famous centuries-old Junghans staircase-shaped building, which thanks to its seven levels allowed all of the brand’s watchmakers to work in direct sunlight and which today serves as the brand’s museum.
There are several watches that are part of the Junghans collection, among the most emblematic lines are the Meister, active since 1930, the Max Bill presented in 1956 by the hands of the Swiss designer who gives the collection its name and based on the Bauhaus principles and the Form collection, a more contemporary line that features watches with a Quartz mechanism controlled by radio and solar energy.
From the lively conversation with Mr. Hannes Steim we talked about the return of the trend of engraving messages and special dates on the watches case back, which has been growing in recent years at the request of many customers and it is in this sense that the brand has opted for laser engraving. The CEO of the watch brand was kind enough to share with us a photo of the Meister Pilot Chronoscope purposely produced for his father for his 80th birthday, a unique piece, which on the back was lovely engraved with the signatures of his current 110 employees.
There was also talk of the “final point”, for now at least is what we want to believe, of the production of the famous Max Bill ceramic kitchen clocks, given the difficulty for many customers to understand the imperfections inherent in working with that material, but the continuation of production of wall and table clocks within the same line.
Another of the brand’s future challenges is finding more sustainable solutions, which has resulted in the development of solar-powered Quartz movements that replace old batteries, the recycling of which continues to be one of the main problems for the environment. As well as the development of Vegan straps for the watches.
Finally, some news for the coming years, where it is expected to see the return of a square model in the Junghans collection and the strong probability of it being present in future editions of Watches And Wonders.
Below we leave some novelties that were presented and that we had the opportunity to try on the wrist.
Junghans, Meister Chronoscope, 27/4224.03. Blue dial, Stainless steel case, 40.70 mm diameter x 13.90 mm thickness, sapphire crystal, mineral glass case back, 50 meters water resistance, brown leather strap. Calibre J880.1, automatic movement, hour, minutes, small seconds, day-date, chronograph, 48 hours of power reserve. Price: € 2,140.
Max Bill Chronoscope Bauhaus
Junghans, Max Bill Chronoscope Bauhaus, 27/4303.02. White dial, Stainless steel case, 40 mm diameter x 14.40 mm thickness, sapphire crystal, stainless steel case back, 50 meters water resistance, black leather strap. Calibre J880.2, automatic movement, hour, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph, 48 hours of power reserve. Price: € 2,295.
Max Bill Mega Solar
Junghans, Max Bill Mega Solar, 59/4325.02. White dial, Stainless steel case, 38 mm diameter x 9 mm thickness, domed sapphire crystal, mineral glass case back, 50 meters water resistance, red vegan strap. Calibre J101.85, Quartz solar movement, hour, minutes, seconds, date, up to 3 years life battery. Price: € 1,075.
Meister Pilot Automatic
Junghans, Meister Pilot Automatic, 27/4397.00. Blue dial, Stainless steel case with a DLC coat, 43.30 mm diameter x 12.50 mm thickness, domed sapphire crystal, stainless steel case back, 100 meters water resistance, blue leather strap. Calibre J880.1.6, automatic movement, hour, minutes, small seconds, date, 38 hours of power reserve. Price: € 1,990.
Meister Pilot Chronoscope Desert
Junghans, Meister Pilot Chornoscope Desert, 27/3398.00. Sand-toned dial, Stainless steel case with a DLC coat, 43.30 mm diameter x 14.40 mm thickness, domed sapphire crystal, stainless steel case back, 100 meters water resistance, brown leather strap. Calibre J880.4, automatic movement, hour, minutes, small seconds, chronograph, 38 hours of power reserve, 300-piece limited edition. Price: € 2,590.