Meister-pieces from Schramberg

11/10/2016

The success story of the Meister collection from Schramberg-based Uhrenfabrik Junghans begins in the 1930s. The highest quality standards were upheld from the very beginning – only the company's best movements were installed in Meister watches. Today still, the distinctive models display the highest watchmaking expertise and the unmistakable Junghans design, which lend the traditional brand its authentic character.



For the highest requirements

The origins of the Meister range can be traced back to 1936. In addition to its characteristic appearance, it is distinguished by its painstakingly refined movements. The name, “Meister” (engl. Master), derives from the quality of the movements that were used: only the best, most sophisticated movements of Uhrenfabrik Junghans are utilised in the complex interior of these models, representing the highest level of mechanical expertise that Junghans has to offer. Until the 1960s, the external design of the classically-elegant timepieces was the responsibility of "watch architect" Anton Ziegler. Even proportions and a high standard of quality – the basis for the design principles of Anton Ziegler. He was particularly focused on the balanced design of the dials: "On-ly when the relationship between the dial elements is right can an attractive watch be created" – thus the motto of the designer. Today, these values are still to be found in the design culture of the long-standing company.

In the 1950s and 1960s Junghans set new standards in the Meister collection and throughout the watch sector. As early as 1951 Junghans occupied a key position in the market as Germany's largest manufacturer of chronometers, with the calibre J82. With its unusually large screw balance, the chronometer-certified calibre J82 represents a significant milestone in movement development and enabled Junghans to become the world's third-largest chronometer producer in 1956. In the years to 1960 the J82 was continuously perfected and installed in thousands of officially-tested chronometers each year.

A further legendary movement is the calibre J88, a column wheel chronograph developed in-house with a complex Breguet spring, fitted to the company's chronographs from 1949 onwards. In 1951 the dials displayed a tachymeter and telemeter function for the first time. When in 1955 the newly established Bundeswehr went looking for a service watch for its pilots, the order was won by Junghans. It went on to produce the now legendary pilot chronograph with its dodecagonal bezel (type BW-111). In 1970 what were then considered the last Meister watches were manufactured, with the focus now having shifted to quartz watches, which were pushing mechanical watches out of the market.

A masterful new interpretation

In 2011 the Meister range was awakened to new life. This year saw Uhrenfabrik Junghans celebrate its 150th anniversary and to mark the occasion the timepieces were given a contemporary new interpretation, based on their historic predecessors. Their characteristic design reflects both the past and present of the brand. The classically-designed dials receive their unmis-takable appearance from the saucer-shaped subdials. "The Meister design achieves a high degree of elegance through its delicacy, the optical concealment of its raised elements, the flowing form, with its unusual proportions, lending it an exciting character," says Junghans designer Volker Fuchs. Limited special editions of the Meister Chronoscope and Meister Chronometer were presented to mark the company anniversary. Today, in addition to the classic designs such as the Meister Handaufzug with a subsidiary second, the Meister Classic or the Meister Chronoscope, the range also includes complications with moon phase or calendar week display. For ladies, a feminine interpretation of the historic predecessors was created.

Combining tradition with functionality

Inspired by a historic chronograph of 1951, Junghans presented a newcomer to the ranks of Meister watches in 2014. The Meister Telemeter adapts specific details, such as the unusual arrangement of the subdials, to the present. Also equipped with telemeter and tachymeter scale, the Meister Telemeter is a successful homage to its ancestors. The fine scale around the minute graduation and the shiny silver of the dial radiate both modernity and traditional values. This combination of classic watch design and sporty dynamism on the dial makes this contemporary reworking of the timepiece a constant companion – not just for sporting occasions.

2015 saw the range take to the skies with the Meister Pilot: an unmistakable appearance and mechanical independence make the timepiece the perfect copilot for the wrist. Its design incorporates the key design elements of the legendary Junghans pilot watch of 1955, combining them with the elegant, light forms of the current Meister collection. The domed sapphire crystal has an anti-reflection coating on both sides and provides an ideal view of the clear luminescent numerals and distinctive hands. The attention to detail is also evident in the design of the seven-times screwed case back, which features a distinctive element: a specially-designed compass rose, which incorporates the symbolism of classic aviation in the form of an artificial horizon. The particular design principle of the front assembly lends the timepiece an unusual elegance for a pilot watch – and the lightness required for takeoff.

An expression of pure passion

Junghans and the automobile – a strong connection that has been in place since the end of the 19th century, when Arthur Junghans, son of the company founder, was already a passionate car enthusiast. With the Meister Driver launched in 2016 Uhrenfabrik Junghans is once again expressing this passion for the automobile, one also shared by the current owners – Dr. Hans-Jochem Steim and Hannes Steim. The design of the Meister Driver is based on features of selected classic cars from their impressive collection. Design elements of the instrument displays of these classics can be seen in the timepieces: dials reminiscent of a speedometer, the special paint scheme and leather strap with contrasting seam, evocative of leather car seats, reflect the historic background of the watches. And yet are firmly anchored in the here and now.

The Meister range from Uhrenfabrik Junghans therefore represents a wonderful symbiosis of tradition and modernity: "As a fourth-generation watchmaker, each day I am both humbled and proud to be privileged to guide the path of this great, venerable brand, bringing time to life with new models. A glance at the watch should be a source of joy to the customer," says CEO Matthias Stotz.