Inventiveness and the pursuit of precision are the keys to the success of Junghans watches. Very soon after the company’s founding in 1861, Junghans timepieces gained an international reputation as reliable precision products of German matchmaking. The achievements of Arthur Junghans, son of the company’s founder and himself a great inventor, are legendary. Arthur Junghans had an exceptional understanding of how to combine technical advancements with traditional values of matchmaking. Watches, which were all mechanical at the time, became affordable for broader sections of the population, and the company grew increasingly successful. By 1903, Junghans boasted the world’s largest watch factory.
The demands placed on timepieces have changed over the years, but the junghans philosophy has remained the same. The unique combination of the traditional matchmaking craft, the pursuit of innovation, and a fusing of modernity and tradition continue to shape the work of Junghans today. Traditional values continue to create matchmaking history. The invention and continued development of radio technology are tightly linked with the name Junghans. In the Readers’ Digest survey entitled “European Most Trusted Brands”, Junghans was elected the most trusted brand in Germany in 2003 and 2004.
A Quest for Excellence- From the Very Beginning
The Junghans watch factory came into being in 1861. Erhard Junghans founded the company in Schramberg. A small town in the Black Forest, together with his brother-in-law, Jakob Zeller-Tobler. At first, they specialized in manufacturing individual parts for watch production. The precision of Junghans work quickly became synonymous with outstanding quality of manufacturing. The first watches bearing the Junghans brand were designed and constructed by the company’s own master watchmakers in 1866.
Following his father’s untimely demise, Arthur Junghans took over the company in 1875. a watchmaker by trade, he had studied the latest technologies on his travels through America. Many innovations thus found their way into a company where Arthur Junghans himself was now in charge of inspiration, construction, and technological development.
The Star over Junghans
The 8-point star that is still the Junghans trademark today was first registered in 1890. At that time, many patents and processes were already developed that gave Junghans a competitive edge in quality and manufacturing. Junghans watches came to be known as affordable, high-quality products from Germany and sold well around the world. In 1903, Arthur Junghan’s vision became a reality-Junghans was the world’s largest watch factory. More than 3,000 employees produced more than 3 million watches each year. The manufacturing facility soon had to be expanded. And so the terrace building came into being, with a step-like construction that delivered natural daylight to each and every watchmaker’s work station. This building was also the place where Germany’s first mechanical wristwatches were manufactured.
A Precious Legacy in Difficult Times
After Arthur Junghans’ death, his sons Erwin and Oscar took over management of the company in 1920. Continuing the company’s legacy and maintaining its high standards was no easy task, but the brothers mastered it successfully. In line with the spirit of the age, more and more wristwatches were manufactured, which would quickly replace pocket watches as the most popular style of watch on the market. Even after the Second World War and the dismantling of the factory, the innovative spirit of Junghans’ master watchmakers remained undaunted. Junghans developed the first wristwatch chronograph Movement, the legendary j88, as early as 1946. Junghans was also able to assert itself as a company with a long tradition and a spirit for innovation in the new market environment of post-war reconstruction. In 1955, the first line of electrical watches was one such innovation. In 1957, a collaboration with Max Bill of the Bauhaus school began, whose matter-of-fact design remains as popular as ever.
The Time of Quartz
Following the successful consolidation of the company after 1945, Junghans began to focus on new, more precise methods for measuring time. The first result of these efforts was the electric movement. But it was the newly invented quartz technology that Junghans really took up and developed further. The first German quartz clock was built at the end of the 1960s and Germany’s first quartz wristwatch was built in 1970. as a pioneer of chronographic development, Junghans made history once again as the official timekeeper of the 1972 Olympic Games.
Junghans and the Radio-Controlled Timepiece
Junghans created yet another revolution on the clock-and watch making market when they developed the first radio-controlled table clock. The world’s first radio-controlled wristwatch, the mega 1, followed the first radio-controlled solar clock in 1990. to celebrate the Mega 1’s 15th anniversary in 2005 and to pay tribute to the classic, Junghans launched the Mega 1000, a new interpretation of the world’s first radio-controlled wrist watch, combining contemporary design and ultra-modern technology.
Highest Standards of Technology and Design
An independent design culture was as important to Junghans as continuous technological progress. This claim was further reinforced with the design and manufacture of Junghans watches in the design of Max Bill, commencing in 1956. This collaboration resulted in a now legendary watch collection, which subsequently became a classic of modern design. Innovative design accents were also set in 1990 with the launch of the world's first radio-controlled wristwatch, the Mega 1, which was created in association with Frog Design. The years that preceded this were eventful ones, with the company presenting the first German quartz wristwatch, the Astro-Quartz, in 1970. Further milestones included, in the pioneering 1990s, the first radio-controlled solar watch, in 1993, and the use of high-tech materials such as ceramics, the first multi-frequency radio-controlled watch, in 2004, as well as the expansion of the mechanical collection. In 2011 Junghans celebrated its 150-year-old success story with three limited edition mechanical models and new interpretations of historic series, such as the Meister collection.
The Force model saw the first ever combination of Junghans' own multi-frequency radio-controlled technology with solar technology in a ceramic case. Its especially slim movement is equipped with the patented Junghans Autoscan technology, which enables the automatic identification of the current time signal and synchronises the time when travel-ling. In 2012 Junghans entered into an exciting co-operation with Bogner: in close collaboration with the successful sportsman, filmmaker and fashion designer the mechanical watch range Bogner by Junghans was created, with Willy Bogner himself the inspiration.
In 2013 it is the elegant Meister watches that are setting the tone at Uhrenfabrik Junghans. With their unmistakable design they reflect both the past and present of the brand: first manufactured in the 1930s and further developed until the 1960s, today they make a clear statement for the construction of classic mechanical watches at Junghans.
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.
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: "Only 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.
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 unmistakable appearance from the saucer-shaped subdials.
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.
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.
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.
Official website: www.junghans.de