Junghans Expands the Meister Line with Pilot Chronograph and Driver Chronoscope

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If you’re a regular reader of worn&wound, Junghans is certainly no stranger. Just last week we reviewed the Meister Kalendar Moon, a stunning vintage-inspired timepiece with a complete calendar—a complication that’s found almost exclusively on higher-end timepieces. That watch was no outlier; in recent years, Junghans has consistently released great value-driven watches, from the extension of their iconic Max Bill series to their ever-growing Meister collection. 2016 is shaping up to be no different. We went hands on with some of this year’s novelties at Baselworld, and needless to say we were thoroughly impressed with the direction of the brand.

Meister Pilot Chronograph

One of my personal favorites from the show, the Meister Pilot Chronograph boasts an iconic heritage design, one based on the J88 Bundeswehr Chronograph—a watch Junghans produced for the German military and civilian market throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s. Though pulling direct inspiration from that watch, the Meister Pilot Chronograph looks and feels wholly modern in its execution.

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At 43mm with a height of 14.4mm, it’s a hefty watch, and certainly larger than its historical counterpart. That said, it sits comfortably on the wrist as a result of the curved lugs. Aesthetically, the case is an absolute stunner. While most of the watches in the Meister collection lean toward modern minimalism, the Pilot Chronograph stands out with its somewhat aggressive design. The most prominent feature is undoubtedly the bi-directional scalloped bezel—a definitive element of the original—designed so that a pilot could operate the bezel while wearing gloves. It’s a classic example of form following function, though most of us won’t be taking to the skies with the watch on the wrist.

Pulling from the design language of the Meister series, the dial of the Pilot Chronograph is domed with scalloped sub-dials at three (30-minute totalizer) and nine (running seconds). The hour markers are a bit of departure from the original; they’re somewhat more stylized, but they don’t come across as cartoony. In fact, I find that the typeface lends to the overall legibility of the watch. The handset is a Roman sword style, slightly fattened for effect with elongated needle tips. Sitting atop of the dial is a doubled-domed sapphire crystal with AR coating. The Meister Pilot Chronograph is available in two variants—the Classic with white Super-LumiNova and the Vintage with “old-Radium” lume.

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Powering the watch is Junghans’ calibre J880.4, a rebadged modular design consisting of a Dubois Depraz 2030 chronograph module on top of an ETA 2824-2 base. The modular nature of the movement is really the only negative I can ascribe to the watch, given how the original was powered by the J88 calibre—an iconic 19-jeweled column wheel chronograph once produced in-house by Junghans. That said, given the general scarcity of dual-register chronograph movements, it’s understandable why Junghans went the modular route to achieve the desired look.

The Junghans Meister Pilot Chronograph is currently available for pre-order in Classic and Vintage.

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Meister Driver Chronoscope

Earlier this year, Junghans announced their Meister Driver Handaufzug series, a collection of watches inspired by the brand’s connection to automotive history. The first two entries in that series were time-only manual-wind models, and both were extremely well received. At the time of that announcement, Junghans also hinted at future Chronoscope (chronograph) variants expected for Basel, and they delivered.

Junghans-Basel-19Much of what we loved about the first two entries in the Driver series has been carried over to the Chronoscope variants: the speedometer-inspired design, the concave dials and bold dauphine hands, and the vibrant use of color. The bowl shaped case comes in at 40.8mm, with a height of approximately 12.6mm. Because of the shape of the case, the watch sits comfortably against the wrist and tempers the height quite a bit. Sitting atop the case is a domed acrylic crystal, which adds to the vintage feel of the collection. The Driver Chronoscope series is powered by the J880.3 calibre, another modular design from Junghans with an ETA 2892-2 base and a Dubois Depraz module. The decorated movement features blued screws, perlage, and Côtes de Genève, and can be viewed through a see-through case back.

The Meister Driver Chronoscope debuts with three colorways: tan/gray, black/anthracite, and gray/anthracite. The former is somewhat reminiscent of the tan variant from the initial handaufzug pair. The latter two, however, seem to only borrow the general layout from their three-handed brother, and instead opt for tonal dials with red accents. The gray/anthracite variant will come paired with a 9-link stainless steel bracelet, and the other two will come on leather.

The Junghans Meister Driver Chronoscope is currently available for pre-order in tan/gray, black/anthracite, and gray/anthracite.

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Ilya is Worn & Wound's Managing Editor and Video Producer. He believes that when it comes to watches, quality, simplicity and functionality are king. This may very well explain his love for German and military-inspired watches. In addition to watches, Ilya brings an encyclopedic knowledge of leather, denim and all things related to menswear.
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