Max Bill was a renowned Swiss designer, graphic artist, and architect who is remembered, first and foremost, for his highly influential body of work. Though he studied at the Bauhaus school in Dessau, Germany, it would be a disservice to simply call him a student of the Bauhaus. Outspoken and brash, Bill expressed his distaste for shallow design; in fact, he often blamed American designers for the rise of what he called the “commodity aesthetic.” But he also understood the fine balance between form and function, often citing the significance of beauty in his designs. He dedicated most of his career to developing long-lasting forms, blending style and utility to create work that was, in many ways, the spiritual successor to the Bauhaus movement.
In 1956, Max Bill began a collaboration that would cement his name in the world of horology. Junghans, a German watch company founded in 1871, approached Bill to design a set of watches and clocks for the brand. Fascinated by time, Bill accepted the offer and released his first piece, a wall clock, in 1956. Combining clean lines, simple geometry, and a unique type, the Max Bill clock was a master class in form. Five years later, he released a series of wristwatches heavily influenced by that initial design, effectively creating a line of Bauhaus classics that to this day bear is name.
Form, Function, Beauty = Gestalt -Max Bill
Junghans has since rereleased the Max Bill line, which includes many of the historical models as well as some modern interpretations of Bill’s original vision. There are three main variations in the current lineup: the 35mm hand wind, the 38mm automatic, and the 40mm automatic chronograph. We were lucky enough to get our hands on two pieces from the line for a brief review: the automatic Max Bill Silver Dial Ref. 3500 and the Max Bill Chronoscope in black. Coming in at $966 and $1989, respectively, these watches share a pricing category with some stiff competition (including two other Bauhaus favorites, Nomos and Stowa). So, are Max Bill watches worth the price with all the other options out there?