Almost 10 months after we first saw the Meister Pilot at an event deep in the Black Forrest we finally put our hands on one. Our loyal readers might remember that September last year we were invited to Schramberg by Junghans. This small town hidden inside the belly of the forest is the home of Junghans from the beginning. We spent a wonderful weekend there filled with vintage cars, flying and a lavish dinner at which the company showed us their new signature pilots chronograph, the Junghans Meister Pilot. At that time, it was only available for the invited retailers as a limited edition but later as you would imagine, the company released it for the everybody. I visited Junghans this year during Basel World and we agreed that as soon as we find the time we should take a closer look at the Meister Pilot.
The time has come and the watch is now on my wrist as I type this. As I already knew the watch, there was no Wow affect. I’m not saying that the watch is not cool though, because it is. Based on their Bundeswehr model from the 1950’s Junghans already made a reissue using the same design elements a while ago. However, the most honest model is this one. Why? Because it follows the trend many brands do nowadays; they use an old design and rethink it in a modern way to sill staying true to the original model. While the one they released a few years ago looks almost exactly like the vintage version (only it was a bit bigger) the Junghans Meister Pilot has a nice ratio of modern elements paired up with signature design essentials from the vintage watch.
The most recognizable feature of the Junghans Meister Pilot is obviously the dodecagonal bezel. The watch dial is black but the bezel is steel and it gives a clear contrast to the watch. Despite the case is pretty large at 43.3mm the dark colors make it looks smaller, it does not stand out. Even though the thickness is 14mm Junghans used the same design element they did with the Meister Telemeter, we reviewed a while ago, where the case is actually narrows towards the center of the case back. The case is brushed stainless steel. Just as a true military watch should be.
The bezel is bidirectional and rotates very smoothly. Due to the size of the watch it’s quite easy to rotate it – even with gloves on – not that the majority of the Junghans Meister Pilot owners will ever use this functionality while flying. The 10-minute scales are inscribed into the metal then filled up with black paint, no lume on it except for the small dote in the black triangle at 12.
The pushers as well as the crown stand out from the case quite a bit for easier access. The crown has the Junghans logo, a star with a J in the middle, the pushers are oval. As I said before the case back is convex and 7 screws attach it to the case. At the 6 o’clock you see the reference number and at 12 the number of the watch (not the serial number). In the center of the case back there is a compass rose with the water resistance (10atm/100m) the name of the model and the material of the case around it.
The dial of the Junghans Meister Pilot is very simple, as you would imagine. Military watches are not fashion items, they are meant to be modest and functional. Although this watch is not a military issued timepiece anymore, the company wanted to stay as close as possible to the original details.
The dial has Arab numerals all around covered in beige lume. They chose such color for the lume only to imitate the yellowed tritium on vintage models giving a more historical look to the Junghans Meister Pilot. The sub dials of the chronograph are at 3 and 9. While in most cases the continuous seconds sub-dial is at 9 (like in case of the vintage Junghans bund) on the new model it is at 3 o’clock. The 30-minute sub indicator is at 9 o’clock though.
Just like in the case of the vintage model the watch only has the Junghans logo and the company name below 12. You can also read Chronoscope above the 6 o’clock, something you do not see on the vintage version. The 60-second chronograph scale is painted on the dial around the rim of the dial. The hands are sword shaped, whereas the original hands were normal stick hands. I love sword hands on chronographs, again clear indication of the vintage feel. The crystal is convex sapphire crystal with anti-reflection coating on the inside.
The movement powering the Junghans Meister Pilot is called J880.4 which unfortunately only resembles the original J88 in-house Junghans caliber in its name. That was hand would as oppose to the J880.4 that is an automatic caliber. It is based on ETA’s 2824 with an added Dubois Depraz 2030 chronograph module built on top of it. The movement of the Junghans Meister Pilot has 25 Jewels and 40 hours of power reserve.
The only area I see space for improvement with the Junghans Meister Pilot is the strap. Even though when worn it is surprisingly comfortable and soft the look of the leather is rather low-cost. The design of the strap is similar to the ones we see on old flieger (German pilot) watches. These used to have fixed spring bars so the leather had to be folded over the lug then fixed with 1 or 2 rivets.
The 22mm strap on the Meister Pilot also has 2 black rivets but of course there are no fix spring bars anymore, this is only a design effect. The leather is brown, under the rivets it’s black. The buckle is made of the same brushed steel as the case and bears the Junghans logo. It’s a very cool looking buckle I like it very much. The strap is 22m wide, I would say this is normal for the size of the watch. All around the strap has grey stitching.
The Junghans Meister Pilot comes in 2 colors; the brown I reviewed and also an all-black version. The only difference between the two models is the color of the lume and the strap. While the brown version has beige/yellowed lume the black version has the usual greenish. Also the strap color of the black version is black all around with beige stitching. I prefer the brown version as it has more aged look in my book. The Junghans Meister Pilot is not only a comfortable and interesting watch but also priced great. The retail price is €2240, which is more than fair compared to the value the watch provides. Due to its size, looks and very friendly price the Junghans Mister Pilot can be an excellent choice if you are looking for a sporty sized, German made, chronograph that has some cool design elements. I enjoyed wearing the watch and really looking forward to see what Junghans has to offer for us next year.
For further information about the watch and other Junghans models please visit their website.
Balázs joined Fratello Watches in 2014 and he has been a fan of watches as long as he can remember. His passion for watches really took off in 2007 when he purchased his first fine Swiss timepiece. From 2007 up... read more