The Junghans Meister Fein Automatic Erhard Edition — A Tribute To The Brand’s Founder
Junghans is synonymous with affordable minimalism. Within watch circles, the brand’s flagship Max Bill line has a reputation as the epitome of Bauhaus design. The Meister designation is reserved for the finest watches in the Junghans collection, and the Meister Fein line of timepieces is an elegant take on a minimalist dress watch. It is fitting, then, that Junghans chose this line to mark a significant occasion for the brand in early 2023.
A bicentennial celebration
Erhard Junghans was born on New Year’s Day, 1823 in the Black Forest in Germany. This year marks what would be his 200th birthday. Erhard Junghans established his watch company in Geisshalde in 1861, laying the foundation for what Junghans would become. Through innovative production techniques, Junghans became the largest watch manufacturer by the turn of the 20th century, producing over 9,000 watches daily. The original property, which Erhard Junghans purchased with his brother-in-law in 1861, remains the company headquarters.
To celebrate Erhard’s profound importance for the brand, Junghans is releasing two Meister Fein timepieces on this milestone anniversary of his birth. With cases in either yellow or white gold, the Meister Fein Automatic Erhard Edition timepieces stand out from the rest of the Junghans catalog with features that make them unique in the lineup.
Both Erhard Edition models feature a polished white dial. A prominent printed Junghans logo sits at 12 o’clock and is modeled after the historic logo used by the company. This takes the place of the more modern block-lettered logo, connecting these pieces to the brand’s 160-year history. The elegant dial is minimalist, but the printed indices are very eye-catching. The detail requires more than a mere glance at the time to notice, but it is time well spent.
The indices were specially designed for the anniversary editions. While they may look like elongated hour markers at a glance, they are, in fact, finely printed Roman numerals. A simple “Made in Germany” designation surrounding the “VI” numeral completes the dial design.
Neither the dial nor the hands have lume, but with the watch’s dressy aesthetic, that would be an unwelcome addition. Perhaps the only minor quibble for some might be the inclusion of a date window at three o’clock. While the Roman numeral “III” is shorter than the other eleven markers to keep the dial balance when accounting for the date window, a dateless model would have offered better symmetry.
Junghans Meister Fein Automatic Erhard Edition — case and movement
Both cases measure 39.5mm in diameter and 11mm in thickness. The cases are rendered in 18K gold and feature screw-in sapphire case backs. Both the case back and the front sapphire crystals are domed, giving the watch a discus shape. To complete the three-dimensional feel, both the dial and hands are slightly curved. To keep the watch seated comfortably on the wrist, the leather strap had to be “domed” as well, creating a peak near the center. The case back is secured by four screws, and the case offers a 3 ATM water-resistance rating.
Inside the case is the automatic caliber J800.1 with a rotor specifically designed for this model. Junghans opted for this two-arm design to provide a nearly unobstructed view of the movement through the sapphire case back. The movement is rhodium-plated and features blued screws, appropriate finishing for a timepiece to mark such an occasion. The rotor-bearing cover prominently features Erhard Junghans’s portrait, and his signature is etched into the sapphire case back. The movement offers 38 hours of power reserve and the aforementioned date function.
Pricing and availability
Despite the rendering of the case back showing a “1/100” designation, according to Junghans, the Meister Fein Automatic Erhard Edition is limited to 200 pieces in each metal. This number is indeed befitting of the 200th anniversary of the namesake’s birth. These watches are significantly more expensive than the majority of the brand’s offerings, but this is logical when considering the case material. Each carries a price tag of €8,450 and serves as a loving tribute to the founder of the company that has borne his name for over 160 years.
For more information, visit the official Junghans website.