The German watch manufacturer Junghans outfits the classic watches in their Max Bill collection with automatic Swiss calibers. A timeless, Bauhaus-style design means these watches are elegant, easy to read, and pair well with a suit or polo shirt.
The Junghans Max Bill collection is a true classic. These watches have their creator – Swiss architect, artist, and Bauhaus student, Max Bill – to thank for their minimalist design and name. When designing the watch, Bill made optimum readability his priority. He achieved this by taking inspiration from his Bauhaus education, focusing on what was essential. There are long, narrow indices marking the hours; shorter lines for the minutes; narrow, well-proportioned hands; and beautifully designed Arabic numerals. The final result is a timeless and elegant classic.
You'll find all those details in the Max Bill Automatic. An automatic J800.1 caliber ticks away inside its 38-mm stainless steel case. This movement is based on the ETA 2824-2, which Junghans modifies and refines. The original model from 1962 housed the legendary in-house caliber J83.
Junghans produces this three-hand watch with a number of dial designs. You can choose between white silver-plated, anthracite, or matte black. You also have to select which of the three basic styles you prefer. There's the classic edition with line indices and numerals for the hours, a version with additional numerals for the minutes, and an even simpler model with no numerals at all. Some timepieces also feature a date display at 3 o'clock. Domed plexiglass protects the hands and dial and further underscores this watch's exquisite appearance.
The Max Bill Automatic is usually worn on a calf leather strap in brown, gray, black, or beige. You'll also find a version on a Milanese bracelet.
|Reference number||Price (approx.)||Date||Dial|
|027/7806.00||900 USD||Yes||Light gray silver-plated|
|027/4701.00||860 USD||Yes||Matte black|
|027/3501.00||820 USD||No||White silver-plated|
|027/3400.00||820 USD||No||Polished black|
|027/3401.00||810 USD||No||Polished anthracite|
If you'd prefer a watch that most closely resembles the first Max Bill from 1956, look no further than the models with slightly smaller line indices and hour numerals. These watches are true to the original design and come with one special feature: Both the hands and numerals glow in the dark thanks to a coating of luminous material. You can choose from a polished black or anthracite dial. Prices for these timepieces range from 660 USD pre-owned to around 820 USD new.
The Max Bill Automatic with an expanded minute scale has a slightly sporty feel. In addition to line indices and hour numerals, numerals mark the minutes in a ring around the silvery-white dial. Glowing dots at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o'clock and luminous hands mean it's always easy to tell what time it is, even in the dark. This series' top model has a gold-plated stainless steel case and a date display at 3 o'clock. Plan to spend around 900 USD for a mint-condition piece. The version with a date and polished stainless steel case is a bit more affordable at about 850 USD. You can save another 50 USD by choosing the variant without a date display. Depending on the style, pre-owned watches sell for between 680 and 800 USD.
Anyone with a modest style will enjoy the models without numerals. Here, the line indices are slightly longer to maintain the correct proportions. You can choose from a white silver-plated or matte black dial, a gold-plated or polished stainless steel case, and whether you want a date display or not. Prices for these watches fall between 820 and 880 USD. Pre-owned pieces cost about 110 USD less.
The origins of the Max Bill stretch back to the mid-1950s. At that time, the watch manufacturer commissioned painter, sculptor, and architect Max Bill to design a functional kitchen clock. The result was presented to the public in 1956: An easy-to-read clock in keeping with the Bauhaus tenet of "form follows function."
Five years later, that design was adapted into a wristwatch, which quickly became a bestseller. The fact that today's watches deviate very little from the original goes to show how truly timeless Bill's design was. New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) agrees: They've been selling the Max Bill in their gift shop for many years.
The current collection contains a chronograph model, women's watches, and quartz-powered timepieces in addition to the Max Bill Automatic. Junghans also combines this classic design with state-of-the-art technology in the Max Bill MEGA. Inside, you'll find the in-house radio-controlled caliber J101.65. This movement boasts unprecedented precision.