Junghans Meister Driver Chronoscope

The Junghans Meister Driver Chronoscope Ref. 027/3684.00 takes inspiration from German classic cars of the 1930s and 1950s, fusing retro aesthetics with modern-day practicality.

This detailed review of the Junghans Meister Driver Chronoscope includes live images, specification details and pricing.

Junghans_Meister_Driver_Chronoscope_wrist - ESCAPEMENT magazine - watch blog by Angus Davies

The sight of a quality timepiece can conjure up numerous thoughts. A particular dial detail, such as a specific colour or a characterful font, can lead the observer to embark on a nostalgic journey. Junghans, the watch brand from Schramberg, recently launched the ‘Driver’ and, in so doing, has created a retro timepiece which has awoken childhood memories of a 1928 Mercedes SSK.

Sadly, this vehicle did not reside in my father’s garage but, as a child, it did grace my bedroom wall in large pictorial form. I remember the car was equipped with a gargantuan steering wheel and the dashboard instruments featured crisp, no-nonsense styling.

The current owners of Junghans possess a keen ‘passion for automobiles’ and have amassed an impressive collection of classic cars, including Maybachs and Mercedes models of yesteryear. Apparently, the designs of these latter automotive thoroughbreds from the 1930s and 1950s have ‘served as inspiration’ for the Meister Driver Chronoscope, a timepiece which resembles a dashboard instrument.

It would appear that Junghan’s design team and marketing department have skilfully elicited my sepia-toned recollections of the SSK and subliminally invited me to take a romantic horological journey, discovering a host of quaint, octane-inspired aesthetics.

The dial

The central area of the lacquer dial is a sand shade, nestling against a circlet of hushed grey. The gleaming hour and minute hands are lined with white luminescent fill. They are keenly profiled with sharply pointed tips, coherently communicating time.

Junghans_Meister_Driver_Chronoscope_dial - ESCAPEMENT magazine - watch blog by Angus Davies

Gracing the perimeter of the dial canvas is a ‘chemin de fer’ or ‘railway track’, which blends white detail and black stylised numerals to eye-catching affect.

The dial’s bi-compax layout includes a small running seconds at 3 o’clock with a 30-minute chronograph register opposite. This arrangement accords an agreeable balance to the dial vista.

A sense of freshness pervades the canvas of this dial. ‘Form follows function’ with each aspect of the dial composition conferring notable lucidity. The pencil-thin central chronograph seconds hand interfaces with the chapter ring, employing perfect diction to succinctly express meaning.

The importance of minutes and seconds takes precedence over hours, hence the large white Arabic numerals assume superiority, outranking the smaller hour markings which occupy the aforementioned chemin de fer. Junghans does offer an alternative version of this watch with a black lacquer dial, featuring a conventional hour track.

The case

The stainless steel case of the Junghans Meister Driver Chronoscope measures 40.8mm in diameter with a height of 12.6mm. The watch appears more slender when worn, owing to the angled edge of the caseback which cosily snuggles into the wrist flesh, mitigating the perception of depth while conferring a congenial fit. The exhibition caseback is retained with four screws.Junghans_Meister_Driver_Chronoscope_case - ESCAPEMENT magazine - watch blog by Angus Davies

Junghans_Meister_Driver_Chronoscope_lugs - ESCAPEMENT magazine - watch blog by Angus Davies

Junghans has augmented the sense of nostalgia with the fitment of a domed hard plexiglass with SICRALAN coating. It has also played with various angles and shapes, yielding an enchanting whole. The caseband tapers increasingly inwards as it approaches the caseback. The vertical flank of the chronograph push-pieces are elliptical and prove charming to behold. The grip of the crown is tastefully knurled, successfully fusing practicality with refined looks.

Junghans_Meister_Driver_Chronoscope_caseband - ESCAPEMENT magazine - watch blog by Angus Davies

The slender, elongated lugs gently arc from the caseband, granting an elegant appearance. The brown calfskin strap sits close to the case allowing no daylight to pass in between and, as a reult, it confers a neat appearance. The underside of the brown calfskin strap features a perforated layer, reminiscent of the textured car upholstery found on some vintage cars.

The movement

The Calibre J880.3 self-winding movement comprises of an ETA2892-2 base with a Dubois Depraz 2030 chronograph module.

Junghans_Meister_Driver_Chronoscope_caseback - ESCAPEMENT magazine - watch blog by Angus Davies

Dubois Depraz is renowned for creating high quality movement modules. Indeed, the action of pressing the pushpieces of the Junghans Meister Driver Chronoscope delivers a pleasing tactile encounter. Moreover, whilst a fully integrated chronograph is technically superior, it will prove costlier both at the time of purchase and, thereafter, when periodic servicing is needed. This particular chronograph from Junghans should fulfil the needs of most wearers, whilst proving affordable to acquire and maintain.

Junghans_Meister_Driver_Chronoscope_calibre_J880.3 - ESCAPEMENT magazine - watch blog by Angus Davies

The bi-directional oscillating mass is decorated with Côtes de Genève motif and the Junghan’s logo. The movement is rhodium plated and perlage populates the bridges and mainplate. Finally, blued screws reinforce the perception of quality and uphold traditional watchmaking practise.

The frequency of the balance is 28,800 vph (4Hz) and the sole spring barrel provides a maximum of 42 hours autonomy.

While the movement lacks the elevated finishing of a revered example of haute horlogerie, it delivers a highly competitive specification for its relatively modest asking price of £1790.00 (RRP as at 6.7.2016)

Closing remarks

Modern-day cars often share similar aesthetics. The widespread use of wind tunnels has honed every design into a wind-cheating shape. Indeed, the cars of today, when compared with their forebears, are faster, quieter, safer and, most notably, more comfortable.

However, the sinuous lines of classic cars pledge passion. The elaborate front wings exquisitely charm observers with their notable fluidity. The swooping lines of the body play with light and shadow as the car makes genteel progress. The engine sounds were never stifled by environmental concerns, but sang loudly to glorious affect.

Junghans has referenced car instruments of yesteryear with the Meister Driver Chronoscope, successfully fusing modern-day utility with the bountiful emotion conferred by characterful cars of a bygone era.

Legibility, wearer comfort and value for money comfortably sit aside supercharged styling of yesteryear, making the Junghans Meister Driver Chronoscope an enticing ownership proposition.

Technical Specification

  • Model: Junghans Meister Driver Chronoscope
  • Reference: 027/3684.00
  • Case: Stainless steel; diameter 40.8mm; height 12.6mm; water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres); Plexiglass to front and exhibition caseback.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; chronograph.
  • Movement: Calibre J880.3, self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); power reserve 42 hours.
  • Strap/Bracelet: Brown calf leather strap with perforated underlayer presented on a stainless steel pin buckle
  • Price: £1,790 (RRP as at 6.7.2016)

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