Junghans Meister S Chronoscope
The Junghans Meister S Chronoscope features a cam-actuated chronograph movement paired with day and date indications. The model is available in three versions, but for the purposes of this review, the Reference 027/4023.44 with a green / black dial was selected and subsequently evaluated over a number of days.
Schramberg, a town based in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, plays host to Junghans. Erhard Junghans established his eponymous firm in 1861. The German company was known for making clocks and, during the late 1800s, it was the largest clock company in Germany, with over 1000 employees making approximately one million clocks per annum (circa 1897). As the years passed by, Junghans enjoyed impressive sales growth and by 1903 it was the largest clock manufacturer in the world.
During WWI, work commenced on building the firm’s famous terrace building (Terrassenbau) and, despite the war, nothing interrupted its construction. This ambitious structure was set against the slope of a hillside, necessitating complicated construction techniques. However, despite the various challenges presented, Junghans opened the building in 1918. Incidentally, the building continues to be used by the brand to this day.
In terms of watches, Junghans made its first wristwatch in 1927. Over the years it has embraced modern technology making watches such as the Dato-Chron, an electro-mechanical timepiece (1967), quartz watches and even radio-controlled watches (1990). Junghans also paired radio technology with solar power and this type of watch is still offered by the brand today.
Now, Junghans’ product portfolio is vast and includes a multitude of clocks and watches. As a self-proclaimed horological purist, my interest in the brand’s products is restricted to its mechanical watches, however, I concede not all readers will share my viewpoint. Nevertheless, looking back at Junghans’ history, it is clear it is no stranger to success and it doesn’t restrict itself solely to the manufacture of just one form of timekeeping.
Personally, my experience of Junghans to date has been comparatively limited, however, I have often appreciated the styling of its products and the value for money they represent. One concern I have had about Junghans’ watches relates to the use of Plexiglas on many of its former models. Indeed, I have always been a little wary of Plexiglas given the material’s comparative fragility. Many watch brands have used Plexiglas in the past but subsequently switched to sapphire crystal. Now, Junghans appear to be making an increasing number of watches equipped with sapphire crystal and, on some models featuring Plexiglas, the company now offers a retrofit sapphire crystal.
Recently, the brand’s UK distributor contacted me, kindly offering me the chance of a hands-on experience with the Junghans Meister S Chronoscope. I looked at the model on the brand’s website and first impressions were good. Moreover, the watch came supplied with a ‘resilient sapphire crystal’ allaying my fears. With my interest suitably piqued, I readily accepted the offer and the watch duly arrived the following day.
The Junghans Meister S Chronoscope is offered in three versions. Two are supplied in stainless steel on a bracelet and one is presented in black PVD-treated stainless steel. This latter option is paired with a black synthetic rubber strap with prominent red stitching. I requested an example of this version, however, none were available. Instead, my press loan featured a green lacquered dial, black registers and 7-rows bracelet.
The unusual but attractive dial is best described as moss green or olive and the registers are black, dished, smooth and presented without snailing. A 12-hour chronograph register is positioned at 6 o’clock, while a 30-minute chronograph register is located at noon. Both are of equal size, feature the same style of silver-toned numerals and include prominent red hands. The subdial at 9 o’clock displays the running seconds and is much smaller than the adjacent registers. However, the size of the small seconds display is perfect as it counterbalances the day and date apertures positioned opposite at 3 o’clock.
The hour and minute hands are partially openworked and feature white luminescent fill two-thirds along their respective profiles. Interestingly, Junghans first used luminous materials back in 1907 when it employed a radium based substance. Thankfully, the brand now uses an ‘environmentally-friendly luminous substance’.
Silver-toned indexes, again lined with luminous material, denote the hours. Each index nestles within the rehaut, adding a delightful dose of style. The rehaut is anthracite / black and is marked with a minute track. This latter detail proves ideal when used in conjunction with the red-tipped central chronograph seconds hand. The black dial version, reference 027/4024.44, features a tachymeter scale on its rehaut.
I have photographed this model numerous times in various light conditions and, despite, my best efforts, I still don’t think my pictures adequately convey the beauty of this dial. Quite simply, this watch is gorgeous.
Measuring 45mm in diameter and 15.9mm in-depth, the Junghans Meister S Chronoscope is hardly malnourished. It is unashamedly a big watch which may overwhelm small wrists. However, for those individuals with generously proportioned arms, this teutonic creation looks and feels superb.
Consistent with other Junghans watches, the Meister S Chronoscope is keenly priced, costing £2,270 (RRP as at 29.7.2020). Based on its retail price, I came with certain expectations regarding the case execution of this model and its overall sense of quality. I report that this watch surpasses all of my expectations.
The case is imbued with many curving lines and each surface is notably smooth. Highly polished surfaces abound, albeit there are some isolated areas which are satin brushed. The 7-rows bracelet, on the other hand, blends gleaming and satin-brushed surfaces in relatively equal measure. The case and bracelet pairing works well.
The crown nestles between the shoulders of a protection device but remains simple to manipulate when required. The right-hand side of the case features many contours, especially near the underside of the crown and pushpieces. This area looks sublime and proves pleasing to touch.
Junghans has chosen to equip the Meister S Chronoscope with a solid caseback. Ordinarily, I favour a sapphire caseback, however, considering the overall quality of this watch and the costs incurred elsewhere I understand the brand’s omission of an exhibition caseback.
The watch has a stated water resistance of 20 bar which is a smidgen over 200 metres, proffering additional practicality and providing a further reason why this watch is ideally suited for daily wear.
The literature from Junghans refers to the ‘self-winding movement J880.1’, however, a search on the internet revealed the calibre is based upon the ETA Valjoux 7750. Frequent readers of ESCAPEMENT will know that I am a huge fan of this movement. Over the years it has been produced in vast numbers and yet I seldom hear of any reliability issues. Furthermore, a vast number of watchmakers are familiar with the ETA Valjoux 7750 and can readily service or repair it when required.
Most of all, the ETA Valjoux 7750 is affordable, allowing watch companies such as Junghans to offer watches equipped with this complication at very attractive prices. Unfortunately, many consumers are unaware of the complexity of a chronograph and, if it was not for ETA, chronograph ownership would inevitably cost more or necessitate brands using non-Swiss alternatives.
ETA typically offer watch companies different grades to choose from, including ‘standard’, ‘elabore’, ‘top’ and ‘chronometer’. Owing to the solid caseback, I was unable to ascertain the grade of this particular movement or if there was any additional embellishment.
The balance wheel has a frequency of 28,800 vph (4Hz) and the movement contains 25 jewels. Assuming the mainspring is fully wound, the watch will run autonomously for up to 48 hours.
For many years Junghans has demonstrated an incredible talent for design. Since 1927, Junghans has produced numerous attractive watches with highly intelligible dials. The Junghans Meister S Chronoscope upholds this reputation.
Currently, in the world of watches, green is undoubtedly on-trend. In the case of my press loan, the moss green or olive-coloured dial proved unusual. While many brands have opted for a full-on, ‘in your face’ shade of green, Junghans has been more subtle and, in my opinion, its chosen hue works wonderfully.
The case is beautifully executed and the bracelet readily flexes, sympathetically caressing the wrist. Everything looks and feels well made which is especially admirable considering the modest asking price of the watch. The Meister S Chronoscope is a big timepiece, however, for those individuals with modestly-sized wrists, Junghans does offer alternative options worthy of consideration, including the Meister Pilot ( ø 43.3mm) and Meister Telemeter ( ø 40.8mm).
Junghans has made a superb watch and by choosing to equip it with a sapphire crystal it has eradicated the reason for my historical reticence to reviewing its models. Now, with a blend of superb design, impressive quality and keen pricing, I suspect I will revisit this brand more and more in the years to come.
- Model: Junghans Meister S Chronoscope
- Reference: 027/4023.44
- Case: stainless steel; diameter 45.0 mm; height 15.9 mm; water resistance 20ATM (200m); sapphire crystal to the front and solid caseback.
- Functions: Hour; minutes; small seconds; day; date; chronograph
- Movement: movement J880.1; automatic movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); contains 25 jewels; power reserve = up to 48 hours
- Bracelet: 7-rows stainless steel bracelet with safety folding clasp.
- Price: £2270 (RRP as at 29.7.2020)