As a school of design, Bauhaus brought the concepts of precise, bold minimalism into architecture, furniture, art and fashion. Since its founding in 1919, the school has created a devoted fan base of design professionals who incorporate the clean and thoughtful aesthetics into all aspects of product design. To celebrate the Centennial of the school’s founding, numerous watch manufacturers released limited special edition timepieces.
Junghans had a special connection to Bauhaus design through the artist max bill. He’d begun designing watches for Junghans in 1961 and the two had a long-term collaborative relationship resulting in a line of watches that brought precision function and beautiful design together into distinctly German watches.
max bill elaborates on his minimal, yet functional watch design, “The wristwatch corresponds even more perfectly to my own ideas; the one with the steel case, with the silver plated dial, the differentiated scale with minute numbers that also signify the seconds, and the full circle of hour numbers. And what I particularly like about this wristwatch are the fine luminous hands and the luminous dots in the quarters, the double dots at the top in the center, at full hour.”
Junghans max bill Automatic Bauhaus
Modern Junghans max bill Automatic watches retain the same design elements of the original but now in a 38mm size. Junghans offers them in three variations — with numbers, indexes, with or without date. They are also available in quartz models at a more accessible price point. While most of Junghans’ max bill watches are fitted with mineral crystal, since 2020 Junghans is also offering them with sapphire crystal.
For the 100th anniversary commemorations in 2020, Junghans chose to honor the special relationship they’d had with max bill with a new timepiece that incorporates many of the artist’s contributions and concepts to their watch collections. The watch was crafted with design cues that pay homage to the incredible Bauhaus building in Dessau.
The functions stay true to the minimalism of Max Bill’s most iconic designs with a three-hand central timekeeping and a date window. Touches of red on the hands and date wheel are representative of the famous red doors, bringing bright spots of color and interest to the clean design.
A matt white dial provides a clean backdrop to the simple, legible lines of the indices — long for hours and short for minutes — and sets off the red of the hands and date window beautifully. Super-LumiNova has been added in dots at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock on the dial and in red lume along the watch hands for low-light readability.
The 38mm stainless-steel case is unobtrusive and serves as a perfect frame to the clean dial while recalling the thin lines of Bauhaus window frames and panes. The watch is paired with a dark calf leather strap that contrasts with the white dial much as the dark glass façade contrasts with the bright walls of the school.
In charming contrast to the minimalism of the dial, the caseback features a very clever representation of the Bauhaus Academy building. The movement is visible behind the “windows” along the front of the school with the Bauhaus logo is prominent on the right side. The famous red door is present as a rectangle of bright color for a perfect finishing touch.
Inside the case and visible through the caseback is the self-winding J800.1 movement, based on the 2824-2 ETA movement. It features the Etacrhon regulator adjustment, the Incabloc shock protection, a Glucydur balance wheel and the Nivarox balance spring. The movement delivers 42 hours of power reserve and a reliable precision for long-term timekeeping with minimal adjustment.
A Perfect Homage
Fans of Bauhaus design, and max bill in particular, will find much to love in the Junghans max bill Automatic Bauhaus. The juxtaposition between the minimal, clean watch dial and the artistic detailed caseback gives the best of both worlds. It’s a beautiful watch and a fantastic homage to the partnership between max bill and Junghans that celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus school.
max bill Automatic Bauhaus, Reference: 027/4009.02
Case: 38mm x 10mm; stainless-steel
Movement: J800.1 self-winding automatic, base ETA 2824-2; 42 hours power reserve
Functions: Hours, Minutes, Seconds and date
Dial: matt white, luminous dots and hands with environmentally friendly Super-LumiNova
Strap: Dark calf leather with stainless steel buckle
Price: USD 1,400