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A New Watch for Junghans’ 200th Birthday

10 January 2023
A New Watch for Junghans’ 200th Birthday

Celebrating its 160th anniversary in 2021, Junghans has announced the Meister Fein Automatic Edition Erhard for the 200th birthday of the brand’s founder Erhard Junghans.

2022 was a colorful year for watch brands tha celebrating their anniversaries: Audemars Piguet celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Royal Oak, whilst Omega celebrated the 60th anniversary of James Bond. And, the first anniversary watch of 2023 comes from the German brand Junghans: Celebrating the 200th birthday of its founder Erhard Junghans, the brand announced the Meister Fein Automatic Edition Erhard to commemorate Junghan

Born 200 years ago, in 1823, in the Black Forest region of Germany, Erhard Junghans took his first step into business life by starting to work in a factory producing straw hats. He soon became the manager and one of the partners of the factory. However, in 1859, he left this hat factory, bought a land where the Junghans factory is now located and founded Junghans in 1861. Established as a watch parts factory, Junghans produced cost-effective watch parts with modern production techniques in its early days. The first Junghans watches were produced in 1866, shortly after Edhard Junghans’ death. His son Arthur Junghans, who took over the management, transformed the watch parts factory into a large American-style enterprise and Junghans became one of the most successful and largest watch manufacturers in the early 20th century.

A New Watch for Junghans’ 200th Birthday
In 1918, Arthur Junghans built his famous terrace building in the Black Forest, designed on a slope to make the most efficient use of light in his workshops.

Those years, The Schramberg regions was the center of the watch world and Junghans factory was also located there. 5000 men and women were producing about 9000 wall clocks and alarm clocks in a day in these factories. Junghans, on the other hand, had already become one of the big names in the industry, producing 9,000 watches a day. In those years, only Omega and Rolex surpassed Junghans in terms of production.

A New Watch for Junghans’ 200th Birthday
Swiss artist Max Bill designed the famous ceramic kitchen clocks for Junghans in the 1950s and 60s, as well as wristwatches for the brand.
A New Watch for Junghans’ 200th Birthday

In the following years, the German watch industry emerged from the WWI with little damages, yet WWII dealt the industry a much heavier blow. During WWII years, the German air and naval armies focused on watches with navigation features, and brands such as A. Lange & Söhne, Bifora and Junghans voluntarily produced watches with navigation features for the armies. In addition to watches, factories were also used to produce other equipment for the war effort. This led to the decline of the German watch industry. On the other hand, America, which like Germany was at war, lost its dominance in the watch industry, while Switzerland, already the home of watchmaking, grew its share. During and after the Second World War, some German watch brands went bankrupt and disappeared into the dustbin of history. One of the brands that managed to survive was Junghans.

For Junghans, the next century would be the years of the most important change of hands. Dr. Hans-Jochem Steim and his son Hannes bought the brand in 2009. In 2011, to accompany the celebration of the company’s 150th anniversary, the legendary Meister Linie, with roots dating back to the 1930s, was revived. Two years ago, the brand celebrated its 160th anniversary and announced the Junghans Meister Signature Handaufzug Edition 160. This year, for Erhard Junghans’ 200th birthday, the brand produced the Meister Fein Automatic Edition Erhard limited series.

Meister Fein Automatic Edition Erhard

Meister Fein Automatic Edition Erhard watches come with two versions: white and yellow gold cases, reflecting the brand’s distinctive simple style. The 39.5 mm diameter cases are accompanied by thin bezels. The simple white dial is designed with long Roman numerals. The brand’s historical logo from the 1910s is engraved at 12 o’clock. The watches come on a black leather strap with a white or yellow gold buckle.

At the heart of the series is the automatic caliber J800.1, with a power reserve of 38 hours. The open caseback features a two-hand gold rotor with Erhard Junghans’ portrait, and his signature is also engraved on the caseback. With its unique simple designs and affordable prices, Junghans is still one of the German watch brands with a story to tell.