Of all the brands continuously flocking towards the “vintage” train as of late, Junghans is probably the trend’s most unexpected addition – especially considering how the German brand’s pedigree for a clean, minimalist design language is the sort of stuff that the fad is largely emulating. No matter, the newly announced Junghans Meister Driver Handaufzug (“Handwound”) is a welcome addition to the Baselworld 2016 lineup, and one with a pretty neat design muse dating all the way back to 1932 to back it up.
As the story goes, the first and second generations of the Junghans family were not just watchmakers, but genuine tinkerers and car enthusiasts of the earliest variety. So much so, in fact, that many of the brand’s first innovations were for automotive use, like dashboard clocks, and even a “speed-measuring device” patented in 1905 by the Junghans family. Over a century later, we’re introduced to the Junghans Meister Driver Handaufzug watch, inspired by the Maybach DS 8 Zeppelin – a legendary sport-luxury automobile built in 1932 by one of the most revered names in the automotive world. Why Maybach? Well, back in the day, the Junghans were well-known to be close friends and frequent collaborators with the Maybach family, hence the modern inspiration.
Given the brand’s early associations with the automotive industry, the Junghans Meister Driver Handaufzug is a continuing tradition of Junghans watches inspired by those motoring days. However, this time around, it’s drawing direct influence from a specific car – that Maybach DS 8, to be exact. In doing this, it exhibits some very nice detailing to prove those connections – including borrowing the color scheme of dark anthracite, cream and light gray, and two arabic dial options that hearken to vintage speedometers – all of which, were design notes on the DS 8. Even the leather straps exhibit the perforations and stitching designed to mimic the seats on automobiles from the early 1900s.Seeing as Junghans is much better known for its design sensibilities than movement manufacture, it should come as little surprise that the Junghans Meister Driver Handaufzug is fitted with a relatively base movement – in this case, the hand-wound ETA 7001 Peseux, characterized by a small seconds subdial at 6:00 and some relatively simple finishing. Other details like the conservative 37mm dimensions, domed acrylic crystal, white or beige Super-LumiNova (love it or leave it, this faux-aged signature of the vintage trend is clearly here to stay), and the subtly domed lacquer dial that’s been finished with a sunburst effect all lend the watch a distinct warmth and charm that really should please vintage purists and Junghans fans alike. But perhaps most impressive about the Junghans Meister Driver Handaufzug, further proof of Junghans once again representing a genuine value proposition, is the price – which will set collectors back $1,290 when the watch is available later this year.