A Yearly Display of Form and Function:
Introducing the Junghans Max Bill Edition Set 2019

Article By: Logan Hannen


2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus, the German design school founded by Walter Gropius. German watch brand Junghans has had a long standing relationship with Bauhaus designer Max Bill, after whom this staple collection in their line is named, and the brand has chosen to celebrate with a set of both a watch and table clock they’re calling the max bill Edition Set 2019.

The Junghans max bill Edition Set 2019

There are two components to this set – an automatic chronograph as well as a table clock. The automatic chronograph appears at first glance to be the same automatic max bill Chronoscope currently in the Junghans lineup, but closer inspection reveals some subtle, but tasteful changes.

The first of these is the inclusion of a day-date complication at 3 o’clock, rather than the standard Chronoscope’s solo date function. This is especially interesting given that the movement powering the watch, the J880.2 automatic chronograph movement, is the same as in the standard Chronoscope, essentially making the movement powering the 2019 Edition a modified version of their existing caliber. The dial on the 2019 Edition also features no Arabic minute markers on the outer edge of the dial beyond the indices, unlike the standard Chronoscope, as well as different font for the chronograph subdials.

The Junghans max bill Edition Set 2019 Caseback
Source: Junghans

The other major differences are the strap and caseback. The strap, in this case, is described by Junghans as a tapered cut leather strap, a thick, sheer-cut piece of black leather with a natural finish. It’s a more rugged option than the standard, thin leather that is usually equipped on max bill watches. The caseback also features a unique engraving, the spiral design from Max Bill’s “Fifteen Variations on the Same Theme,” a set of designs done by Max Bill based on fundamental geometric ideas. It also features his signature at the bottom, as is typical of all max bill watches.

The Junghans max bill Edition Set 2019 Desk Clock
Source: Junghans

The desk clock that comes with the set is also mechanically powered, manually wound and featuring an eight day power reserve. Its dial is much more reminiscent of the standard max bill time-only edition, but the backside of it features the same swirl design as the Chronoscope limited edition in the set, helping to unify both items. Its construction is wooden, with a black piano lacquer finish.

The Damage
Limited to 222 pieces, the Junghans max bill Edition Set 2019 is set to retail for EUR 3,475.

The Take
Junghans is a brand that has become increasingly interesting to me in recent memory. Their Bauhaus heritage is, admittedly, far more direct than other German brands like NOMOS, giving the watches in the max bill line an added sense of authenticity. This set, however beautiful, still leaves me with a sense that it just isn’t special enough at its core. The desk clock is interesting, as it offers the only desk clock in the max bill range with a manually wound movement, but the watch feels more like an afterthought than part of the original plan.

Frankly, I’ve never understood the idea of a max bill chronograph to begin with. To me, it feels very much antithetical to what the idea of the max bill line stands for. And while beautifully executed, much like a more Bauhaus IWC Portuguese, it still doesn’t sing to me. This one might just be an issue of personal taste, but it definitely influences my perception of the set as a whole.