Junghans Max Bill: Minimalist Bauhaus-Style Watches
The Junghans Max Bill is one of the most famous Bauhaus-style watches. The collection's top models feature automatic chronograph movements. There are also state-of-the-art, radio-controlled watches with perpetual calendars under the name "MEGA."
5 Reasons to Buy a Junghans Max Bill
- Recognizable minimalist design influenced by Bauhaus style
- Designed by Max Bill, a student of the Bauhaus
- High-quality German watches
- Junghans Max Bill MEGA with a radio-controlled movement and perpetual calendar
- Mechanical watches for under 1,000 USD
From Kitchen Clocks to Wristwatches
The Junghans Max Bill wristwatch takes the tenet of "form follows function" to heart. Its timeless design focuses on what's essential and is wonderfully easy to read. It is one of the most famous Bauhaus-style watches and currently comes in a number of variations: from extremely simple three-hand watches with manual calibers to automatic watches with a date display, all the way to chronographs. These stopwatches are listed under the name Max Bill Chronoscope and powered by the proven ETA Valjoux 7750.
A round case, domed plexiglass, narrow hands, and an especially tidy dial are the most important details of the Junghans Max Bill. Delicate lines mark the hours and minutes, with the hour indices extending well past the minute scale. The Max Bill is available either with indices only or with both indices and Arabic numerals. Small luminous dots at 3, 6, and 9 o'clock and a pair of luminous dots at 12 form another distinguishing feature.
The collection's highlight is the quartz-powered Max Bill MEGA with a radio receiver. This radio-controlled watch deviates by a maximum of 0.02 seconds per year, putting its accuracy well above and beyond that of any mechanical timepiece. Even without access to a radio signal, the watch still has a maximum annual deviation of only eight seconds. What's more, it also has a perpetual calendar that can run correctly without any input from radio signals until 2400.
Junghans brought the first Max Bill wristwatch to market in 1961. There was no doubt that its inspiration came from the 1950s Max Bill kitchen clock. Over the decades, its design has changed very little. What was seen as modern in the 1960s is considered timeless today. Few wristwatches are as closely connected to Bauhaus style as the Junghans Max Bill.
How much does a Junghans Max Bill cost?
|Model||Price (approx.)||Diameter||Mechanical movement|
|Max Bill Chronoscope||1,500 USD||40 mm||✓|
|Max Bill Automatic||830 USD||38 mm||✓|
|Max Bill MEGA||760 USD||38 mm||–|
|Max Bill Hand-Winding||570 USD||34 mm||✓|
|Max Bill Ladies||490 USD||32.7 mm||–|
|Max Bill Quartz||450 USD||38 mm||–|
Prices for Mechanical Watches
The mechanical Junghans Max Bill models are among the collection's most popular. They are the closest thing to the original Max Bill watches and have a certain artisanal watchmaking charm. There are extra flat manual pieces without a date display, automatic watches with a date, and even chronograph editions. In terms of dial color, you can choose from silver, black, gray, or anthracite. In addition, you can select from watches with Arabic numerals and indices or with indices only.
You can purchase a manual Junghans Max Bill new for just over 560 USD, while pre-owned examples sell for as little as 550 USD. The J805.1, based on the ETA 2801-2, ticks away inside this 34-mm timepiece. Thanks to this movement, the final watch is only 9 mm thick. If you'd prefer a Milanese bracelet to a leather strap, plan to spend around 640 USD. The gold-plated model on a leather strap costs about 660 USD.
If 34 mm is too small for you, you may enjoy the Junghans Max Bill Automatic. With a diameter of 38 mm, this timepiece feels a bit more modern. This automatic watch is available with or without a date display. Prices for no-date models in mint condition sit around 830 USD. You can save around 110 USD by purchasing a pre-owned timepiece. Those with a date display cost only slightly more. Even the gold-plated editions are relatively affordable at just under 900 USD.
The 40-mm Junghans Max Bill Chronoscope chronograph is the collection's most expensive model, selling for some 1,500 USD. However, you can find pre-owned examples for around 1,100 USD. On the other hand, gold-plated pieces change hands for about 1,600 USD new.
Prices for Quartz Watches
Anyone who values accuracy and precision above all else should take a look at the Junghans Max Bill Quartz . Due to their construction, these quartz watches are much more accurate than their mechanical counterparts. In terms of size and design, however, the differences are minimal and only appear upon closer inspection. These 38-mm Bauhaus watches feature a date display at 3 o'clock and are only 7.9 mm thick. Prices for never-worn timepieces sit around 500 USD. Pre-owned, these watches go for about 430 USD. The gold-plated editions require a marginally larger investment of 460 to 530 USD.
The most impressive of Junghans' quartz watches is the Max Bill MEGA with a radio-controlled movement and perpetual calendar. Thanks to its multi-frequency receiver, this watch boasts unrivaled accuracy across much of the globe. Theoretically speaking, it should only deviate by 0.006 seconds per million years. Without a radio signal, its annual deviation is a still-impressive eight seconds. Its Intelligent Time Correction is what makes this watch truly special. Developed in-house by Junghans, this technology checks the position of the second hand 1,440 times every 24 hours and compares it to the time signal received by radio. If there has been any deviation, it then automatically corrects the hand's position.
While the second hand on most quartz watches advances once every second, this timepiece's central second hand moves every half a second. Junghans calls this Smart Hand Motion . The Junghans Max Bill MEGA costs around 760 USD new. Pre-owned models are currently hard to come by.
Prices for Junghans Max Bill Women's Watches
The Junghans Max Bill also has a large female fan base. That is why this German manufacturer also produces smaller editions of this minimalist wristwatch. A precise quartz movement ticks away inside these 32.7-mm timepieces and allows for a thickness of 6.9 mm. The leather straps come in various colors, such as beige, blue, and red, as well as classic black. There are also models with a Milanese bracelet. The gold-plated versions are especially feminine. A mint-condition Junghans Max Bill Ladies demands around 490 USD. Expect to pay around 30 dollars more for a gold-plated model.
The Origins of the Junghans Max Bill
The history of the Junghans Max Bill stretches back decades. Based in the small town of Schramberg in southwestern Germany, the watch manufacturer commissioned Swiss architect, artist, and designer Max Bill to create a kitchen watch with a timer in the early 1950s. Bill got to work and designed the Junghans kitchen clock together with his students. They initially equipped it with an Exakta caliber with an eight-day power reserve, followed later by quartz movements. Max Bill had been a student at the Bauhaus in Dessau and was also one of the founders of the Ulm School of Design. Neither of these German schools survived even two decades, but they both would end up having a major influence on modern design. To this day, Junghans continues to make table and wall clocks with quartz or radio-controlled movements for their Max Bill collection. These timekeepers cost between 280 and 590 USD.