As is the trend with the industry, auto racing often plays the muse for many of the horological manufactures, serving as inspiration for the pieces that make their way to market and onto the wrists of aficionados. Now, German watch brand Junghans is releasing the Meister Driver Automatic watch that is meant to embody the age when auto racing was the ultimate pursuit of the distinguished gentleman, and car travel was a stylish adventure. The new watch joins the brand’s already strong Meister Driver series, which includes a Meister Driver chronograph collection and more.
The connection between racing and Junghans is more than superficial. The strong link between the two has been in place since end of the 19th century. Arthur Junghans, son of founder Erhard Junghans, was a close friend of Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach. Yes, famed last names. Arthur purchased one for the first test cars for Daimler in 1892. At the beginning of the 20th century the company produced car clocks. From there, numerous innovations were created: Dr. Oskar Junghans, son of Arthur, developed a speed-measuring device to help more accurately log speeds. His brother Helmut developed the Viadicator driving direction indicator. This passion for automobiles has spread from generation to generation, including the current owners of Junghans, Dr. Hans-Jochem and Hannes Steim. In fact, the Steim car collection in Schramberg, contains a sampling of cars that represent over 110 years of automobile history.
Junghans Meister Driver Automatic Watch
For the Meister Driver Automatic, Junghans has sought to capture the essence of the culture through astute color selection, as well as refinements and font selection for the numerals around the dial. Two colors ways have been produced: green and brown. For the green, British Racing Green is the dominant color, while the brown hue is meant to recall the leather cap and driving goggles of the race-loving gentleman. Both color options are housed in a gold–plated case measuring a refined 38.4mm.
Large minute markers on the dial are meant to be easily legible while traveling at high speeds. Additionally, the markers are done in increments up to 60 versus the more traditional hour indices counting to 12. The emphasis herein is placed on the speed traveled and further links the piece to is racing inspiration. The markers are filled with luminous material and are easily legibility in low light situations. Black Dauphin hands also aid in clear legibility and offer a hint of nostalgia, as well.
The date indicator on the watch, located at the 6 o’clock position — or in this case the 30-minute position — stands out on the dial thanks to its sleek black lacquer with strong contrast to the dial. Finally, in an ultimate wink to the auto-racing enthusiast, the perforated under-layer of the strap is based on the seats of classic historical cars. Powered by the J800.1 self-winding movement, the Meister Driver Automatic offers 38 hours of power reserve and will retail for $1199.
Impressions of the Junghans Meister Driver Automatic
For me, what really stands out about the Meister Driver Automatic is the change in numerals on the dial from the traditional hour markers to large minute digits. It is a bold and provocative move. The size of the case, however, may prove to be a polarizing element, as it is too small for some and yet perfect for others.