In the 1950s, Junghans launched one of the most recognizable pilot watches when it was asked by the then newly established Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) to create a chronograph. This highly legible timepiece stood out for its bezel with twelve concave notches, which are also present on the three new additions to the Meister Pilot collection.
Meister Pilot Chronoscope
Two of the three new models are Meister Pilot Chronoscopes, meaning they have a chronograph function. Junghans opted, just like the original, for just two subdials and no date function. This latter might be disappointing for some, but it contributes to the clean and symmetrical look. Don’t mistake this for a Max Bill kind of minimalism, as for that, the new Meister Pilot Chronoscopes are even quite a departure from the original model. They are much more flamboyant, more like an airforce’s demonstration squadron like the ‘Thunderbirds,’ rather than those that enter actual combat situations. This is mainly due to the elaborate strap, which suits the theme, but for those who want to take things down a notch, replacing them will result in a watch that looks less loud.
A cleaner strap will also put more emphasis on the watch itself, and there Junghans went all in on the details. With a diameter of 43.3 mm is the Meister Pilot Chronoscope quite a substantial watch, but this is toned down by the Diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating on the case and bezel. For the navy blue dialed version, is this coating black. For the desert-colored dial, Junghans paired it with a black-brown variety. The unique bezel remains a treat, but also the shape of the lugs and the pushers give these chronographs quite a bit of charisma. The color theme of both is enticing, with the heritage underscored by the vintage signing of the Junghans name and red details acting as a call for action.
The Meister Pilot Chronoscope is powered by an automatic caliber J880.4. This is a robust and precise movement that Junghans, in the correct tool watch fashion, keeps hidden under a solid caseback. Secured by seven screws, the caseback features a so-called ‘nose art’ engraving on the navy blue model, while the desert-colored version has an engraving inspired by aviation. The caliber J880.4 has a power reserve of only 38 hours, and that is without the chronograph running. While this is hardly an issue when wearing and enjoying the watch, this number feels a bit low in comparison to other watches. However, the Meister Pilot Chronoscope has a welcome trick up its sleeve: a water resistance of 10ATM/100 meters. When constructing a pilot’s watch, brands don’t try to ensure such a high water resistance, but Junghans is, fortunately, the exception to this rule. Another treat on this watch is the domed sapphire crystal, which features an anti-reflective coating on both sides.
Meister Pilot Automatic
The third addition to the Meister Pilot collection is an automatic model, aptly dubbed the Meister Pilot Automatic. This one is, unfortunately, only available in navy blue. It has the same diameter as its chronograph siblings but is slightly thinner, with a thickness of 12.5 mm against 14.4 mm for the Chronoscope. It combines a subdial for the seconds at six o’clock with a date display at twelve. Junghans cut the window for this quite generously and divided the dates with red dashes, perfectly blending into the overall theme of the watch. The Meister Pilot Automatic is powered by caliber J880.1.6, which surprisingly also has a power reserve of just 38 hours. Again, this is just a number that will probably go unnoticed in everyday life, but it is also the only thing that doesn’t convince me from the start.
Both versions of the Chronoscope further tick all the boxes and impress with fun and thought-through details. The DLC coating and the dial design add even more charisma, and the water resistance of 10 ATM/100 meters is a welcome addition. The Navy blue version of the Chronoscope is limited to 300 pieces, while the other models aren’t limited. The prices are kept rather competitive, given what these Meister and Pilot’s offer. The Chronoscopes cost € 2,590 and the automatic € 1,990, or about $2,800 and $2,175 USD at time of writing.
For more info, visit Junghans, here