In the 1950s, Junghans launched one of the most recognizable pilot’s watches when asked by the newly formed Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) to create a chronograph. This highly legible watch is distinguished by its 12-indented bezel, which also appears on three new additions to the Meister Pilot collection.

Meister pilot chronograph
Two of the three new models are Meister Pilot Chronographs, meaning they have a stopwatch function. Junghans chose, like the original, to have only two sub-dials and no date function. This may be disappointing for some, but it contributes to a neat and balanced appearance. This is not to be confused with the minimalism of the Max Bill, for that reason the new Meister Pilot Chronograph is even more radically different from the original model. They were much more flashy, more like an air force demonstration squadron like the ‘Thunderbirds’, than squadrons entering an actual combat situation. This is mainly due to the intricate straps, which fit the theme, but for those looking to simplify things, replacing them will make the watch look less fussy.

A neater strap would also add more emphasis to the watch itself and there Junghans has paid attention to detail. At 43.3 mm in diameter, the Meister Pilot Chronoscope is a fairly substantial watch, but this is tempered by the diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating on the case and bezel. For the navy blue dial version, is this coating available in black. As for the desert dial, Junghans paired it with a dark brown dial. The unique bezel is still a highlight, but the shape of the lugs and pushers also give these chronographs quite a bit of appeal. The color theme of both is attractive, with heritage emphasized by the classic symbol of the Junghans name and red details serving as a call to action.

The Meister Pilot chronograph is equipped with the J880.4 automatic movement. This is a robust and precise movement that Junghans, in precision tool watch style, has hidden under a sturdy case back. Secured with seven screws, the back features an engraving known as ‘nose art’ on the navy blue model, while the desert version has an aviation-inspired engraving. The caliber J880.4 has a power reserve of just 38 hours, and that’s without a running chronograph. While this is hardly an issue when wearing and enjoying the watch, this number seems a bit low compared to other watches. However, the Meister Pilot Chronograph has a welcome trick up its sleeve: 10ATM/100-meter water resistance. When making pilot’s watches, brands do not try to guarantee such high water resistance, but fortunately Junghans is the exception to this rule. Another interesting thing on this watch is the domed sapphire crystal, which has anti-reflective coating on both sides.

Automatic Meister Pilot
The third addition to the Meister Pilot collection is an automatic model, aptly dubbed the Meister Pilot Automation. Unfortunately, this one only comes in navy blue. It has the same diameter as its chronograph siblings but is a bit thinner, with a thickness of 12.5mm compared to the Chronograph’s 14.4mm. It combines a seconds sub-dial at six o’clock with a date display at twelve o’clock. Junghans has cut this window quite generously and divided the date with a red dash, which blends perfectly with the overall theme of the watch. The Meister Pilot Automation is powered by the J880.1.6 caliber, which surprisingly also has a power reserve of just 38 hours. Again, this is just a number that probably won’t be noticed in everyday life, but it’s also the only thing that didn’t convince me in the first place.

Both versions of the Chronoscope tick all the boxes and impress with interesting and well-thought-out details. The DLC coating and dial design add even more appeal, and the 10 ATM/100 meter water resistance is a welcome addition. The navy blue version of the Chronoscope is limited to 300 pieces, while the other models are not limited. Pricing is kept pretty competitive, based on what this Meister and Pilot offer. The chronograph costs €2,590 and the automatic watch costs €1,990, which equates to approximately $2,800 and $2,175 USD at the time of writing.

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