Review Junghans Meister Agenda [live pics, price]

The Bauhaus on the wrist, or a distinctive design of the “made in Germany” watch in other words. We are reviewing Junghans Meister Agenda.

So far, German horology has been present on our website mainly thanks to brands as Lange & Sohne, Glashutte Original and Nomos. Junghans is joining them today. We are writing about it for the first time, so it’s worth mentioning a few facts from the brand’s history.

Junghans Meister Agenda
Junghans Meister Agenda

History

First of all, Junghans is not a new brand; it was established in 1861 by Erhard Junghans and his brother in law Jakob Zaller-Tobler. Initially, it was only concerned with watch manufacturing (with a great success). The sales volume reaching 3mln units per year proved its popularity at that time! It was the biggest watch manufacturer in the world in 1903. First wristwatches were introduced by the company 33 years later, in 1936. In that period the Meister collection also had its debut, which is now considered iconic in the brand’s portfolio. Another milestone in the Junghans’s history emerged in the 1950s thanks to Max Bill, Swiss painter, sculptor, architect and designer who was assigned the task to design a kitchen clock, which the Bauhaus student completed perfectly. In 1961 it lived to see its wrist version and since then, in the next few decades remained the most recognizable piece in the brand’s offer. Over the years, Junghans’ star has faded slightly; the watchmaker was seduced by the quartz revolution, succumbing to the “battery watches” trend. At the beginning of the 21st century it was facing serious financial problems, which led to the change of its owner in 2009 when the brand became a company managed by the Steim family from Schramberg. Currently, in the German manufacturer’s range we can find men’s and ladies’ timepieces, mechanical as well as quartz. For the purpose of our review we have picked a unit from the mentioned earlier Meister line – Agenda model, with an unusual complication displaying the week number.

Design

Junghans Meister Agenda
Junghans Meister Agenda

It was referred to as “grandad’s watch” by my friends who had seen it on my wrist, in the positive way of course. It’s difficult not to see the reference to the vintage style – the 1960s Meister line pieces in this case. I personally see this distinctive design as the biggest asset of the collection, certainly standing out against the backdrop of the competition.

Junghans Meister Agenda
Junghans Meister Agenda

The stainless steel case is 40.4mm in diameter and 12.2mm high. Its clever design makes it seem much thinner than it actually is (7-8mm at the most). This has been achieved by narrowing the case from the caseback side and use of a convex crystal, joining the casing in unusual way. Junghans’ silvered dial is domed by the rim and surrounded by the minute scale, whose 12, 3, 6 and 9 indices are applied, the rest is painted. Both types are large and well readable. The hour and minute hands have been sword-shaped and treated with a small amount of luminous material. Both, the minute and seconds hand are bent at the end.

Junghans Meister Agenda
Junghans Meister Agenda

The dial also contains two little sub-dials. The one at 12 o’clock indicates the current week number and it’s adjusted by a little corrector positioned at 10 o’clock near one of the lugs. This function might be absolutely useless for an average Joe, but I’m aware that it might be appreciated by people working for companies where production cycle, budged or reports are governed by weeks. This sub-dial is the weakest point of the timepiece, in my opinion. It somewhat spoils nearly ideal harmony of the composition of the watch, it’s the number of digits placed on it, to be precise, which doesn’t blend with the rest. The second sub-dial tells us how much power reserve is left; it ranges from 0 to just above 45. The extra dash on the scale shows that the reserve can be higher than 45h affecting its symmetry at the same time. Both sub-dials create dimples in the main dial, which helped to avoid sharp edges – I like it a lot.

Junghans Meister Agenda
Junghans Meister Agenda

The composition is completed by two little windows; the one on the left gives us the current day of the week, whereas the one to the right the date. The design of the movement and added modules caused the date disk to be placed very deep, making the number visible only while looking at the right angle. This problem doesn’t apply to the day of the week window. Both of them are nicely chamfered.

Junghans Meister Agenda
Junghans Meister Agenda

At the top, the watch is protected by the convex Plexiglass crystal with SICRALAN coating, increasing scratch resistance. After wearing it on my wrist for nearly 2 weeks I didn’t notice any scuff marks. The crystal itself is joined with the case (WR30m) is such way that when observed from its side it seems to be taking up nearly a half of the unit’s total thickness. A brown horseskin strap with stainless steel buckle complements the Meister Agenda model.

Movement

Junghans Meister Agenda - Cal. J810.5
Junghans Meister Agenda – Cal. J810.5

The German manufacturer has decided to use an automatic movement marked as J810.5 (based on ETA 2892-2 with Soprod 9075 module). The calibre, for this price range, has been quite nicely decorated: the main plate is grained, the rotor has been given the Geneva stripes finish with engraved firm’s name, it also has blued screws. Everything can be closely seen through a glass caseback secured by 5 screws. The mentioned J810.5 movement works with 4Hz (28,000 bph) frequency, known from most watches; it contains 28 jewels and guarantees (according to the scale) 47h of uninterrupted service. That’s enough theory. In practice it stops when the hand of the power reserve indicator approaches 2.5h mark. In the final stage I’ve also noted the highest changes in its accuracy, however, it works perfectly when left alone with the hand positioned in the middle of the scale (15-30h reserve).

Junghans Meister Agenda - Cal. J810.5
Junghans Meister Agenda – Cal. J810.5

While staying on the wrist during quite an active day, Junghans “charges” to the level of 35h on its power reserve scale. It’s not an issue at all as it can be wound manually at any time. The crown is very comfortable is use because of the shape of the case; the only thing that might be annoying is a loud rotor, the calibre itself is not of the most quiet ones either.

Impressions

Junghans Meister Agenda
Junghans Meister Agenda

Junghans reminded me about itself when I was passing by one of the shop windows last year. It was exactly then, when I came up with the idea of bringing closer one of the timepieces made by our western neighbours. My personal favourite is the Max Bill collection, although Meister Agenda does not differ much in terms of design and complication displaying the week number is something, which we had never written about before in our reviews.

Junghans Meister Agenda
Junghans Meister Agenda

The price tag shows 2.650Euro (in this range its main competitors are brands as Longines, Nomos, Frederique Constant or Maurice Lacroix) and I think it’s reasonable. For that money we get the watch with an extraordinary look and correctly done movement. Some people might be disappointed by the loud sound of its rotor, other by the deeply set date window, but then all it takes is to have a look at it as a whole thing and we’ll forget about its flaws straight away. Meister Agenda smuggles in its design an irresistible charm, which accompanied timepieces manufactured in 1960s as hardly any other watch.

Junghans Meister Agenda
Junghans Meister Agenda

In (+)
– great design
– plenty of well manufactured details

In (-)
– loud oscillating weight
– movement “stops” earlier than it should according to the power reserve

Junghans Meister Agenda
Ref: 027/4364.00
Movement: J810.5 (base ETA), ~47h power reserve, 28.800 A/h, date, day, power reserve and week number indication
Dial: silvered with steel, applied indices at 12, 3, 6, 9
Case: 40,4mm, steel, Plexiglass
Water resistance: 30m
Strap: brown, horseskin strap
Limitation: —
Price: 2.650 Euro

Watch provided for testing by Jubitom.

Photo: Adam Gawenda, Tomasz Kiełtyka