German Junghans is one of those watchmakers with excellent values, a range of quality designs, and a history that collectors tend to appreciate. It can also be frustratingly difficult to learn about the brand for novice watch-lovers who are raised on Instagram and tend to see the same watches pop up over and over again. Junghans is very traditional (as are most German watchmakers) when it comes to marketing, as they rely on their retailers to push the brands (for the most part). Why do I say all this? Because I want to discourage watch-lovers from ever walking away from a watch review just because “I haven’t seen that name before.”
My personal interest in Junghans goes back years, and this isn’t the first Junghans watch I’ve reviewed. That said, I’ve wanted to review this particular Junghans Meister Calendar for quite sometime. Why? Mainly because of the layout and of the calendar system as well as the price. These symmetrical “triple calendar” watches are not very common and are entirely uncommon at this price. No, it isn’t a perpetual calendar, but in exchange for making a few minor adjustments to the calendar now and then, you can enjoy the look and feel of a traditional, semi-dressy calendar watch for a really reasonable price.
The Meister collection is a handsome take on traditional elegance, which is probably the second most popular collection next to the Max Bill watches that are also produced by Junghans today. According to Junghans, the Meister collection was originally debuted in the 1960s and continues today as a legacy collection that includes a host of models, including this Meister Calendar.
Junghans produces the Meister Calendar in several dial colors — with a polished steel or rose-gold toned case and on either a selection of straps or matching steel bracelet. This particular Meister Calendar represents the opening price point and is reference 027/4906.00 with a blue dial and light brown horse leather strap (not too commonly used but very nice).
First, the one quirk about the watch that will make the Meister Calendar more or less appealing, depending on the type of consumer: In order to maintain a “vintage style” look, the Meister Calendar uses a plexiglass crystal — which they say is given a coating for additional scratch resistance. Very few high-end watches today are produced with plexiglass crystals; for the most part, synthetic sapphire crystals have replaced them. When I think of modern watches that use plexiglass on select models in addition to Junghans (neither Junghans or these other brands use plexiglass on all of their watches — just a few of them), Omega comes to mind with the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch, and Panerai uses it for a few pieces here and there.
Let me end the plexiglass crystal discussion by saying this: I believe Junghans might also produce a version of the Meister Calendar with a sapphire crystal. On the brand’s website, there is a statement on the product page that says “Upgrade your Junghans Meister to a sapphire crystal.” There is no link or additional information, but if you order from Junghans, this might be something to inquire about.
The highly convex plexiglass crystal is “box style,” meaning there is no upper bezel. The crystal sits over the entire case and it helps the watch feel larger than its 40.4mm-wide width might suggest. Actually, the entire case construction is very clever, as it is an attempt to make a thicker watch feel a lot thinner. It works. The 40mm-wide steel case is 12mm-thick with a mere 45mm lug-to-lug distance. The rounded top and rear of the case, as well as the style of the lugs, does a great job in reducing visual mass. Even though the case is 12mm-thick at its widest point, the pebble-style look of the watch helps it feels very comfortable and thin-looking when worn. The case is further water resistant to 30 meters.
Traditional elements on the watch abound, including the curved dial to match the case and the crystal. One rarely sees watches produced with curved dials like this. What is impressive is that Junghans was able to hide the relative thickness of the movement, as it has both a base movement and a module for the calendar information. The sunray finished blue dial has an almost purple tone to it, and the texture is fantastic because it has a bit of shine but doesn’t reflect to cause glare.
The crystal does, indeed, create some glare, but legibility is maintained through the strongly and properly sized dauphine hands and index-style hour markers. An essentially similar watch is available as a three-hand or chronograph variant for those who love the look but aren’t seeking a calendar watch.
As a calendar watch, the Meister Calendar offers the month, day of the week, date, and a moon phase indicator. I believe the movement is a complete calendar, which is a bit under an annual calendar in terms of one’s need to adjust the calendar during odd months. To adjust the calendar settings, one need only use the small inset pushers located around the sides of the case. What I really like is the traditional symmetrical layout of the information, as well as the use of windows (as opposed to all dials). A dial is used for the date indicator, and within it is a window for the moon phase indicator. Note that Junghans offers the watch with either English or German text for the calendar information.
Inside the watch looks to be a base Swiss ETA (or equivalent) automatic movement that has a module over it for the calendar information. Junghans calls it their J800.3 movement, and it operates at 4Hz with 38 hours of power reserve. You can view the movement, with its attractive level of polishing decoration, through the rear of the watch.
Fit and finishing, as well as design and value, are excellent for the Meister Calendar, as they are for most Junghans watches I’ve experienced. Those who long for the look of a complicated and symmetrical “triple calendar” watch that doesn’t cost a fortune should take a long, hard look at this piece. Between the various versions available, Junghans really does have a Mesiter for everyone. Price for this reference 027/4906.00 Junghans Meister Calendar watch is 1,990 Euros. Learn more at the Junghans website here.
>Model: Meister Calendar (reference 027/4906.00 as tested).
>Price: 1,990 Euros
>Size: 40.4mm-wide, 12mm-thick, and 45mm lug-to-lug distance.
>When reviewer would personally wear it: Easy daily wear for dressy or professional occasions. Pretty much anywhere a sport watch doesn’t fit.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Anyone who likes a classic minimalist design aesthetic who also wants a slick symmetrical calendar display.
>Best characteristic of watch: Excellent value for the money. Attractive dial and use of quality components. Exclusive mixture of design aesthetics and price. Comfortable and classic-feeling on the wrist.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Plexiglass crystal is certainly for enthusiasts but more mainstream buyers might want the sapphire crystal option. A bit of glare on the crystal given how domed it is. Limited information and story-telling on Junghans website makes it hard for consumers to connect with the product outside independent experiences with the brand.