Junghans

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The Junghans factory in Schramberg at the 19th Century
Junghans Logo
Junghans

German watch manufacturer

The beginnings

Erhard Junghans (1823-1870)

On 15 April 1861 Erhard Junghans founded, along with his brother-in-law Jakob Zeller-Tobler, in Schramberg the company "Junghans and Tobler". Thanks to modern manufacturing techniques Junghans began at that time in a cost effective way with the production of watch components. In 1866 the first watches under the name of Junghans were designed and built by their own master watchmakers.

When Erhard Junghans died in 1870, his wife took over the company, then from 1875 the two sons Erhard jun. and Arthur. The second one had thoroughly studied the efficient production facilities of the new technology during his travels to America. Thus many production-related innovations found their way into the company, whose creative director, designer and technical director Arthur Junghans was himself. The high-volume watch production was well received, as the rationally manufactured watches offered more value at a good price.

Junghans ad from 1933
© Junghans

The 1886 started production of pocket watches the company had suffered several setbacks. Only through merger with the company Thomas Haller, Schwenningen, which since the late 1890s had successfully produced simple pocket watches, the production range at Junghans for this kind of watches was expanded. In 1888 the company introduced a five-pointed star in the middle of a "J" as trademark. In 1890 the star got eight points. In the same year the legendary Calibre 10 was introduced, which as the standard movement with alarm function was used unchanged for fifty years.

1903 the vision of Arthur Junghans became reality: The company was the world's largest watch factory. With over 3,000 employees were produced more than 3 million watches annually. A spatial expansion at the manufacturing plant was soon required. It was the terrace building that by his step-like structure offered daylight to each workplace in the watch manufacturing.

Around 1912 Junghans, as one of the first companies, developed a radioactive luminous color for noctilucent hands of pocket watches and alarm clocks.

1928 the production of wristwatches was started. Initially purchased movements from Ruhla were used, but already from 1930 an own calibre was produced.

Even after the Second World War, the innovative spirit of the master watchmakers of the house, despite removal of the factory, was unbroken. Already in 1946 the first wristwatch chronograph movement, the legendary J88, was developed. The in-house developed and manufactured calibres of the J-series with manual or automatic winding are counted to be among the best in the 1950s.

Innovation by quartz and solar technology and radio control

Junghans wristwatch
designed by Max Bill

On 15 December 1956 the company was taken over by the Diehl Group. From 1957 to 1962 the Swiss artist Max Bill created for the company wall clocks, table clocks and wristwatches in a simple, timeless Bauhaus design, which today enjoy extremely popularity and now are re-edited in a series "max bill by junghans".

1962 the first electro-mechanical wristwatch of the company entered the market. In 1967 followed the first big quartz clock Astro-Chron and in 1970 the first German quartz wristwatch Astro-Quarz. This pioneering work in modern time measurement yielded international recognition: in 1972 the company was the official timekeeper of the Olympic Games in Munich. For the first time colored photo-finish was used, and the precision of the measurements was 1/100 seconds. In 1976 the manufacture of mechanical watch movements was ended completely and the focus of all development efforts was now fully set on perfecting the quartz watch.

1985 the first mass-produced radio-controlled table clock was presented. It was able to independently synchronize with the atomic clock of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt in Braunschweig. Even a year later, in 1986, the world's first radio-controlled solar watch RCS1 could be presented. The world's first radio-controlled wristwatch followed with the model MEGA 1 in the year 1990. Since then, the brand is known for quartz watches with solar power in conjunction with radio control.

For the 15th anniversary of the MEGA 1 in 2005 Junghans introduced the Mega 1000 as a tribute to the classic.

Reorientation in the holding company EganaGoldpfeil

In 2000 the watch division was taken over by the EganaGoldpfeil Holding, where it was looked after by the well-known watch expert Heinz W. Pfeifer. The defense technology remained at the Diehl Group. Had the former company's management still held in continued distancing from the traditional, but since the 1980s resurgent mechanics, Pfeifer, who had already led the brands Glashütte Original and Union to a spectacular new success, strongly engaged for a fundamental reorientation of the Junghans collection towards the mechanical watch. Under the motto "From Tradition to Future", the collection has been radically revised. Clearly structured, it is now based on three pillars and thus reflects the main features of the corresponding brand again, "Tradition, Innovation and Continuity."

Thus, the company unveiled at Baselworld 2006 two first own mechanical watch movements and thus emphasized the former, in the meantime, unfortunately, shamefully neglected manufacture expertise of the brand. It was the new Calibre J890, a classic column wheel chronograph movement with date and power reserve indication, and also the new calibre J830 with date and central seconds. Both calibres work with a frequency of 28,800 semi-oscillations per hour and have a power reserve of more than 50 hours. They are also refined with stripes of type "Côtes de Genève" on bridge and rotor. For the decoration of the movement blued screws are used.

For the first time these fine finished movements were used in the series "Arthur Junghans 1861". The prices were between 2.390, - € to 3990, - € and were intended as a real challenge to the established manufacturers.

Junghans Meister (collection) and Erhard Junghans (brand)

Junghans Meister Attaché Agenda 4763
© Junghans

The 2006/2007 presented collection Junghans Meister consisted solely of watches with mechanical movements that occurred in a tasteful, timeless designed exterior. Ranges such as Attaché Agenda, Calendar, Power Reserve, Automatic and Chronoscope sowie Pilot Automatic and Pilot Chronoscope testified the intention of returning to the dance floor of the top-quality classical watch.

As a further indication of this was the creation of a new daughter brand named Erhard Junghans in 2007. It was named in honor of the Junghans founder and feels avowedly committed to the demands of Haute Horlogerie. (The range „Arthur Junghans 1861“ mentioned above was continued under the name "Creator"; the mentioned movements were exclusively reserved for Erhard Junghans. For details on this brand and offer see: Erhard Junghans.)

Also the Junghans collection was revised: The model Avantgarde Worldtimer combined conventional, but now decentrally placed display on the dial with digital display. Mega 1000 was redesigned, Anytime gathered the quartz, radio and quartz chronograph models and Anytime Lady consisted entirely of a women's collection with quartz watches.

New beginning with local owner family

After the much-discussed breakup of the EganaGoldpfeil holding the future of Junghans was on a knife edge. Due to the good reputation of the brand and tradition, not least because of the decisions already taken towards a new orientation, the value of the company was not in question. Therefore, many applicants came forward who were interested in the continuation of the company. The generally accepted choice in 2009 fell on the local entrepreneur Dr. Hans-Jochem Steim, who along with his son Hannes Steim took over the company. Dr. Steim, a freeman of the city Schramberg had received an e-mail by the Mayor on 22 September 2008, where it was asked whether he could imagine to save Junghans.

In January 2009 Steim father and son decided, to jump on board with two-third (the father) plus one-third (the son). Both have a close affinity to watch themselves - and so are continuing a family tradition. Over a hundred years ago the Carl Haas GmbH, owned by the Kern-Liebers group and today led by Hannes Steim, had supplied Junghans with precision springs. And from the year 1930 the company, also based at Schramberg, had produced Nivarox hairsprings for mechanical movements.

The former Junghans Board, consisting of Werner Wicklein and Matthias Stotz, has been retained. In the meantime the brand "Erhard Junghans" has been reintegrated into Junghans and now plays the role of a collection, similar to the "Max Bill" collection. Werner Wicklein died in May 2010.

150th Anniversary in 2011

Junghans Meister Chronometer Jubilee Model 2011
© Junghans

In the year 2011 Junghans is celebrating its 150th Anniversary. On this occasion, two limited edition models of the Meister range are re-edited: the "Meister Chronometer" is launched with 150 copies, while the "Meister Chronoscope" is produced in a limited edition of 1,500 pieces. Both anniversary models with their movement J820.1 and automatic calibre J880.1 remember of the 1950s, as Junghans was one of the largest chronometer manufacturers in the world.

Also to the jubilee appears in the series "Max Bill" the design classic "max bill Chronoscope" in solid gold and in a limited edition of 150 pieces.

Address

Junghans Uhren GmbH
Geißhaldenstrasse 49
D-78713 Schramberg

Phone: +49 (0) 74 22 / 18-0
Telefax: +49 (0) 74 22 / 18-665

Weblinks