In recent years, German watchmaking soared to even greater heights, with both big and smaller brands introducing high quality timepieces that offer strong value, while retaining their very own Teutonic identity. Today we look at a trio of novelties from three uniquely German brands: Junghans, Sinn and NOMOS Glashütte.
Let us begin with Junghans and the Max Bill Edition 2017, packaged in an effortlessly cool limited edition set. Based in Schramberg, in the south-western Germany instead of the better known watch-hub town of Glashütte in the Eastern, Junghans is in its own world, which also explains its unique styling.
We have covered the Max Bill watches of Junghans before, but if this is your first encounter with the sleek, distraction-free German design, you have to know that Max Bill was a famed Bauhaus artist and scholar first and foremost. The 1956 Max Bill kitchen clock became the template for all Max Bill timepieces, and in 1961 Max Bill designed his first wristwatches. Utilitarianism meets timeless style in the Max Bill design, adhering to the Bauhaus principles.
Max Bill watches are some of the finest Bauhaus timepieces, remaining essentially unchanged since the beginning. And that was a long time ago – this year Junghans celebrates the 60th anniversary of the first Max Bill watch.
For the occasion, Junghans launches a limited edition set “max bill Edition 2017” – note how Junghans remains faithful to the minimalism of the original and renders the artist’s name in lowercase letters. The boxed set includes a wristwatch and a table clock; it was the latter’s design that inspired to the design of the first Max Bill wristwatches.
Available with either baton indices or Arabic numerals, both simple yet full of character, the timepieces of the set carry a reproduction of Bill’s grafische reihen, or graphics series on the backs. Both feature a work titled “variation 1,” a repeating motif where the side of a polygon simultaneously forms the side of another polygon. “A pure interaction of form and colour, the sole purpose of which is to delight with its existence” – these are the words of the artist himself, beautifully translated onto the minute proportions of a case back. Both the watch and the clock are powered by quartz movements.
The max bill Edition 2017 is limited to 222 sets – a number of great significance to the artist – and it is not only a must-have for the diehard Junghans or Bauhaus fan, but also anyone who enjoys clean and timeless design.
Sinn has been on a roll with its wide range of professional models, but for many watch nerds the most outstanding of them all is the EZM, short for einsatzzeitmesser, or “mission timer” in German. To date there have been over a dozen different EZM watches, all harkening back to the original EZM 1 that Sinn custom designed for special tactics unit of Germany’s customs service in 1997.
Only just launched, the EZM 1.1 gives Sinn fans a chance to own the original’s unmistakable design without having to hunt down one of the collector-status originals from some twenty years ago. Though its clean dial doesn’t give this fact away, the EZM 1.1 is also a chronograph, with two central-mounted hands to keep track of the chronograph’s elapsed seconds and 60 minutes – exactly like the original except the EZM 1.1 is now powered by a proprietary movement.
As is expected, the case is filled with an inert gas to keep moisture out – hence the “Ar” logo on the dial – though the EZM 1.1 is actually filled with nitrogen instead of argon as in the original. Highly anti-magnetic, resistant to low pressure environments (so great for high-altitude operations) and water resistant to a depth of 200m, the Sinn EZM 1.1 is the quintessential Sinn, if there ever was one. It is limited to 500 pieces.
In stark contrast to the high-adrenaline EZM is the NOMOS Glashütte Zurich World Time Singapore edition for The Hour Glass, a watch that oozes elegance, restrained modernity and genuine character. A white dial version in a 35-piece run and another 15 pieces with a salmon-coloured dial comprise this very limited edition of one of NOMOS Glashütte’s finest watches.
Singapore makes its appearance on the world time disc on the dial, representing the time zone of GMT +8, while other design modifications include the replacement of the triangle at 3 o’clock with a neat little red dot – a play on the cliché that the city state is a “little red dot” on the map – as well as the inclusion of a red seconds hand at 6, since the country’s flag is white and red.
At 39.9mm wide and a modest 10.85mm high, a world timer functionality is merged with a design that is comfortable for everyday wear – even if you are the first one to arrive and the last one to leave the office, with its 24 time zones and comfy design, the Zurich World Time will be a functional, elegant, and in this limited edition, a hard to come by companion.
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Victor Toth – Czech Republic
Victor Toth is a Prague-based, professional photographer-turned-watch enthusiast and freelance journalist, whose journey into the complex world of fine watchmaking had begun a number of years ago. Over this time it has become his passion to share his understanding of the finer details of beautiful timepieces, all in an effort to encourage a more thorough appreciation of this wonderful and complex universe of fine mechanics.