Watch Review: Jungahns Max Bill Quartz

Max billNo, I don’t think I’m going to become one of those people, but as I recently explained, I’ve decided to stop wearing my Apple Watch. What I did realize in 18 months of using that device was that I actually like having the time on my wrist. I hadn’t worn a watch for more than ten years, and it’s interesting to see that I now feel that I should wear a watch.

I don’t know if I’m going to get sucked into the analog watch thing, partly because it’s very expensive. But I do like nice things, and I appreciate nice styling for devices like this. I’m not a fan of the big, clunky watches with dials and buttons, and, after looking at lots of watch websites, I settled on the Junghans Max Bill. (, Amazon UK) I decided to go for the quartz version, rather than the automatic, mainly because of cost: I wasn’t sure that I wanted to spend that much on a watch. The quartz model lists here at £475, but I got it from First Class Watches, who currently has a 20% off sale on everything.

The Max Bill series is a minimalist watch named for its designer Max Bill. A student of Walter Gropius, he was one of the leading post-Bauhaus designers, and started working for Junghans in 1961. Look at the delicate lines on that watch face, and the subtle balance between the larger hour numbers and the smaller second numbers at the outside of the dial. It’s available in a number of colors, with and without numbers, but I like the functional simplicity of the black on white. (Though there is also a brown on anthracite that is very attractive.) Junghans also makes a chronograph, which is one of the lightest looking watches of that type, but it seems a bit busy to me. My only criticism is that the date is hard to read. It’s recessed enough under the dial that it’s only readable when there’s plenty of light, as you can see in my photos.

Now it’s time for the obligatory on the wrist photo. Here’s how it looks on my arm:

Max bill on wrist

I have large wrists, so the watch’s 38mm dial is the perfect size for me. It’s very thin, at only 7.9mm, which is a big change from the clunky Apple Watch. While the photo above – shot with an LED light illuminating my wrist – makes the dial look very white, as does the photo from Junghans at the top of this article, it’s actually a bit off-white in normal light. It’s the color of heavy cream, which makes it look less sterile than stark white. I’ve tweaked the colors in this photo to approximate how the dial looks to me.

Max bill on table

The watch comes with a very attractive 18mm calfskin watchband, which, as you can see above, is a darker brown than the one in the Jungans photo. It’s thin and supple, and will break in fairly quickly.

This is a comfortable watch, light enough for me to forget its presence, simple enough to not stand out, but it’s understated design makes me more comfortable than watches with lots of buttons and dials.

So, for my first tentative foray into the world of analog watches, I’ve selected a staid, enduring design that fits with my own way of thinking. I’m very happy with this watch, and I hope this doesn’t turn into an expensive hobby.