If nothing else, I possess something of a soft spot for oddball watches, for the outliers that manage to step outside of the proven format or play with concepts that belie their original creation. From gold watches that probably shouldn’t be gold, to ana-digi Breitlings, to watches like the new Max Bill Mega from Junghans. The Mega is a strange but entirely compelling mix of Max Bill’s well known watch/clock design crossed with a new radio-controlled high accuracy quartz movement – all but entirely hiding its feature set behind one of the best dial designs in the game.
I say strange because I definitely wouldn’t have expected the Max Bill design to be the home for a new and very tech-forward movement. I think it’s a clever idea that uses the minimalist design sensibility of the Max Bill aesthetic to balance the much more nerdy appeal of the new movement and its many capabilities. No joke, there’s a lot happening here under the skin, or dial, as it were.
First, the basics. Available in three dials with either a leather strap or a steel Milanaise bracelet, the Max Bill Mega has a 38mm wide and 9.3mm thick steel case with a domed plexiglass crystal (with a scratch resistant coating) and 3 atm water resistance. With a date display at three and a matching crown, the Mega looks like any of Junghans Max Bill-derived designs, until you get to the internals.
In place of the usual simple quartz or automatic movement, the MEGA has Junghans’s new J101.65, a quartz movement with multi-frequency radio time setting, a perpetual calendar (no date correction to the year 2400), time zone setting via the crown (without affecting accuracy), and an overall accuracy of +/- 8 seconds a year (or max 0.02 seconds with radio signal calibration). The radio calibration functions not unlike the multi-band feature common to many G-Shocks and uses a one of five possible signals to automatically correct to the most accurate time available. The same movement is also offered in the Meister, which is another of Junghans’s dressier designs with similar proportions but a higher price point than that of the Max Bill Mega.
In designing the new movement, Junghans focused on ease of use and outright accuracy. So not only will it be possible to set the Mega via the forthcoming smartphone app (slated for iOS and Android in October of this year), but radio calibration is automatic and processed daily and if you travel, the hour display can be updated independently via the crown. It get’s nerdier still, with the movement offering Intelligent Time Correction that actively checks and corrects the display of all of the hands (and the date) to the most accurate known time.
This information works in conjunction with three motors and Junghans’s Smart Hand Motion technology that regulates the movement of the seconds hand to the half second and also allows the seconds hand, the minute hand, and the date to jump instantly to the next value, rather than the normal ticking/sweeping motion of a quartz watch. In a charmingly German sort of way, there is a pragmatic element to this extreme focus that I love. If one is making a movement that can access a highly accurate measure of time, why wouldn’t you make it capable of displaying that accuracy at a very high level.
I think this such a cool concept and I would love take a Mega traveling and put the functions through a proper test. Assuming the interface (and presumably the eventual app) is simple enough, with a two-year battery, strong everyday styling, and a price point starting at $990 ($1,090 on the bracelet), the Junghans Max Bill Mega should make for an excellent travel watch. But from the jet set to those who are still racking up posts in the high-accuracy quartz forums, the Max Bill Mega is an oddity that offers useful complexity crossed with an elegant and minimalist wrist presence.
Model: Max Bill Mega
Reference Number: 058/4820 – 058/4823
Case Material: Steel
Dial Color: Matte silver-plated or anthracite
Water Resistance: 30 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Calf leather strap or steel Milanaise mesh
Caliber: J101.65 (quartz, radio-controlled)
Functions: Automatic radio-controlled time setting, app integration (Oct 2018), jumping time zone setting, perpetual calendar, date.
Power Reserve: Two years (battery)
Frequency: 32.768 Hz
Additional Details: Three motors, bi-directional hand movement, accurate to 0.02 seconds on radio sync or +/- 8 seconds a year in quartz mode.
Pricing & Availability
Price: $990 ($1,090 on the bracelet)
Availability: October 2018
For more click here.