Keeping an eye on the time: powerful players in the watch world
There are many watch companies, such as Tag Heuer and Rolex, that are widely recognised for their associations with fast cars. The 150-year-old German firm Junghans is not one of them, being best known for its range of starkly beautiful watches and clocks that derive from the pen of the Bauhaus designer Max Bill.
But in fact Junghans was involved with the automotive industry back in the very earliest days of motorised transport, and the firm’s current, car-obsessed owners are keen to remake the connection in the eyes of potential customers.
Arthur Junghans, son of the founder Erhard, was close friends with Wilhelm Maybach and Gottlieb Daimler and in 1892 he bought one of the very first Daimler motorised carriages to be built. The passion that Junghans had for the fledgling car industry was reflected in his work, with the company going on to produce dashboard clocks for cars, and in 1905 he patented an early speedometer.
Since 2009 Junghans has been owned by Dr Hans-Jochem Steim and his son Hannes, businessmen who have as much of a love for cars as the founder’s son did more than a century ago, and they are keen to rekindle their company’s automotive connections.
The Steims have an enviable car collection that includes a wide range of models going right back to the birth of the motor car. The watch pictured here, the Meister Driver Chronoscope, is an automatic chronograph that takes inspiration, according to Junghans, from the dashboard instruments of vintage Maybach and Mercedes machines.
Bulgari is an Italian jeweller that has, since it brought out its first Roman coin-style watches 40 years ago, established itself as a very serious watchmaker. While its headquarters are situated in Rome, Bulgari’s watchmaking facilities are in the horological heartlands of the Swiss mountains and the company has produced some of the most interesting watches of recent years. The Hora Domus – Latin for “home time” – is a dual-timezone watch housed in a pink-gold Art Deco-style case. The elegant display shows home time via the solid hour and minute hand, then can display local time via a smaller hour hand that is hidden beneath the larger hour hand when the wearer is not travelling. The display also has a summer/winter indication as a reminder of whether daylight-saving measures may be in effect. It also has
am/pm and day/night indications for local and home time. The
Hora Domus has an automatic, in-house movement with a
48-hour power reserve.
The British watch brand Christopher Ward has announced a partnership with the Morgan Motor Company. The collaboration will see Christopher Ward producing a range of watches that “take inspiration from the legendary British car maker’s craftsmanship and engineering”. The first watch to be made will be the Bespoke 3 Wheeler Chronometer, available from May 2017, and in the future there will be watches inspired by other models in the Morgan range. The first release goes on sale exclusively to Morgan owners, and Christopher Ward will be offering to have a car’s chassis number engraved into the watch.