Junghans is one of the most popular watch brands in Germany – not particularly surprising, because after all, the Junghans watchmaker offers its customers a wide variety of models and elegant designs at a broad price range. However, not only new but also historical timepieces are often at the top of the wish list for Junghans lovers. Understandably so, because after all, these editions are true rarities. Historical Junghans watches therefore often raise the question of the year of manufacture. After all, many enthusiasts want to know exactly when their jewel was built. In today’s blog post, we will go into the most important approaches that are relevant in successfully determining the age of Junghans watches. In addition, you will get a small insight into the model history of the popular and popular manufacturer Junghans.
Looking back into the past and the year 1928: The first Junghans wristwatches are created
In 1861, the Black Forest brand was founded by Erwin Junghans with the production of watch components. Initially, he specialised in the manufacture of large clock components for domestic industry. These included, for example, wooden cases, pendulum dials and glass doors. Then, in 1866, the manufactory produced its own watches for the first time. What once started out large became more and more compact over time. In the 1870s, alarm clocks and, shortly before the turn of the century, even pocket watches enriched the watch manufacturer’s range. It was not until 1928 that the manufacturer set its sights on the production of wristwatches – initially with calibres purchased externally and then, from 1936, with movements produced in-house.
Determining the age of Junghans watches by calibre
The movements play an important role in determining the age of Junghans watches and often make it possible to narrow down the period of manufacture. Basically, the following applies here: Every movement with the letter “J” was manufactured before the model year 1962/1963. The majority of the other movements fall into the period after that. One of the most important movements from this period is the J80. It was used in the first Junghans wristwatches from 1963 onwards and has always been known as the “Meister” due to its particularly elaborate composition.
Shortly after the Second World War, the manufacturer introduced the J88 chronograph calibre. To this day, this movement is associated with the brand’s military history, as it was produced in 1946 and was used in many classic pilot’s watches, including those used by the German armed forces.
In 1950, the civilian movement J82 was added, which was eclipsed only seven years later by the popular calibre J83. This was the manufacture’s first automatic chronometer movement. It still works in some of the most sought-after collector’s pieces today, although production ceased in 1964. If, on the other hand, you come across the J85 movement when determining the age of your Junghans watch, you can assign your piece of jewellery to the somewhat more “modern” era, as this calibre was manufactured from 1969 to 1967. Although our list does not include all calibres from the J-series/J-era, it is highly suitable for determining the age of Junghans watches.
Tip: There are many freely accessible calibre tables on the Internet that are excellent for obtaining more precise and detailed information about the year of manufacture of the respective Junghans watch.
Junghans watches age determination by serial number
In the model year 1962/1963, there was a change in the naming system. From this point on, the letter “J” was no longer at the forefront of the calibre designation, but a number, usually 6. However, it is rarely possible to determine the exact age of Junghans watches on the basis of the mechanical movement, because the calibres are often manufactured over several years. For this reason, we recommend looking at the serial number of the timepiece. As with many other watch brands, there are many freely accessible and comprehensive tables on the Internet that help you determine the age of your own Junghans watch.
Modern series and electronic innovations charmingly round off the history of Junghans watches!
Of course, the history of Junghans is marked by a whole series of electronic features. For example, the popular Astro Quartz series appeared in 1970. This was a predecessor series of the first German quartz wristwatch. Powered by the W666.02 movement, it went on sale in 1972 and laid the foundation for many other innovations in the Manufacture’s range. In 1990, for example, the world’s very first radio-controlled wristwatch, the “Mega 1”, was launched. Only three years later, the first solar watches followed. In 2004, the first Junghans time signal transmitters were added to the watchmaker’s range. With such modern timepieces, determining the age is usually much easier than with old historical Junghans series. Here, it is often enough to look at the name, the range of functions and the design – and the age determination of the respective Junghans watch is already complete.
Further helpful tips for determining the age of Junghans watches
Watch fanatics and passionate watch collectors usually know that movements, model series and serial numbers are by no means all the factors that can be helpful in determining the age of a watch. The design, i.e. the external appearance of the watch, also provides more information about the year of manufacture than one might think. A good example of this is the luminous colour of the dial of the Junghans watch – until the beginning of the sixties, the now very controversial substance radium was frequently used. This was subsequently replaced by tritium. The manufacturer draws attention to this detail on many Junghans watches with the letter “T”, which is located next to the actual designation of origin.
When determining the age of Junghans watches, many different starting points can be used: Serial number, calibre, technology and design – basically, numerous paths lead to the goal. If the freely available information is not sufficient, a visit to an expert, jeweller or manufacturer can help in the search for the respective year of manufacture. One of the greatest advantages in determining the age of Junghans watches lies in the well-defined history of the company: the pre-war period, the time of the movements from the J series and the subsequent and continuous introduction of new technical improvements – all in all, this enables a more precise search for the year of manufacture of the collector’s item.
This post is also available in: German