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The Value Proposition The Junghans Form A

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For a lot of watch guys, their first "nice watch" is a Junghans Max Bill, a no-frills timepiece from the famous Bauhaus designer. Just ask the New Yorker's Gary Shteyngart. From there, many move on, sometimes forgetting why they loved that Junghans in the first place. I'm here to tell you that whether you're a die-hard collector who's currently deep into minute repeaters, a novice who barely knows what an automatic watch even is, or anyone in between, German watchmaker Junghans is creating pared-down watches worthy of your attention.

The Form A is a totally new watch built on the same ideas as the Max Bill watches.

When I stopped by to visit Junghans at Baselworld back in March, I expected some new Max Bill variants and maybe a few other things (which I certainly got to see), but there was in fact a whole new collection waiting for me too. The Form A is a new quartet of time-and-date watches that retain the minimalist styling for which Junghans is best known while offering some new details and a slightly more contemporary look. If you like the Max Bill line-up but want something new, the Form A is for you.

The basics are the same across all four models. Each has a stainless steel case measuring 39.1mm across and just 9.5mm top to bottom, and each has a flat sapphire crystal on top with an antireflective coating The long, slim hands have a thin fill of SuperLuminova running down the center and a needle-sharp central seconds hand sits on the very top. At three o'clock is a relatively plain date window, presented in an unobtrusive way.

The dial has a gentle, but pronounced, curve to it.

The square markers are embossed into the outer edge of the dial.

What makes the Form A special though is the dial. It's actually concave, rising from the central post up to meet the edges of the case. It's deep enough that the effect is immediately noticeable, but not so much that it feels dramatic. As with everything else about this watch, it's measured and appropriate. At the outer edge, the minutes markers are square-shaped and embossed into the dial itself, which has a matte silver-plated galvanic finish. 

What sets the four models apart are the colors and numerals. There are two dials with plain stick markers at the hours (black and tan) and two with Arabic numerals (combination black/brown and black/blue). Something about the sticks feels very serious, while the choice of Arabic numerals has a sort of playful tone, especially with the addition of the lighter colors and straps. Each watch comes on a calfskin strap that matches the accent colors of the dial.

Through the smokey mineral crystal you can see the J800.2 automatic movement.

Turn the watches over, and you're greeted by the same sight across the range. The steel caseback has an inset smokey mineral glass window that lets you see the Junghans J800.2 movement inside. This is an automatic movement with a 38-hour power reserve that is based on the ETA 2824-2. It's nothing fancy, but it's a nice fit for a watch like this. The whole package is water resistant to five bar, or approximately 50 meters.

Despite the minimal styling, little touches of color add some levity to the Form A's design.

On the wrist is where this watch shines – which, for a watch, is a very good thing indeed. On a table or in a tray it can seem a little plain, but once you strap it on the Form A gets an extra bit of life. Wearing the blue model with a blue sport coat really brought out that little bit of color, and I found the dial to take on slightly different silver tones as the light moved across the curvature. The 39.1mm size is nearly perfect (I've said it before, and I'll say it again – 38.5mm is my ideal) and the shorter lugs hold the watch nicely on the wrist. There's no getting around it being super minimalist, but if you're at all into that sort of thing, the Form A is awesome.

If I had to pick one thing to quibble with, it would be the Form A's straps. We're pretty spoiled here around HODINKEE HQ when it comes to quality watch straps (not a plug, I promise – just being honest), and these calfskin straps are totally fine, if not exceptional. However, because of the wide-set lugs, the strap is 21mm, which means it's very unlikely that you'll be able to share straps across your other watches. This definitely isn't a deal breaker, but I could see it being annoying.


On the wrist, the Form A really comes to life.

The best part about the Form A? It comes with a reasonable price tag attached. In all four colorways, the Form A retails for $924. To be able to get a mechanical watch with a reliable automatic movement inside and styling like this for under $1,000 is outstanding. Junghans has been doing this for a while though, and with great success, I might add. The Form A takes an already time-tested idea – a minimalist mechanical watch that gets the little details right for a fair price – and reinforces just how good an idea it really is. 

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