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If You Only Buy One Dress Watch, Buy This One

The Junghans Max Bill Hand-Winding has been an horological staple since the 1960s, and there's good reason for it.

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Junghans Max Bill Hand-Winding, $795

Junghans Max Bill Hand-Winding (Pre-owned)

Skip the heavy lifting and go straight to what’s best. Just Get This is our no-nonsense guide to the gear you need, now.

In some ways, buying a dress watch is liberating: you don't have to take water resistance into account (generally, there's not much need for it), or if the steel bracelet will be comfortable (it's probably going to be on a leather strap), or what all those little subdials do (there shouldn't be any on the watch's dial). A dress watch is about telling the time as unobtrusively as possible, with a design that doesn't distract from whatever else you're wearing, or from the occasion on which you're wearing it.

Oftentimes dress watches will be simple, time-only affairs but be made in precious metals. Of course, this doesn't mean that you can't find a perfectly nice dress watch in stainless steel — or, indeed, that stainless steel might not be perfectly appropriate. In fact, one of our favorite dress watches comes in stainless steel: the Max Bill Hand-Winding from German brand Junghans.

We're so darn into the Max Bill Hand-Winding that we've made it our Just Get This pick in the dress watch category — meaning that if you need a dress watch stat, we say don't even think twice, just get one of these. Here's why.

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Its Bauhaus Character Is Timeless

When famed industrial designer Max Bill created his eponymous wristwatch line with Junghans in 1961, he called upon his Bauhaus training to shape his vision: minimal text, clean lines and extreme legibility anchor the watch's design. A Max Bill watch wouldn't look out of place in 1930, 1960, or today.

Its The Right Size

I know, I know — you've been conditioned to think that any watch smaller than 40mm is emasculating. I assure you it is not. A diameter of 34mm is perfectly fine for a dress watch (even if 37mm would've been perfect): this is the type of timepiece you'll be wearing with a suit, after all. You want it out of the way, unobtrusive, and under the radar — which it is.

Its Hand-wound Movement Keeps It Thin

Though the Max Bill is available in an automatic version, the use of the cal. J805.1 hand-wound movement (based on the ETA 2801-2) keeps this version nice and thin at 9mm. You'll barely notice it on your wrist, which is sort of the point with a dress watch. And a 42-hour power reserve is plenty to get you through the evening.

A Lumed Dial Means You'll Be Able to Read It At Night

One welcome concession to modernity is the presence of small lume plots at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o'clock, in addition to the lume on the hands (which was present on the original model). This way, you can actually, you know, see the time at a dark event.

Junghans Max Bill Hand-Winding Watch
amazon.com
$800.00


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