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Max Bill Chronoscope

A man’s watch says a lot about him, whether it touts function or form. Either is good, but to have both, while not rare, can be expensive. And let’s be honest, the more expensive the watch, the greater the heirloom, and the more important the wrist — or man.

At least that was once my thinking.

Of course there are many brilliant timepieces that cost a small fortune, and most often with good reason. But when buying an expensive watch, one takes the risk that he is simply displacing thousands of dollars out of his pocket and clasping it to his wrist. The determining factor in the value of your watch should not be its cost, but rather, its character.

Earlier this year, I made an investment in such a watch. A watch with cool, charming features, and a cunning approach to elegance. In this month’s Investment, we dive into the details of the Max Bill Chronoscope by Junghans, and the many characteristics that makes it a piece worthy of your investment — and your wrist.

The story starts in 1908 with the birth of Max Bill, a Swiss legend in the world of architecture, painting, and industrial design. As a student of the arts, Max Bill studied at Bauhaus in Dessau, Germany, and in 1953, Mr. Bill co-founded the Ulm School of Design alongside two of his contemporaries. Around the same time, Max began working with German watch company Junghans, developing the company’s first kitchen clock. Nearly 10 years later, on the 100-year anniversary of Junghans, the first Max Bill wrist watch was released.

Touted for both function and form, the watch stood out from the crowd, carrying the weight of symmetry and balance against its clean white face. Accompanied by an entirely spherical plexiglass bevel and a plain black band, the watch was (and is, still) perfect. It was elegant. And most of all, it had character.

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Today, the same rings true of the now 54-year-old watch design, and since then, the collection has expanded to include a personal favorite: the Max Bill Chronoscope. The numberless matte black face highlights its stainless steel casing and original dot sequence that graces each quarter hour. Paired with a milanese bracelet, the chronoscope carries the perfect weight to remind you to check the time, without weighing down your arm beyond necessity. And, with its automatic movement, this watch can easily be worn as a daily timepiece. If you let it rest for a few days, it’s easy to give a quick wind and continue where you’ve left off. In every facet of design and function, the Max Bill Chronoscope puts character on your wrist, without asking that you take a second mortgage on your home.