It’s not a famous piece of trivia, but the German brand Junghans was one of the official timekeepers for the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich (the other being Longines). Although we associate the brand with minimalist Bauhaus-based designs from the Black Forest, Junghans also played an important role in the Munich Olympics, providing timekeeping tools for disciplines such as the 100m, archery and rowing. Junghans also developed electronic start control, a multi-counter device to track boats individually, and produced the world’s first color finish line photos accurate to one-hundredth of a second. To mark the brand’s involvement in the Olympic Games, Junghans also produced a series of civilian watches, including a chronograph called the Olympic Bullhead (ref. 688.10) based on the 1970s manual-winding Valjoux 7734 case. Around, and the 1972 model is back to celebrate its 50thTh Birthday in two limited editions: one in stainless steel, identical to the original model and limited to 1,972 pieces, and a luxury version in white gold with a different configuration limited to 50 pieces.
With their chunky elliptical-shaped cases and groovy orange and gray color scheme, these two chronographs harken back to the 1970s. Called bullheads because of the crown that looks like bull horns and the position of the pushers at the top, chronographs mimic the shape of a hand-held stopwatch. Like traditional table clocks used by timekeepers at sporting events, they have a slightly sloping case, decreasing in thickness from top to bottom. The slanted case is also practical, allowing you to manipulate the pushers and crown at a thicker and wider finish and view the time at a convenient inclined angle. The proportions aren’t too far off from their 1972 predecessors, 9 to 3 o’clock 45.5mm, 12 to 6 o’clock 41mm, case thickness 14.5mm.
As we mentioned, the 1972 Competition is available in stainless steel or white gold cases, both brushed with an added dose of sportiness and a significant price difference. Although the case size and color scheme of the two models are identical, the layout of the chronograph functions on the stainless steel model is faithful to the original. Arranged vertically, the orange 30-minute counter is at noon and the small seconds at 6 o’clock, set against a gray sun-brushed dial. Rather than round, the counters are also elliptical, and the peripheral orange tachymeter scale thickens and expands.
Just like the original, the short blacky indicators are applied and, like the hands, now have an environmentally friendly white light. A central chronograph hand with a white minute/seconds track and an orange tip offers 1/5Th One-second readings, and the date window at 3 o’clock has a dark background to blend with the anthracite dial. Beady-eyed readers will notice that the original Swiss Made inscription between the minute track and the tachymeter scale has been replaced with Made in Germany and the Junghans star has been slightly revived.
The 18k white gold model, officially known as the 1972 Competition Edition (above, right), offers a more complex chronograph complication than the steel model, with an additional 12-hour counter to complement the 30-minute elapsed times totalizer. Using the Tri-Compax display, the 30-minute counter is at 9 o’clock, the 12-hour counter is at 3 o’clock and the small seconds at 6 o’clock. Another difference is the position of the date window, which is placed between the indices at 4 and 5 o’clock.
The winning 1970s design combines anti-reflective coating on both sides of the dial with modern features such as sapphire crystal and 100m water resistance. Along with rally-style perforated leather straps with orange lining, the straps appear to blend into the case thanks to an ergonomically curved rectangular caseback that keeps the strap bolted in place.
Both watches are powered by automatic calibres, although they are hidden by a curved rectangular plaque on the caseback. Comes with a 1972 White Gold Competition Edition Junghans J880.1, a Cellita SW500. This automatic chronograph runs at 28,800vph and offers 48 hours of autonomy when fully wound. It displays central hours and minutes with small seconds and chronograph hours and minutes in a tricompax layout. Date of last reference. The 1972 competition, in steel, uses the J880.5, a Sellita SW510. Junghans shortened the chronograph hours for this one, as the vertical bicompax layout features small seconds and a 30-minute counter. It also comes with a date. Frequency and power reserve are comparable to SW500.
Availability & Price
The 1972 competition model in stainless steel is a limited edition of 1,972 pieces and retails. EUR 2,390 (including tax). The 1972 Competition Edition in white gold is limited to 50 pieces and retails EUR 16,972 (including tax).
For more information, please contact the officer Junghan website.