The first wristwatch of Junghans!

Junghans J53 NOBRK

For me as an enthusiastic Junghans vintage collector, an seemingly unattainable goal for many years was to get hold of one of the rare first Junghans wristwatches.

A watch with the caliber 13''', which later became the caliber Junghans J53.

Why are there different names?

At that time Junghans still had two different factory brands, the eight-pointed Junghans star for the quality watches produced in the Schramberg factory and a butterfly for the watches produced in the Schwenningen branch movement.

The caliber 13''' still carried the Schwenninger butterfly, the watches later produced in the Schramberg head quarter with the slightly modified movement carried the 53 on the plate as caliber designation.

These earliest watches with the caliber 13''' were produced at the end of the 1920s and the name "NOBRK" is often found on the dial, which is supposed to be an indication of the unbreakable (NOBRK = NOnBReaKable) bearing pins of the balance shaft.

It is written on the sales cartons:

"NOBRK" (Pronounced NO-BREAK) ...When a watch falls it is usually the balance staff pivot that breaks. The balance staff pivot of NOBRK is so constructed that it is shock-proof and practically NONBREAKABLE.


= NOnBReaKable


Junghans Caliber 13''' NOBRK; Front


Junghans Caliber 13''' NOBRK; Front without glas

Perhaps for this reason it was long assumed that the first wristwatches marked with the name Junghans came from Thielscher production.


For a long time it was assumed that the caliber 13''' was a development of the company Thiel.

Certainly, there were some links between Junghans and the Thiel company from Ruhla in Thuringia, which produced wristwatches of the Darling type early on (from 1908/09). The constructor Alex Dürer moved from Thiel to Thomas Haller in Schwenningen in 1895. As is well known, Junghans and Thomas Haller merged in 1900 to form "Vereinigte Uhrenfabriken Gebrüder Junghans & Thomas Haller AG, Schramberg" (see also: Thomas Ernst Haller, Kaliber “Meta”).

In 1902, however, the two companies separated again, but the company buildings in Schwenningen remained in the possession of Junghans. Whether the constructor Alex Dürer also remained with Junghans is unclear.

Thiel Start


Thiel Start; Version 3; ca. 1952; Front


Thiel Start; Version 3; ca. 1952; movement

The Thiel Start shown above is significantly younger than the first Junghans wristwatches, nevertheless I have the opportunity to present the clock because it is the youth watch of my father. The clock should be dated to 1952.


The Junghans caliber 13''' - an in-house production of Schwenningen

After this little off-topic excursion back to caliber 13''':

The caliber Junghans 13''' was made at the Junghanswerk in Schwenningen and is a Junghans own product. It was distributed as a pocket watch for ladies (in the catalogue of 1927: "Damen-Ankeruhr") also under the name "Miss".

The wristwatches, in the 1927 catalogue called "Armband-Ankeruhren", were named after their case shape:

Rond, Carré, Carré Illusion and Octogon and were each nickel-plated and polished or gold-plated.



Trade-Mark registration "NOBRK" 1927

All of my Junghans Caliber 13''' are from the US or UK.

The registration of the brand "NOBRK" took place on September 27, 1927 in the USA (thank you, Uwe, for the reference!).

The name "NOBRK" was registered 04.28.1927 by the "Smith America Inc." in New York (USA) (Source: .

More Sources: NOBRK filed: May 12, 1927; used since: April 28, 1927 (United States Horological Trademark Index – Registered U.S. Trademarks of Domestic and Foreign Watches & Clocks; Kurtis Meyers).

A butterfly decorates the movement


Junghans 13''' NOBRK; movement


Junghans 13''' NOBRK; movement


Junghans 13''' NOBRK; case back inside


Junghans 13''' NOBRK; case back inside

The butterfly which can be seen on the movements and on the bottom inside of the cover was recorded in Schramberg by the company Junghans AG on 02.13.1925 (Source: I would put the production of Junghans J53 accordingly in 1927, the German Society for Chronometry says 1929.

Up to the year 1927!

  • Charles Lindberg flies the first human non-stop across the Atlantic from New York to Paris.
  • May 13 is the "Black Market Friday" in Berlin, the stock index of the Statistisches Reichsamt at the exchange in Berlin breaks within a day a 31.9 percent.     
  • Admission to the New York dance club "Savoy Ballroom" costs 0.50 US $.
  • A steak sandwich in the Cotton Club costs $ 1.25.
  • A jacket made of raccoon fur will cost $ 39.50.
  • Daily wage at Ford officially: only 5.00 $, usually 2.50 $
  • The average annual income (1927) in Germany is 1742.00 RM.

A Junghans with calber 13''' NOBRK cost $ 5.00.

Today (2014) this would amount adjusted for inflation a value of about 185 US dollars.


Junghans J53 NOBRK; Werk; movement


Junghans J53 NOBRK; Werk zifferblattseitig; movement dialside


Junghans J53 NOBRK; Rückseite; back

Weiterführende Daten zum Werk sind hier zu finden: Junghans J53 NOBRK

The Ingersoll-Versions


Junghans J53 Ingersoll version; Front; hands not original


Junghans J53 Ingersoll version; Front; founding condition


Junghans J53 Ingersoll version; movement


Junghans J53 Ingersoll version; back

The Junghans J53 was also installed by the company Ingersoll. For more information and questions about this subject, go here: Der Ingersoll-Report.

Other variants Caliber 13'''


Junghans 13''' NOBRK Octogon; collection Weisser


Junghans 13''' NOBRK Octogon; collection Weisser


Junghans 13''' NOBRK Octogon; collection Weisser


Junghans 13''' NOBRK rond; collection Finkbeiner


Junghans 13''' NOBRK rond; collection Finkbeiner


Junghans 13''' NOBRK rond; collection Finkbeiner


Junghans 13''' NOBRK Carré; collection Finkbeiner


Junghans 13''' NOBRK Carré; collection Finkbeiner


Junghans 13''' NOBRK Carré; collection Finkbeiner

Many thanks to M. Weisser and J. Finkbeiner!

Further variants Junghans J53



Junghans J53 rond; collection Weisser


Junghans J53 rond; collection Weisser


Junghans J53 rond; collection Weisser


Junghans J53 rond; collection Finkbeiner


Junghans J53 rond; collection Finkbeiner


Junghans J53 rond; collection Finkbeiner

And another, this time with original pointers in the "Carré" form


Junghans J53 NOBRK; front


Junghans J53 NOBRK; front without glass


Junghans J53 NOBRK; movement


Junghans J53 NOBRK; balance staff


Junghans J53 NOBRK; dial


Junghans J53 NOBRK; dial

In the side light, it is easy to see the height at which the radium lume was applied.