How many hands does it take to tell the time? Sure it sounds like the beginning of an un-PC lightbulb joke but as far as some watchmakers are concerned it’s the single biggest question of our time. Just look at guys like Urwerk, forgoing hands in favour of complex solar systems of satellites or even HYT who, as you’ll see at the Watchmakers Club Evening, prefer liquid.
However, while they offer alternatives to hands, that doesn’t quite answer the question of how many indicators you actually need. That answer comes courtesy of Meistersinger and the answer is 1.
Looking at any of Meistersinger models might at first take you aback a little. It’s disconcerting to be presented with a single hand on a watch dial. Where are the minutes? Where are the seconds? Look a little bit closer however and you have something that’s actually quicker and easier to read than you’d ever expect.
You see, when we read a watch we naturally approximate. If someone asks you the time the response is never 10:51 and 42 seconds. You’ll probably just say ‘ten to’. Simple. That’s precisely how you read a Meistersinger.
Each hour is divided into 12, each interval indicating the usual 5 minutes between numerals. This means that, provided you’re happy to approximate by a minute or two, you simply read the time off the hour hand. It has to be said that it takes a little getting used to, but eventually you can read at just a quick glance.
Personally, I love it. I don’t wear a watch to know the exact time every second of the day. Granted I don’t really wear a watch to tell the time (shocking, I know, but I am a millennial), but when I do it’s for an approximation – essentially, am I late or not? Meistersinger’s more relaxed way of timekeeping is perfect for that.
Of course, that only works if the movement behind it is accurate. Paradoxically, if you’re estimating on a hand that hand at least needs to be in the right place or you’ll be doubly off. In the past that’s been decent Sellita calibres, but more recently Meistersinger have upgraded – at least in their stunning Circularis line – to their own in-house MSH calibres with a phenomenal 120-hour power reserve.
It means that Meistersinger watches range from the simple and accessible all the way up to some serious timepieces, all tied together by a minimal style and that signature one-handed way of timekeeping.
My personal favourite of the current Meistersinger collection, in case you were wondering, is the Metris. Partially that’s because I’m currently wearing the odd yellow-dialled, DLC version that shouldn’t exist (ask about that at the June event); partially it’s because it fuses a cool, cushion case worthy of Florence with a beautifully minimal dial. Sure it’s bright, but it’s still minimal dammit.
That said, Meistersinger’s range is surprisingly wide for such a simple concept, wide enough that there’s going to be something that catches your attention. If there’s not then, frankly, there’s no helping you.
Meistersinger will be joining us at the Watchmakers Club event on the 5th of June in London’s Covent Garden.
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