Long before there were two hands on a clock or pocket watch there was but one. The hour hand told you everything you needed to know in an age when time was nothing like as precious or as hurried as it is today. Famously, one occasion when the time was important in those far off days was in 1605 when Guy Fawkes was supposed to blow up the Houses of Parliament.
The given time for him to set off the barrels of gunpowder that would destroy London’s famous parliamentary building required for him to learn how to read the clock. The knowledge of how to tell the time was not known to many in that era, and the carrying of a pocket watch was extremely rare. Few possessed such a high tech instrument and one was lent to Guy Fawkes by a wealthy co-conspirator in order for him to get his timing precisely right.
Of course as history records, it’s a feat he failed to pull off, but this is unlikely to be due to a failing of the watch. Either Guy Fawkes was unable to read the watch correctly, or fate intervened and the guards of the Houses of Parliament happened to discover him in the undercroft of the building before he had a chance to put his plan into action.
Peter Henlein, a locksmith from Nuremberg, developed the world’s first portable spring-driven clocks in the late Middle Ages, they became the Apple iPods of their day, a sensation despite being hopelessly inaccurate. Advance a few hundred years and Johann Sebastian Bach enthusiast Manfred Bresler decided in 2001 that the time was right to re-introduce the one handed watch to a world now obsessed with knowing time down to the last second.
MeisterSinger is an independent German brand based in Munster Westphalia. The company has almost singlehandedly brought back the single hand watch. As a work of watch design the Good Design Award, recognised as the world’s most prestigious and longest running global awards for new Product Design and Graphics awarded MeisterSinger for their work. There have also been several Red Dot Awards along the way.
In truth, there is very little guess work with a MeisterSinger single hand watch. The dial crystal clear 12 hour dial is divided by 144 markers, with each marker representing a span of 5 minutes. With the 15, 30 and 45 minute markers made more prominent, and the hour indicator being longer and thinner than usual helps to read off the minutes at a practiced glance, it does not take long to work out exactly what time it is down to the last minute, and for most of us, that is close enough.
They say that once you start to wear a single handed watch your perception of time starts to change. With modern proceses designed to be down to the last few seconds, this is the watch for those not restrained by clock watching.
When MeisterSinger began they had just four watches in their entire range, but the brand and the choice has steadily increased over the years so that today, in addition to single handed watches, there are several excellent and more familiar three handed watches too.
On the one hand MeisterSinger offer a single handed timepiece, but on the other, is it a quality watch? It is indeed. The watches are powered by Swiss made automatic and hand winding movements pieces remain instantly recognisable. And while a single handed watch may be taken as a more relaxed approach to time keeping, their Swiss precision clockwork is protected by high-quality stainless steel casing. And each watch that leaves the company has its own unique manufacturing number so that each unit can be readily identified in case of maintenance.
The symbol above the MeisterSinger logo is that of a fermata, a sign in music annotation that invites the player to briefly pause. This also harks back to Manfred Bresler’s devotion to the music of Bach. So in truth everything has been thought through in a precise German manner. If you yearn for the elegant simplicity of such a watch they are attainable for around $2000 to $3000 direct from the manufacture.
More resources about the MeisterSinger Single-Hand Watches on the Official MeisterSinger Website.