German watch manufacturer MeisterSingers crafts mechanical watches for people who aren’t interested in counting seconds, but see the bigger picture and want so stay on track. MeisterSinger builds single-hand watches – and follows a longstanding tradition in doing so. Although the movement of the long, single hour hand is hardly noticeable to the human eye, it is as relentless as the passing of time on ancient sundials.
Our division and representation of time always followed the movement of the stars. Even back in the Middle Ages, tower clocks emulated astronomical models, preferring to recreate the mechanics of the heavens on Earth rather than wanting to show single minutes or even seconds. Now, the renowned watch designer is presenting its first astronomical watch – the Lunascope.
The slender 40-millimeter-stainless steel case of the Pangaea family forms the ideal backdrop for the dial with its unusually large moon-phase display. The upper half of the dial features a dynamic cut in which the moon moves across a dark blue, starry background. The generous diameter of this timepiece allows a realistic depiction of even fine details of the moon’s surface – just like when you’re looking up at the full moon on a clear night.
The natural impression of the Earth’s satellite corresponds to the astronomical precision with which the Lunascope presents the moon’s various phases. The moon takes 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2.9 seconds to circumnavigate the Earth. A lot of watches round this figure down to 29.5 days, which means their movements deviate by eight hours per year and need to be corrected by one complete day every three years. The movement specially designed for the MeisterSinger Lunascope is far more exact. Its moon-phase indicator only needs a slight adjustment after 128 years – a short period of time in astronomical terms, but a very long time in the world of watchmaking.
Since the Lunascope comes with a glass back, the Swiss automatic movement ETA 2836 can be viewed. And it provides a power reserve of 38 hours.
MeisterSinger offers the Lunascope in two versions: with a sunburst dial in the dark blue of the moon’s background or with a silvery opaline dial, on which the circular date window at 6 o’clock forms an optical contrast to the astronomical display. Both watches are completed by a calfskin strap.
Meistersinger specializes in manufacturing watches that feature one single hand – and only show what is really important. Mostly, a single, neele-thin hour hand rotates around the dial on which you can accurately tell the time to the nearest five minutes. However, the Salthora, which was first presented in 2014, features a minute hand instead – the hour is shown in a circular window positioned at 12 o’clock. As soon as the hand reaches the middle of the window every sixty minutes, the number denoting the next hour appears in the window like a flash.
The “jumping hour” principle was first used in wristwatches during the 1920s. However, its perfection is quite a technical challange. The Salthora by Meistersinger should display the “jump” exactly on the hour, show the hour in the window without wobbling or shaking, but jump to the middle of the window with immediate precision. The watch should also provide the power required for the jump without impairing the smoothness of the movement.
For all these reasons, Meistersinger had a module designed for the tried-and-tested ETA-2824-2 ans Sellita SW 200-1 Swiss movement, which ensures the punctual, exact jump using painstakingly balanced mechanics. The tension required for the actuating lever of the hour disk is built up by a snail attached to the minute whieel in the course of 60 minutes. Hence, power is not withdrawn suddenly from the mainspring barrel, but continually, which only influences the workings to a minimal degree.
The first Salthora is visually dedicated to the charm of watchmaking finesse. With the new Salthora Meta, however, Meistersinger has adopted a new style, paying tribute to the clear, powerful character of this watch concept.
The Salthora Meta is 43 millimeters in diameter and has a striking, cylindrical stainless steel case. It is waterproof up to 5 atm and fitted with a six-screwed exhibition back. The digits of the minutes and of the hour display are depicted in a sans serif Helvetica typeface. The watch will be available in four versions. The models featuring a white or ivory-covered dial will be fitted with an hour disk in exactly the same colour. Here, the complication is not immediately obvious. However, the hour disk in the blue version is white, just like its hand. The black Meta with the hour digits and hand in signal red has an almost dramatic impact.