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11/24/2016

Peter Henlein in Gold

Edition honors one of the originators of German watchmaking

MeisterSinger manufactures unusual mechanical watches that display the time with one single hour hand, precisely to the nearest five minutes – quite sufficient for people who arrange their time themselves and don’t worry about seconds. The “Peter Henlein” edition is both technically and optically a big exception in the MeisterSinger collection. Instead of the upright hour digits, the “Peter Henlein” edition has them placed radially. In the center of the dial there is a second circle indicating the hours in Roman numerals. The design of the needle-shaped hour hand is also quite different from the usual MeisterSinger style: The dial of the “Peter Henlein” is based on historical timepieces, which Manfred Brassler, the founder of MeisterSinger, took as an inspiration when designing his single-hand watches.

 

Mechanical miracles from the city of the mastersingers

In Germany, one name in particular is synonymous with early watchmaking: Peter Henlein (around 1479 to 1542), a master locksmith from Nuremberg who was, for a long time, somewhat too generously accredited with having invented the first “wearable” clock. Although we now know that he was not the first to design this type of timepiece and that the famous “Nuremberg egg” pocket watches were only made after his death, he was certainly responsible for the popularity of the “pocket watch”. Unfortunately it is not known whether he, as a Nuremberg master craftsman, sang in one of the city’s singers’ fraternities from which MeisterSinger draws its name. The name Peter Henlein is also synonymous with the age of the Renaissance, in which the proud bourgeoisie, both artistically and technically talented, began to shape the world in a decisive way.

 

Chronometer with a Renaissance face

In Henlein’s day, clocks were designed with one single hand – firstly because they were unable to indicate smaller units of time with any degree of precision, and secondly because the world simply did not need to run by minutes or even seconds. However, there is a good reason why the “Peter Henlein” edition in particular is also fitted with a second hand: It is the prerequisite for participating in the strict precision tests in the laboratories of the Swiss COSC, according to which the watch may be officially named the first MeisterSinger chronometer. That is a wonderful accolade for the specially designed movement that powers the Peter Henlein edition – the hand-wound caliber MSH01, which MeisterSinger had developed in Switzerland. Crafted to meet the specifications of MeisterSinger watches and fitted with a uniquely shaped bridge designed by Manfred Brassler, to date it has only been used in MeisterSinger’s premium line – the Circularis. A top-of-the-line movement, precise and reliable, the MSH01 also continues in the tradition of Peter Henlein and his “portable watches”.

 In the Peter Henlein edition, the movement and the bright dial are enclosed in an 18-karat gold case, 43 millimeters in diameter and waterproof up to 5 bar. The hand-wound movement with its gold-plated bridge and a generous 120-hour power reserve is clearly visible through the sapphire glass exhibition back.

The Peter Henlein is available from September as a limited edition of 15 watches.