Watches with human scale
Since 2001, MeisterSinger in Münster, Westphalia has been producing a range of exceptional mechanical wristwatches: Just like the first mechanical clocks of the late Middle Ages, they have only one hand and therefore literally point to an exact moment in time. The company founder Manfred Brassler creates his classical timepieces with this unique characteristic in the technical and cultural tradition of early watchmaking.
The founder Manfred Brassler – How it all began
Today, the MeisterSinger brand is widely known for its clearly and functionally designed single-hand watches. But where did the basic idea come from – a flash of inspiration, experience, or simply patient improvement? Manfred Brassler, founder and designer, can best tell us about that himself:
“In 2001 I had already gathered a great deal of experience with my first watch brand and as a jeweler in Munich. All that experience became channeled into the founding of a new brand of mechanical wristwatches.
Right from the beginning I had the idea to go way back to the early days of measuring time, to escape the brand environment in which today hundreds of manufacturers struggle for independence and strive to stand out from their rivals.
Metaphorically speaking, I wanted to take the watch out of this huge drawer full of watches and put it back into the measuring instrument compartment. I wanted my watch to look like an original instrument of measurement, unmatched in terms of simplicity and clarity – concentrating on the essentials in design – pure nonchalance in its representation of time.”
Simply reading the time intuitively and in a relaxed manner
In recent years, our perception of time has undergone a fundamental change. We have a deep longing for quality rather than quantity. This is something that society and every individual needs to work on. Although single-hand watches are unable to change this on their own, they can make a minor contribution to moving things in the right direction.
They encourage us to approach time in a more relaxed manner and find the composure and strength within us that is often lacking on the outside.
MeisterSinger – a symbol of the infinitely fine present moment
Preoccupation with the origins of time measurement inevitably awakens an interest in the phenomenon of time. MeisterSinger goes back to the origins of measuring time and displays the time just like the first clocks – with just one single hand – pointing literally to one moment in time.
And in actual fact, it is this point, this exact moment in space and time, in which we are living. Here we sit, so to speak, at the source from which time is gushing.
And, by its very nature, this moment must be extremely short. It is certainly less than a second; not even a millionth of a second. The very inference suggests that it must be infinitely fine. Taken a step further, one could even speculate as to whether the infinitely short moment and the infinite temporal duration of the universe are two sides of the same coin.
What is certain, however, is that we will never live in the future and never in the past, but always only in the present moment. It is our actual reality and tomorrow, too, we will only exist in this moment. At the point of midnight, today does not become tomorrow, but today again.
However, thanks to our complex human brain, we can very well be in the past and in the future – at least in our thoughts. Although this ability is certainly both necessary and important in order for us to maintain our sense of orientation in this world, problems, troubles, and fears for the future also find a fertile breeding ground in this environment. It may even come to the point where we rarely connect with that moment; in fact we alienate ourselves from the present moment. And how closely everything is connected is shown by the fact that at the same time we distance ourselves from ourselves.
If we were able to break our life down to the many moments and establish ourselves at this source, we would probably never feel that life is passing by us or over us; insignificant, vacuous, filled with mere routine existence and without meaning.
Our children seem to be at home in this moment – and that’s why we envy them. Experiences that bring us close to the present moment have the quality of bringing us closer to ourselves more than anything else. This is where we find peace and relaxation. And happy people don’t waste time asking about the meaning of life, as they are far too busy experiencing it.
MeisterSinger wristwatches are synonymous with that infinitely fine moment in time, the moment that is difficult to grasp, but can certainly be felt. The relaxed way of reading the time.
One-hand watches - concept with tradition and history
Back to the future with single-hand watches
Our early forbears must have lived in far greater harmony with nature than we can imagine today. The point in time at which man began to consciously perceive time itself as a phenomenon is a matter of speculation.
The advent of time measurement by means of measuring devices probably dates back some 6000 years. This is when the first sundials were invented – and about 1000 years later the first water clocks. The amount of time it takes for a certain amount of water to flow through a small hole was used as a metric for timekeeping. In some cases, grains or sand were also used instead of water. Even today, we still use the hourglass as a timer when boiling eggs.
Those were the first tools that helped us to move away from our inner measurement of time.
But it was only in the 14th century that the first mechanical timepieces were invented. Monks built simple mechanical devices that made bells ring at regular intervals – the forerunners of modern clocks. And, inspired by the sundial, until the mid-18th century, clocks were only fitted with one hand.
Escaping the dictates of time
In the 15th century, the first scientists began investigating physical phenomena by measuring them. The more exact their investigations became, the more precise were the timepieces needed. In 1934, the American Lewis Mumford wrote in his cultural history of the clock: “The clock, not the steam engine, is the key machine of the modern industrial age.”
In the 18th century, there were 71 different time zones in America alone. In the worst case, a railroad train crossed through all 71 time zones in the course of its journey, causing a great deal of confusion. However, there was a breakthrough at the media conference held in 1884, and since then the Earth has been divided into 24 time zones.
With the Industrial Revolution, the 19th century also witnessed the synchronization of working hours and the pressure of competition. Being the first became more important than being the best.
The primary driving force behind our increasingly fast-paced society is the constantly growing competition and the associated compulsion to progress. Only those who look ahead and plan for the future are able to withstand the growing pressure and those who stagnate are bound to lose out.
A great many people are more or less slaves of time. Life is organized according to schedules, calendars, or organizational systems in order to save as much time as possible and, particularly in the Western world, constant stress has become a real status symbol. In actual fact, however, time does not work against people, but also for them and with them. Although time is not our enemy, we often find ourselves fighting against it.
MeisterSinger wants to counter this trend with a detached look at time and go back to the very beginnings of watchmaking. Its single-hand watches again display the time of day in an intuitive, relaxed manner.
Historical single-hand watches
It may be hard to believe, but up to the mid-18th century, clocks were only fitted with one hand – whether on church towers, townhouses, or table and wall clocks. Even the first portable timepieces, such as the famous “Nuremburg Egg,” only had one hand.
Here are a few examples:
"Eisenuhr" - Table watch, 16th century
Own movement and development of modules
Today, MeisterSinger is synonymous with a relaxed way of telling the time like no other brand, but we do also show what we are capable of.
Already in 2014 we began planning our own in-house movement. Not only did it immediately show outstanding performance when it was launched in 2016, but the appearance of the MSH01 movement with its twin mainspring barrels and 120-hour power reserve continues to delight our fans and the experts to this day. With the design of its unique bridge, we successfully merged the technical with the aesthetic ideals of the MeisterSinger brand.
The automatic and the manually wound version with a power reserve display followed as further variants of MeisterSinger’s own movement.
It was the first of any watch movement to receive the German Design Award. The Circularis models, which are fitted with the MSH01, MSH02, and MSA01 calibers, received a further three awards for the outstanding quality of their designs.
Already in 2008 we began developing interesting modules for the proven calibers, starting with a unique regulator, the so-called Singulator, in which, by contrast, the central hand is not a minute hand but an hour hand.
In 2014 we caused quite a stir with our column wheel chronograph. It was followed by the Adhaesio in 2015, featuring a second time zone, and the various Salthora models in 2016 with the “jumping hour” technology.
And in 2018 the highly acclaimed Lunascope with its large, central moon phase and high precision to last over one hundred years – to name only the most important.
Who needs to follow fashion when timeless classics are always in style?
The N°01, the original MeisterSinger wristwatch, looks just as fresh today as it did 20 years ago. It has the typical design characteristics of every MeisterSinger: With its single hand that points literally to one unique moment in time. The double-digit numerals with their leading zeros on the single digits, which give the dial a particularly well-balanced appearance, and the filigree line indices that make it easy to read the exact time.
Today, the N°01, together with the N°03 automatic version, are regarded as icons and classics that combine every aspect: Balanced, unmistakable design, excellent Swiss watch technology, and the special charm of simplicity.
Brand name and logo
MeisterSinger has its roots in history
The “Meistersinger” were a group of middle-class poets and singers in the 15th and 16th centuries who joined forces to form a guild. They were mainly centered around Augsburg, Nuremberg, Strasbourg, and Frankfurt am Main.
In his opera “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg,” Richard Wagner tells the story of a singing competition among the “Meistersinger.” The one who knew best how to strike a new note was chosen as the best singer or “Meistersinger.”
The single hour hand of MeisterSinger wristwatches conveys a feeling of deceleration – and that’s why the MeisterSinger logo is the fermata – the sign of a rest in musical notation.