Salthora – time in the window
We split days into two lots of twelve hours. The numbers from one to twelve indicate manageable periods of time with which we are familiar from a young age, or which we have established over the course of our life: morning, noon, five o’clock tea and after work time. Our day is ruled according to the position of the hour hand.
Most analogue watches, as well as digital ones, do not correspond to this. They show the number of hours alongside the smaller minute and second units. We first have to make the effort to learn that it is the thickness – not the length – of the hand indicator that determines the temporal hierarchy.
The new Salthora from MeisterSinger features a round window that, at 12 noon, shows the important thing: the hour. When 60 minutes have passed, the single hand reaches the middle of the window and the next number appears in the window in a flash.
The display principle, known as the 'jumping hour', belongs to the traditional specialisms of precision watch-making. Unlike disc watches, where, instead of a hand, a disc inscribed with numbers slowly rotates in a cutaway section of the dial, here, the indicator changes in a flash at the start of the new hour. It was in the 1920s that wristwatches were first equipped with this complex mechanism and showed the hour more prominently than the more minor details such as minutes and seconds.
When developing the Salthora, MeisterSinger had particular requirements to fulfil:
– The jump should take place precisely on the hour, with a maximum tolerance of ten seconds.
– The hour number should not creep or stagger into the window, but leap into the exact center of the window in the blink of an eye.
– The force required for this to happen, which is supplied by the same barrel as the rest of the watch movement, could not be permitted to interfere with the smooth running of the movement.
MeisterSinger developed a module to be built for the tried-and-tested Swiss automatic ETA-2824-2 movement, which successfully fulfils these requirements. The finely balanced mechanism ensures a punctual and precise jump. The tension for the switching arm of the hour disc is provided over the course of the 60 minutes by a screw attached to the minute wheel; power is therefore withdrawn from the barrel continuously rather than abruptly, and the impact on the movement is only very slight.
The rewards for precision work are both visual and acoustic: when the wearer hears a soft but rich tick that tells him a new hour has begun.
Visually, the Salthora is a typical MeisterSinger watch: the hour numbers in the window at 12 noon appear in the same fine serif font as the minute markers and – naturally – always double-digit. The Salthora has a stainless steel casing with a diameter of 40 millimeters and comes in a choice of four different dials, including one in deep sapphire blue. The hour window is white for all versions and, especially when contrasted with the dark dials, clearly emphasizes the critical elements of the time.
The Salthora will be available from April. It will come in a range of colored dials in white, sapphire blue, anthracite and ivory and features a calf leather strap with double folding clasp.