It was the year 2001 when Manfred Brassler decided to finally go about his very own watch brand in Münster, a city in Westphalia of northwestern Germany. Its name: MeisterSinger.
What is noticeable at first glance is the fact that Brassler interprets the term “timekeeping” somewhat differently than most of his fellows. While a lot of brands tend to clutter their dials with lavish complications and various fonts, MeiserSinger does the exact opposite by only incorporating one single hand, that is it. What is less conducive to precise time telling has a different effect instead, more on this later.
Since its inception almost 20 years ago, MeisterSinger has given a face to the “single-hand watch” type thanks to five well established collections, numerous in-house developments and over 30 design awards won. What used to be a niche market (and thus made MeisterSinger a niche brand in its early days) has turned into the go-to destination for all those watch lovers that do not want to be controlled by time.
We are therefore all the more thrilled to announce our new partnership with MeisterSinger, allowing us to offer these unique watches in our store as of now.
The many thousands of years old history of time recording is not only an exciting chapter in the history of human evolution, but also one MeisterSinger pays tribute to. As early as 5000 years ago, Sumerians and Egyptians started to put wooden sticks into clay tablets, attempting to better understand the interplay between day and night, between sun and moon. The recording of time by means of a single stick (or hand for that matter) – something we today refer to as “sundial” – therefore has a long tradition.
Equally traditional are the so-called Meistersinger (engl.: master singers), eponym of the brand, who describe a group of people succeeding the minstrels. They made a name for themselves as poets and singers in the 15th and 16th century by singing biblical teaching texts in the churches of major cities. To become a mastersinger, however, one had to know how to stand out from the crowd. This was a prerequisite the Münster-based brand could instantly identify with: Doing things extraordinarily well and an extent that people start noticing you. (Incidentally, the company logo, consisting of a parable and the dot of a fermata, also stems from this proximity to music).
As early as 1943, the American sociologist Lewis Mumford described the clock, not the steam engine, as the “key machine of the modern industrial age”. After all, it was the skill of coordinating one another that allowed people all around the world to organize themselves socially and efficiently. However, the inevitable result was also an increasingly fast-paced society in which the urge to progress was paramount – a development that MeisterSinger has set out to counteract with a decisive feature.
Eliminating a variety of watch hands makes it difficult to read the time accurately and within the fraction of a second. What sounds counterintuitive at first, however, is exactly the intended person MeisterSinger had in mind: to create a more relaxed and intuitive approach to time by making use of old means again. In fact, displaying time with one hand only was common practice until the middle of the 18th century. Many churches (such as Westminster Abbey in London shown above), townhouses or wall clocks still bear witness to this fact today.
In a traditional watch, the hour hand circles the dial twice a day – once between 00:00 and 12:00 and once between 12:00 and 24:00 – while the minute hand makes a full 24 rotations. With MeisterSinger watches, on the contrary, a single hand circles the dial only twice a day. This means in return that MeisterSinger has much less “space” available accurately to display the time.
While the minute hand of a traditional watch can head for each of the 60-minute indices individually and with great precision, single-hand watches instead tend to provide a quick overview of the time only. To put the whole thing a bit more into perspective: The minute hand of a conventional watch advances to the 3 o’clock position in 15 minutes. For the same distance, a MeisterSinger hand needs a full three hours. So, the next time someone asks you what time it is, your answer might sound something like: It is six twenty-five-ish.
MeisterSinger goes way back in time and skillfully combines ancient principles of timekeeping one the one hand, with contemporary designs and state-of-the-art technology on the other hand. We believe that this is a great concept that is guaranteed to make these watches stand out from their peers – just like the master singers did some 500 years ago.
An handy overview of the collections as well as a compilation of all watches available can be found in our MeisterSinger boutique.