Founded in 2001, Meistersinger crafts distinctive single-hand watches. With these no-frills models, the German manufacturer provides an off-beat, contemporary take on mechanical watchmaking. The new Bell Hora remains Meistersinger through and through but somehow transports us back several centuries. The Bell Hora is not only a single-hand watch but also features an hour-strike au passage, combining two of the oldest ways to tell time. The word clock derives from the Latin clocca, which means bell. Some of the first mechanical clocks did not have dials and hands and relied on chiming the time. Similarly, the circular motion of the hands was inspired by the movement of a sundials’ shadow. Like these, early mechanical clocks displayed only hours, long before the invention of the minute hand…
When the Meistersinger team first unveiled the Bell Hora to us, we were pleasantly surprised to discover a new model combining these two original features… One of the first questions to cross my mind was, how much could an hour strike watch by Meistersinger cost? The brand’s prices are traditionally reasonable, while watches fitted with this specific complication are not only rare but tend to carry a hefty price tag. Well, the announcement of the price, just below 3.5k Euros, was even lower than what I was expecting.
The next question to come right after was, how did you develop the Bell Hora? A smart solution, the jumping hour module that Meistersinger uses, was employed as the base for the development. It was modified to trigger the strike of a hammer every passing hour, instead of the jump of an hour disk. A 12-tooth wheel fitted co-axially on the hour wheel is at the base of this mechanism. The hour strike gradually slides on each tooth before falling while releasing the hammer every hour, alerting the wearer of the passing time without having to look at the dial. One of the challenges was then to obtain the right chime with a variety of factors coming into play: the strength of the strike, the angle, the shape of the hammer and naturally the shape, length and material for the gong, for which numerous prototypes were made and tested, as you can see below…
The chime obtained has a clear, slightly metallic ring. The pusher at two o’clock has two positions and allows you to disengage the chiming mechanism and therefore silence the watch when needed. A black marking shows at a glance whether the watch is going to chime on the hour or remain silent.
The model comes in a neatly polished steel case with sleek lines. It features curved lugs and a round, softly curved bezel. The pusher at 2 o’clock brings an original touch. At 43mm in diameter, the watch is on the large side but will wear nicely on most wrists. The water-resistance is rated at 50 metres, not bad for a chiming watch. In characteristic Meistersinger style, time is indicated by a single hand. The spiral-shaped geometry of the dial provides an intuitive overview of the day’s 24 hours simultaneously. It comes in two variations: natural ivory or blue sunburst.
Turn the watch over, and the exhibition caseback – secured by 4 screws – reveals the automatic movement powering the watch. Based on the tried-and-tested Sellita SW200, the Meistersinger Bell Hora runs at 4Hz and has 38 hours of power reserve. The decoration is traditional with Geneva stripes and perlage.
The Meistersinger Bell Hora is presented on a leather strap fitted with a folding buckle. There is really a lot to love about this original wristwatch – including its price tag. As mentioned before, the price is set at EUR 3,490, which is a fraction of the price of most mechanical watches fitted with an hour strike au passage complication.
For more information, please visit www.meistersinger.com.