Hands-On with the Meistersinger Circularis Power Reserve (And Its Great Looking Proprietary Movement)
Back in 2014, Meistersinger caused quite the surprise when they unveiled their new Circularis watch. While the brand was already known for its quite unique display, based on the mono-aiguille concept, no one was expecting anything from them in terms of the mechanical side of watchmaking… But they did, and they did well, with their first proprietary movement – and a nice looking one too. Using this as a base the collection has evolved, by adding an automatic version in 2016, and the Meistersinger Circularis Power Reserve back at Baselworld 2017, and today, we take a closer look at this watch.
If there’s one thing in particular which defines Meistersinger as a brand, it is clearly about how they display the time. Across their collections, all the models are based on a rare (not to say almost unique in the current state of the watchmaking industry) use of the single-hand display. While the conception of time is widely accepted to be built around 2 or 3 hands (one for the hours, one for the minutes, and potentially one for the seconds), Meistersinger decided, right from its inception, to create a brand fully dedicated to one single hand, which displays the time in a slow, quite poetical way. One hand which turns around the dial in 12 hours, like a normal hour hand, yet which also could serve as a minutes indicator too. And another good point with Meistersinger is that having a watch with a different display wasn’t requiring huge pockets. Their watches were simple, robust and powered by reliable out-sourced ETA or ETA-clones movements. Things would change in 2014, with the Circularis.
The Circularis was first launched as a visually striking, yet highly simplistic watch. It was a time-only model, which at Meistersinger means one hand and nothing more. As we said it was a surprise, and quite instrument like in its display, recalling some vintage dashboard counters, but it was mainly from the back side of the watch that created the surprise. Indeed, no more ETA-like engines but a movement developed specifically for the brand – not manufactured by them though, yet you can’t find this movement in another watch, meaning that it is a “proprietary movement“. A nice design of the bridges, nice decorations, and a long power reserve of 5 days, from 2 large barrels with manual winding. We were far from the usual mechanics used by Meistersinger, and a development which was pleasantly refreshing.
Later, in 2016, we then witnessed the first evolution of the Circularis, with the addition of practicality – both in the movement and in the display. Indeed, Meistersinger created the Circularis Automatic, which as you might have guessed, featured a self-winding module on top of the 5-day power reserve movement. Also, on the dial side, a date was added, which makes quite some sense with the automatic movement. It was a watch more focussed on its ease of use on a day to day basis. The latest evolution which was presented to us at Baselworld 2017, featured the addition of a different complication to the base manual-wound movement, a complication that makes sense for a long power reserve calibre, the indication of the remaining power, and this Meistersinger Circularis Power Reserve is the watch we’re looking at today.
Compared to the early Circularis model, the style has been sensibly updated. Indeed, the first version was showing a dial with painted indexes and two distinct areas – in order to animate a watch that was in fact quite empty, as it featured only a single hand. The Meistersinger Circularis Power Reserve uses the style introduced by the Automatic model instead. More modern, more detailed, and leaning more towards the luxurious side… Based on a simple dial with different finishings, depending on the color chosen (grainy for the silver and black versions, almost lacquered on the ivory one, or sunburst on the blue/grey edition), it now features large and deep applied numerals. I always liked these numerals on Meistersinger watches, as they properly animate the dial and give it some depth and nice reflections. They are nicely executed, precisely cut and polished. As for the finishing of the dial, it is available in different colors depending on the version – blue, white or gold. In addition, some small hour indexes are also applied, matching the color of the numerals, and again, nice details to animate an sleek display.
The main novelty on the Meistersinger Circularis Power Reserve is the gauge placed at 9, which indicates the remaining power of the movement. While this can be sometimes seen as a gadget on some watches, it here makes a lot of sense, considering the manual-wound movement and the long power reserve (120 hours). Towards the end of the power reserve, so to say the critical moment when the movement tends to loose some accuracy, is highlighted with markers in a contrasting color.
To balance this indication at 9, the Meistersinger Circularis Power Reserve features a date window, placed at 3. While we, at Monochrome, are usually partisans of no-date watches, its presence here is not problematic, as it echoes the power reserve. The window is circled by a polished and chamfered ring, again a small detail that gives this watch a refined touch. The rest of the watch is familiar: same 43mm case (note that it wears on the larger side and requires a solid wrist), in fully polished stainless steel, a conical crown which is pleasant to use in order to wind the movement, and an alligator leather strap with pin buckle.
Under the hood is the same base movement as all Circularis watches, the calibre MSH02. Apart from the twin-barrels and the 120h / 5-day power reserve, this movement talks to the mechanical lovers that we are because of its design. Indeed, the large bridge on top is nicely opened and curved to reveal all the important technical elements (barrels, center wheel, balance). It is pleasant to look at, and its conception, not only technical but also visual, has been well thought through. Decorations are also pleasant, with circular Geneva stripes, blued screws and polished bevels. Furthermore, it is a full size movement, which fils the entire case – and which is something rare enough to be mentioned.
Overall, the Meistersinger Circularis Power Reserve is a nice evolution of the model, which shows more maturity, and is probably the nicest version – due to the practicality of the power reserve, and the animation it gives to a somehow empty dial and display, and because it is slimmer than the automatic. It is priced at 4,998 Euros and exists in 5 versions (Opaline Silver with blue indexes / Black with white indexes / Ivory with Blue indexes / Sunburst Steel Grey with gold indexes / Sunburst Steel Grey with gold indexes and gold bezel). More details on www.meistersinger.com.
Technical Specifications – Meistersinger Circularis Power Reserve
- Case: 43mm diameter x 12.5mm thick – polished stainless steel case – sapphire crystal on both sides – 50m water resistant
- Movement: Calibre MSH02, proprietary movement – manual wound – 120h power reserve with twi barrels – 31 jewels – 28,800vph – single-hand display with power reserve and date
- Strap: alligator leather strap with steel pin buckle
- Reference: CCP301
- Price: 4,998 Euros
The movement in fact is the SH21 movement developed for Christopher Ward.
@Andrew Fleetwood – They co-developed the movement with a Swiss manufacturer, and designed own bridges for both C. Ward and Meistersinger
Ophion watches has the same movement as well. Just more watch PR bulls–t.