Monochrome Watches
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The New MeisterSinger Neo Collection Exemplifies the Beauty of Simplicity

A compact watch that is deceptively simple, but brings tons of charisma.

| By Brice Goulard | 5 min read |

For obvious reasons, the watch world tends to glorify complexity and the accumulation of functions into a single watch. We, at MONOCHROME, are no better than the rest of the crowd and we can spend days contemplating a Grande Complication watch, or a timepiece with a novel, ultra-complex escapment. However, we also tend to forget the primary function of a watch; indicating the time. Mastering complexity can be… complex. But so does simplicity. The less is more approach has long been a difficult exercise, where making a watch interesting and characterful by striping down everything unnecessary is not often convincing. With its updated Neo Collection, German brand MeisterSinger has decided to focus on the essential, to the point where not even the minute hand makes sense. Is it enough to be appealing? Let’s check it out. 

The brand launched by Manfred Brassler in 2001, MeisterSinger, has since its early days focussed on a highly specific display, its signature “decomplication” if you will; indicating the time thanks to a single hand or mono-aiguille. A tribute to sundials and single-hand clock towers of the Middle Ages, the single-hand feature is here to remind us that another philosophy of life is possible, and that we can look at time through another prism. No frenetic high-frequency hand rotating once every 10 seconds around the dial here. No fast jumping indications. Just that one hand that completes a revolution in 12 hours, with sub-segments to indicate the closest 5-minute mark… And in reality, for most of our moments in life, isn’t it sufficient? Who needs to be present at the exact second to a meeting? If this is the case, then I’m sorry for you. 

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Having to create a collection, MeisterSinger has, over the years, added multiple functions to its single-hand display, such as jumping hours, dual time zones, a moon phase, a chiming device and power reserve indicators. There was even a mono-pusher chronograph featuring four hands in total at a point (the Paleograph). Recent models have shown, however, that if the days of complications might not be entirely over at MeisterSinger, the brand has decided to refocus on the essential; classic watches with a single hand and tons of charm. And the new Neo, a compact, accessible and minimalistic piece, just shows how great a watch with only one hand can be.

The MeisterSinger Neo isn’t entirely new. It’s a long-time classic from the brand that was redesigned in 2015 and remained untouched, until recently. It was and still is the epitome of minimalistic elegance within the MeisterSinger catalogue. As said by Denis, “Since its redesign in 2015, the Neo line has seamlessly blended classic vintage aesthetics with modern elements, offering elegance, good looks, and decent prices.” But there’s a new one coming. What has changed? A few things really, such as the addition of a sapphire crystal replacing the fragile acrylic glass or an upgraded water-resistance (50m instead of 30m). What was good about the watch, its ultra-clean yet charming look, is almost untouched. In fact, it’s even cleaner than before as it got rid of the date.

Let’s briefly talk about the specifications. The case; polished steel for most of the surfaces, a supremely pleasant-to-wear-and-touch pebble shape, a brilliant 36mm diameter and a thickness of just under 10mm (and in reality, it feels much less due to the domed sapphire and caseback). The mechanics; a reliable Sellita SW200 automatic (clone of the ETA 2824) that will do its job, no questions asked. The options are plenty. MeisterSinger offers 3 different dials; ivory with black numerals (not photographed here), sunburst blue with white numerals and white with golden numerals and blue baton markers. You’ll also have the choice between a cowhide leather strap, a nubuck leather strap or a Milanese mesh steel bracelet.

For once, I’m going to leave the factual part at this. If you want to have more details, please consult this article. Instead, I’m now going to talk about feelings and emotions. Only a few watches can claim to be appealing with so little going on with their cases and dials. What do they have instead? Shapes, proportions, balance of the colours, elegance on the wrist. And this is where the MeisterSinger Neo strikes hard. On the principle, if you try to describe this watch to a person who can’t see it, you’ll end up drawing the image of an utterly boring object. It could have happened, but it certainly doesn’t.

Just like the watches designed by Max Bill during the 1960s, the MeisterSinger Neo has this inexplicable charm of a perfectly balanced object with timeless attire, refined design, sleek but not strict, elegant yet casual, not gender-related, small but present. It is quite hard to describe in words what a watch feels like on the wrist, but I can imagine that the photos speak for themselves. This watch is not demonstrative, not flashy, not complicated and yet it has a highly pronounced personality. You could almost remove the logo and most would see it as a MeisterSinger. It doesn’t have many strings on its bow but what it does is to strike the right strings, the right way.

I can think of a handful of other accessible watches that have managed to bring simplicity to such an interesting level; the Nomos Tangente and the Junghans Max Bill are two great examples. And yet, despite having so little to play around, each has its own personality and charisma. Well done MeisterSinger, this new Neo is a lovely little watch.

The updated MeisterSinger Neo Collection is now available from the brand and its retailers, and is part of the permanent collection. It is priced starting at EUR 1,880. For more details, please visit

2 responses

  1. Only one hand. How ridiculous !! Are MS going to try a sundial next?

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