German brand MeisterSinger has carved a niche in the market with its single-handed watches. The Perigraph, MeisterSinger’s automatic watch with an open date ring is revisited in this handsome, 43mm bronze case. A winning combination of industrial German design with the warm vintage appeal of bronze, this new take on the Perigraph is a limited edition of just 100 pieces and is available at retailers now. And here are our thoughts about it.
Going for the Bronze
As you know, bronze cases have made a strong comeback on the watch scene. Thanks to its resistance to corrosion, bronze has been used widely in the production of nautical and scientific instruments. The patina that develops over time gives watches a distinctive antique feel we associate with early marine chronometers and other seafaring equipment. And don’t be fooled into thinking that only chunky dive watches (this or that) are suitable vessels for the heavy metal, bronze has transitioned across the board as a case material for pilot watches and even high-end chronographs.
In addition to its solidity and weight, the appeal of bronze lies in its transformative powers that adapt in a unique, personalised way to each individual wearer. Nobody can tell how bronze will react to the elements giving it an almost organic, unpredictable temperament that many people relish. You can read all about bronze watches and how to care from them here in Xavier’s article or in Brice’s article about the B&R Diver, to see how bronze can evolve.
Before being handled, the case of the Perigraph was still bright and shiny with a reddish gleam but after a couple of days on the wrist, the bronze got duller and became more matte. The quality and finish of the case are good and the reverse side features an exhibition caseback – of course, in steel for allergenic reasons. The large diameter and short lugs (with a minimum degree of curvature) ensure the watch has a commanding presence on the wrist. The thin bezel is designed to provide a generous view of the dial, and the crown, which is on the large side, has been coated with black DLC. This is perhaps the one aspect of the watch that clashed with the overall bronze look. Perhaps the watch would look better with a bronze crown or at least a bronze-coated crown?
Creative Industrial Design
MeisterSinger’s aesthetic is clearly industrial and instrument-driven, no doubt adherents of the “form follows function” school. When I first encountered the brand about ten years ago, the watches reminded me of pressure gauges or old speedometers, a bit like Giuliano Mazzuoli’s Manometro model. The trademark of all MeisterSinger watches is the single-hand method of reading time and once you’ve mastered it, it is actually very instinctive. Inspired by ancient (single pointer) time measuring instruments like sundials and tower clocks, the single hand on MesiterSinger watches provides both the hour and minute readings.
The twelve hours on the black matte dial – all double-digit figures for symmetrical reasons – are divided by 144 markers, each marker representing an increment of 5 minutes and the bolder and longer ones representing 15, 30 and 45 minutes. The long needle pointer, in this case, picked out in Old Radium cream-coloured luminescent material with a red tip, reaches almost all the way to the bezel for a more accurate time reading. The domed sapphire crystal produces a loupe effect at certain angles and some interesting reflections.
The recipient of many design awards and in circulation since 2013, the single-hand system of the Perigraph (and other MeisterSinger watches) is supposed to slow down the pace of things. The fact that there is nothing in fast motion on the dial, no small seconds hand or anything else in movement, gives the watch a more static, less animated presence that people who are not obsessed with millisecond timings might appreciate.
An Open Date Ring
The matte black dial with cream-coloured luminescent accents and red touches offers sharp contrasts for heightened legibility and, once you’ve mastered the one-hand trick, is very easy to consult. In the dark, the luminescent material glows green. The open date wheel is an elegant solution and dispenses with the problematic date window that seems to irk so many purists. Slightly recessed from the time indications, the date ring rotates and the red pointer reveals the date in question.
If you look again at the date ring you will notice that only the odd numbers of a calendar month are represented, the even days are indicated by a red line; a wise design choice that perpetuates the clean, uncluttered style of the dial. In the centre, a disc on the same level as the hours and minutes track bears the brand name, the name of the watch and the curious brand logo that looks like a crescent moon with a dot – or is it a one-eyed smiley face in keeping with the one-hand dials?
Reliable Automatic Movement
MeisterSinger has fitted the Perigraph with a standard but reliable automatic movement (an ETA 2824-2 or a Sellita 200-1) oscillating at 28,800vph (4Hz) with a power reserve of 38 hours. Surrounded by a thick metal ring held in place with six screws and engraved with the limited edition number, the window reveals the standard finishes of the movement including thick Geneva stripes on the rotor. Obviously, the date will have to be adjusted throughout the year and the crown has two positions: the first to advance the date and the second to stop the movement and adjust the single hand.
Definitely a watch for men who appreciate contemporary design and enjoy the quirkiness of a single-hand to relay the hours and minutes. The bronze case and black dial look great and the open date ring proves there are other solutions to date windows or cut-outs on a dial. Minimalist and slightly industrial, the cold instrument nature of the watch is warmed up with bronze. Our only misgiving is the black DLC crown.
The Perigraph Bronze comes with a weathered or distressed calfskin strap to echo the worn look that the bronze case will acquire over time. A limited edition of 100 pieces, the Perigraph Bronze retails for EUR 2,090. Not a bad price at all for a bronze watch and just a wee bit more expensive than the steel models which retail for EUR 1,850. For more information, please consult www.meistersinger.com.