Some rules are made to be broken. When you think MeisterSinger, you usually think accessible watches (with automatic movements) and single-hand displays. Whilst the latter has become something of a trademark of the brand, the former is more of a general rule of thumb. Today however that rule is about to be broken. Not that we’re complaining mind you, as what we’re about to show you is a proper good looking watch. Presenting the MeisterSinger Peter Henlein Edition, with proprietary Circularis Calibre, a gold case, a 5 digit price tag, super-limited production and a gorgeous looking antique dial.
Before we look at the reasons why this MeisterSinger Peter Henlein Edition breaks all the brand’s usual ‘rules’,it is probably prudent to ask; who is Peter Henlein? (because, in all honesty, unless you’re German you’ve probably never heard of him before). In Germany, one name in particular is synonymous with early watchmaking: Peter Henlein (around 1479 to 1542), a master locksmith from Nuremberg who was, for a long time, somewhat too generously accredited with having invented the first “wearable” clock. Although we now know that he was not the first to design this type of timepiece and that the famous “Nuremberg egg” pocket watches were only made after his death, he was certainly responsible for the popularity of the “pocket watch”. With a name like this attached to a limited edition watch, you want to expect something pretty special and the MeisterSinger Peter Henlein Edition definitely delivers.
The MeisterSinger ‘Rules’
First rule: MeisterSinger is known to manufacture mechanical watches that display the time with one single hour hand, precisely to the nearest five minutes – quite sufficient for most of us and enough to be on time at a meeting or to catch a train. Second rule: the time is always shown by upright hour digits (and by Arabic numerals). Third rule: MeisterSinger watches are usually steel, powered by ETA (or clones) movements and quite accessible – most are positioned in the 800 Euros – 3,000 Euros range. The MeisterSinger Peter Henlein Edition however respects none of these rules- although it still maintains some links with the rest of the collection.
The MeisterSinger Peter Henlein Edition has a 43mm case in 18k gold (not plated). The shape is still familiar, with the traditional hyper-large opening of the dial, the same long but curved lugs and the same crown. Inside is an interesting movement, the calibre MSH01 – which we explained here – also found in the Circularis. It debuted back in 2014 as the brand’s first ‘own’ movement – not an entirely in-house calibre as such but one that was made exclusively for MeisterSinger (a so-called proprietary movement). This manually wound calibre boasts 5 days of power reserve and has quite a good design, with nicely designed bridges and many visible technical elements (including the two barrels). For this edition, a more luxurious approach has been taken and so the plates and bridges are gold plated.
MeisterSinger calibre MSH01, here in a standard, non gold-plated version
The most striking aspect of the MeisterSinger Peter Henlein Edition is definitely its dial. It is based on historical timepieces, which Manfred Brassler, the founder of MeisterSinger, took as an inspiration when designing his single-hand watches. The specificity comes from the layout and the printings, with radially positioned hour markers – and you have two separate hour tracks: one on the periphery with Arabic digits and on in the center with Roman numerals. The white face, the fonts, the shape of the hands and their black color are all reminscent of Antique pocket watches – and clearly, it looks superb.
Another special touch is the the fact there’s not one, but two hands (one for the hours, one for the seconds). In Henlein’s day, clocks were designed with one single hand – firstly because they were unable to indicate smaller units of time with any degree of precision, and secondly because the world simply did not need to run by minutes or even seconds. However, there is a good reason why the “Peter Henlein” edition in particular is also fitted with a second hand: It is the prerequisite for participating in the precision tests in the laboratories of the Swiss COSC, according to which the watch may be officially named the first MeisterSinger chronometer.
The MeisterSinger Peter Henlein is a limited edition of 15 pieces, already available and priced at 14,000 Euros. www.meistersinger.com