Some of you might be like us, quite bored sometimes by the concept of the traditional watch, with traditional 3-hand display, on the traditional central axis, running on a traditional round dial. This is not a big issue, knowing that many watchmakers offer other displays of the time. However, not all of us can afford a MB&F or a MCT. This is why MeisterSinger, with their offer of single-hand watches (Circularis, Phanero, Neo…), might be under your scope already. Well, not bad already but you can even have more, as the brand introduced a watch that both features a single hand and a jumping hour (not that usual) and that features a sapphire dial to expose all the mechanics: the MeisterSinger Salthora Meta Transparent. Ready for the horology lesson?
The concept behind MeisterSinger is properly interesting and rather unique in the current state of the industry. They indeed offer watches with accessible prices and with a different display of the time, mainly based on the mono-aiguille / single-hand idea – a characteristic that we already exposed to you several time, with previous watches of the brand (see here). Of course, because these watches are mostly placed in the 800 / 3,000 price range, don’t expect to see incredible features, like revolving hours, time indicated by chains or fluids. However, the single-hand is already quite different from the usual “3-hand watches” crowd and allows collectors with a restrained budget to enjoy something different, unusual and mechanically interesting.
In 2014 though, the brand did something that rather impressed us, as combining the single-hand with a complication rarely seen in such a price range; the jumping hour. This watch was the Meistersinger Salthora, combining the beauty of a different display with a really good legibility of the time (because yes, the mono-aiguille might be a bit confusing). Later, the brand came with a sportier version, the Salthora Meta. This year, the latter undergoes an evolution which we think is a properly clever move: it now features a sapphire dial to expose all the mechanics behind the jumping hour system, and that, for horology lovers, is really good news.
Not only having the dial transparent allows to give a more technical look to this watch but it also help in understanding how such a mechanism works. Education is part of the pleasure when having complex watches and here, you just have to look at this MeisterSinger Salthora Meta Transparent to feel like a watchmaking expert – sort of… Let us explain you the jumping hour in details. First, basics: a jumping hour won’t jump from itself, so the energy to rotate the disk (with hour numerals) has to be build up and stored, before it will be released. Both building up the required energy and releasing it, will have an impact on the gear train, and thus the precision of the watch.
Centrally positioned is the hour wheel (the central 12 pointed-star), which makes one full rotation in 12 hours. At the 3 o’clock position is the “position spring” fixed. It has a long arm that is pressed against the hour wheel, with a certain pressure. This pressure can be regulated by the “excenter” screw. It serves to keep the hour wheel from making a to abrupt movement. To the left of the hour wheel is a bridge for the actuating lever, that pivots at the point of the ruby. The swan neck serves to keep the right amount of pressure on the actuating lever. Below the actuating lever is a sensing device for the minute cam, with a spring, which will be loaded over the course of 60 minutes. After 60 minutes the actuating lever (actually its part on the right) will ‘actuate’ the hour wheel and the position spring (yes, that thing at the 3 o’clock position) will make sure the hour wheel will just rotate 30 degrees, and therefore switch to the next hour. Now not only you could wear a complex watch (for a decent price) but you can now explain it. It never hurts to show off a bit in society.
This module on top of the movement has been slightly redesigned, finished and decorated (while rather raw on the non transparent edition). Same goes for the main-plate of this MeisterSinger Salthora Meta Transparent, which is now decorated with circular Geneva stripes. This module is attached to some proven and reliable ETA 2828-2 or Sellita SW200-1 (same construction for both). This movement is visible through the sapphire caseback. It beats at 4Hz and boasts 38 hours of power reserve – but mainly, it is solid and precise enough to power the jumping hour module.
The rest of the watch feels traditional for the brand. The single-hand concept is not entirely true anymore, as the central hand only displays the minutes (while other MeisterSinger watches display the hours), however, the look is still rather MeisterSinger. The dial, because packed with technical elements, could have been uneasy to read, however, the brand, with this MeisterSinger Salthora Meta Transparent, made the right choices: a large and blue minute ring on the periphery, a large white hand for the minutes and the jumping hour circled at 12 and clearly visible.
The MeisterSinger Salthora Meta Transparent comes in a quit hefty 43mm stainless steel case – a large size for sure, however the watch remains easy to wear and pleasant on the wrist. The only aspect that not entirely pleased us is the strap, whether the color or the texture… but this is just a strap, nothing to be worried about here (and MeisterSinger offers a large range of straps).
The MeisterSinger Salthora Meta Transparent is available already and priced at 3,200 Euros or US$3,675. www.meistersinger.com.
Specifications of the MeisterSinger Salthora Meta Transparent
- Case: 43mm diameter x 13mm height – Stainless steel, polished – Sapphire crystal on both sides – 50m water resistant
- Movement: ETA 2828-2 or Sellita SW200-1 – automatic – 28,800vph – 38 hours power reserve – minutes and jumping seconds
- Strap: large choice of leather and steel bracelets
- Reference: SAM908TR