2021 is shaping up to be a big year for German watchmaking brand MeisterSinger. With some highly intriguing releases, including the Bell Hora and Stratoscope, there’s plenty more to discover. And MeisterSinger being MeisterSinger, the brand is sticking to what it does best for its latest novelty: single-hand watches. This new model is the MeisterSinger Unomat, and it is the most robust vision of the mono-aiguille. A solid chunk of steel on the wrist, we went hands-on with it to see if it is any good.
Ever since MeisterSinger started in 2001 – the company is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year – the focus has been on producing watches that offer something different, something unexpected. And if reducing indications to a single hand takes a little period of adaptation, it does offer a precise enough indication of the time for everyday use. That philosophy, a dedication to fleeting moments of time which MeisterSinger calls True Time, still seems fresh and original.
In its 20 years of existence, the watch manufacturer has played around with various additional indications whilst remaining true to the brand’s identity. Examples are the Circularis Power Reserve or the well-loved Perigraph range with an exposed date disc. Even the most recently introduced watches are instantly recognisable as a MeisterSinger but offer something new. The Bell Hora, for instance, is a single-handed watch with a chiming hour complication hidden underneath the dial. And sticking to another trait of MeisterSinger, relative affordability, the Bell Hora costs less than EUR 3,500, making it the most affordable hour-strike watch on the market.
The new MeisterSinger Unomat
The next watch to be presented in 2021 is the MeisterSinger Unomat, a more robust take on the brand’s concept. In terms of looks, it fits right in, but there are subtle touches that elevate it from other models. Yes, we still have the needle-shaped single hand revolving over the dial, and yes, we still have double-digit hour markers to keep the dial balanced, but take a closer look, and you will notice more than a few differences.
At 43mm in diameter, the Unomat is a pretty sizable watch that actually looks even larger than it really is. At first, I was convinced it would be 44mm or up, and I was surprised to learn it is the same diameter as my personal Salthora Meta X. The visual effect of the size is largely due to the very narrow bezel. This keeps the dial as large as can be, greatly enhancing the perceived size of the watch. The case has brushed sides and a polished finish on top of the lugs, as well as a polished bezel. The bezel flows into the domed sapphire crystal seamlessly.
Adding to the robust look and feel is a solid screw-down caseback and screw-down crown. The latter is protected by crown guards protruding from the caseband. Despite the large proportions of the Unomat, it sits quite well on the wrist. The lug-to-lug measurement is 50.6mm, which is not too bad, and the strong angle of the lugs helps keeping things comfortable. The choice for a solid caseback is dictated by two reasons: the anti-magnetic properties and the comfortable 300m water-resistance.
The dial of the MeisterSinger Unomat is either matte black or steel blue. Regardless of the colour, the dial is extremely legible due to the size and clear markings. As with virtually all MeisterSingers, the double-digit hour markers keep it balanced throughout. The single hand, shaped like a needle, is another MeisterSinger trademark, although it has been enlarged compared to previous models. It is also coated with a good amount of luminous material, as are the markers for every hour in the minute track. Although “minute track” doesn’t really cut it. The outer edge of the dial has a track that helps you distinguish hours (in low light due to the luminous coating).
Furthermore, there are larger markings at every 15-minute intervals, with additional glossy markers placed on the inside of the track for every half hour. This is a nice touch, elevating the dial to be slightly more than tool-ish in design. Lastly, there is a circular date window at the bottom, with a black disc and white print, the brand name and logo and model designation in white.
The MeisterSinger Unomat has the automatic Sellita SW 400 calibre inside (a larger version of the SW 200, with date further away from the centre), protected against magnetic fields up to 24,000 A/m. In comparison, this puts it well above the very rugged Citizen Promaster Mechanical Diver 200M NB6004 we recently covered. The SW 400 movement has 26 jewels and runs at a frequency of 4Hz. Fully wound, it will have a power reserve of 38 hours. Plenty for everyday use, but it could be a little better. As mentioned, the movement is hidden from view under the solid caseback and decorated with an engraved “MeisterSinger” logo in relief.
The MeisterSinger Unomat comes on a beefy five-link steel bracelet with a folding buckle. The outer links are brushed, with the three middle links polished, for a more luxurious look and feel. It has a good length as standard, so even larger wrists can surely accommodate this watch. And just to be as complete as possible, I’ve measured the watch, and it weighs174 grams.
But is it any good? I started with this question, so I should finish with it too. Frankly put, yes. It is robust, well-built and does everything you’d expect and more. The increased water-resistance, even outperforming the brand’s dive watch, and anti-magnetic properties are pretty satisfying. The large, highly legible dial is a treat and has enough extra touches to keep it from being mundane. Paired with the enlarged and luminous hand, the Unomat will be a very welcome friend in just about any circumstances.
Are there any downsides? Well, it would be nitpicking, and even though the proportions are well balanced, I know many will argue 43mm is too large. I honestly feel MeisterSinger did a proper job to keep everything in check. Size and comfort aren’t just down to simple measurements; it’s a combination of things, including one’s own size and shape of wrist. Try it, and I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Availability & price
The MeisterSinger Unomat will become available from the end of June this year for EUR 1,990. And just like several other watches by MeisterSinger, the Unomat has recently won the prestigious Red Dot Design Award 2021 for outstanding design.
More information on MeisterSinger.com.