If you are a regular visitor to Monochrome-Watches, you will know us for our in-depth reviews of high-end dream-watches (a grail watch persé). That’s what we love here and we hope that’s what you love to read about too. However, from time to time, we have to get our feet back down to earth and to think about the watches that you (and us too) could afford – which is, considering our usual level of expectations, quite difficult. But we found one that is really a great deal with the right amount of uniqueness to grab our interest – and most likely, yours too. Let’s have a look at the 2015 collection of the MeisterSinger Neo, a small retro-inspired single-hand watch for less than 1.000 euros (and of course with a mechanical movement).
First of all, what are MeisterSinger watches about? A good quality, a pleasant design, simple but reliable mechanical movements (or even sometimes more interesting mechanical movements) and prices that are really acceptable. Right, all of these are interesting features but there’s nothing unique here. There are other brands that are doing affordable, qualitative, well-designed mechanical watches. However, don’t be wrong. MeisterSinger really has something unique – and quite cool too… Mono-aiguille watches (in the watchmaking language). Or to be simple: single-hands watches.
This is THE hallmark of the brand, and what makes it so special and stands out from the rest of the production that comes with classical, overseen 2 or 3-hand watches. Not the easiest feature to get used to at the beginning, this unique hand becomes in fact quite interesting after a few hours of adaptation. It even becomes very cool, as first it has this kind of poetic way to tell the time and it also creates a sort of unique watch. You’ll be able to look down at all the random people with their boring, usual 3-hand watches – and as we all know, less could be more. Talking about less, we wanted to have a look at the entry-level of MeisterSinger, the Neo. Not a new watch on its own but for Baselworld 2015, it received a few adjustments.
Less is more… Less is more… Keep that in mind because the Meistersinger Neo is all about this motto: less hands, less features, less metal, less weight, less inscriptions but in the end, it gives more pleasure than expected. First of all the Neo comes with less metal as its case measures only 36mm. As we like to remind our readers, this size used to be a normal diameter for a watch in the early 2000s (that’s not that far from us). A 36mm watch is also bringing something that a 42mm case can’t have: a delicate elegance. Keeping a watch (very) reasonably sized allows you to wear it in every circumstance, with every outfit and on every wrist (not everyone on earth can really sport a 45mm brick without appearing stupid). This watch will definitely look good on a teenager, on an older man with elegant attires or… on your wife’s wrist (that may be the main issue with smaller watches… Your lovely lady will certainly want to borrow your watch). Anyway, you also might be aware of another feature of this watch; its absence of bezel, making its face a dial-only – thus virtually increasing its diameter. Be sure that on the average wrist, the Meistersinger Neo will look appropriate.
Less hands… As the Neo is a MeisterSinger, it is likely to come with only one hand – like the Perigraph, the Salthora, the Circularis, the Salthora Meta or the Adhaesio. This typical feature was at the center of the concept of the brand, when Manfred Brassler created it in 2001 – while everyone was (and are still) trying to get watches more and more complicated. How does it feel to read time with only a single hand? At the very beginning, not that easy. We are so used to decompose time in hours and minutes that reading the hours and an approximate minute with one hand is not totally natural. However, after a few hours, you’ll probably get used to it and it will become convenient. Of course, if you have OCD signs and are obsessed with precision to the second, this Neo is not for you, as you won’t clearly identify the exact minute.
Less inscriptions… Well, there is nothing else than the brand and the name of the model written on the dial, which is good and elegant. However, when it comes to the indexes, this watch brings more. What you see are not minute indexes (like on your neighbor’s extremely boring 3-hand watch) and no, there are not 60 markers. In fact there are 144 markers on the dial, each indicating a 5-minute interval. Time reading will thus be precise to the 5 closest minutes, which is, on a daily basis, more than precise enough. The point of the Meistersinger Neo is not to be the most precise watch but rather to offer a different display without falling into extreme complications. It certainly has a bit of poetry and of outdated / retro coolness in it – which fits quite well the size and shape of the case.
Less features… Yes, the Meistersinger Neo is a simple watch that only displays the time and the date – features that you can also find in extremely expensive watches. It is however powered by (again) a simple but reliable movement that will do its job for ages – an ETA 2824 or its clone, the Selitta SW 200-1 (that is more likely to become the standard movement). This self-winding movement has nothing wrong and is so easy to service and to maintain that you can go for it eyes closed – it’s what horological nerds call a tractor. One regret for the new-comers: you won’t be able to see it as the caseback is full (but considering the price level, it would have mean a non-finished movement. Instead, you’ll get a nicely engraved caseback). Last but nice detail: the Meistersinger Neo comes with a Plexiglas instead of a sapphire crystal that brings an extra-warmness to the dial.
For 2015, the Neo has new dials and (nice) suede straps combinations: a silver dial (with sunburst pattern) combined with a black strap, a plain black dial with a cognac strap, a sand dial with brown strap and a blue dial (with sunburst pattern) combined with a light grey strap. Cherry on the cake: its price… € 998 Euros, which is for a unique watch, with the right amount of originality and elegance and a Swiss mechanical movement, not the worst deal ever. More on Meistersinger.net.