Watches made for human needs
MeisterSinger builds timepieces for people who do not need to count their time in seconds
Since 2001, very special mechanical wristwatches have been manufactured in the Westphalian city of Münster: They have only one single hour hand with a fine needle point that enables the wearer to read the time exactly to the nearest five minutes. Company founder Manfred Brassler creates his classical timepieces with this unique characteristic in the technical and cultural tradition of early watchmaking.
Single-hand watches – a concept with tradition
The tower clocks of the Middle Ages also needed nothing more than a single hand: Visible from far away for the town’s citizens and the rural population, they showed how the day progressed, when it was time to rest, or when to finish work in the evenings. They helped people to plan their time.
It was only modern times and the advent of industrialization that made it necessary to think in terms of increasingly short time periods. The clocks were gradually fitted with minute and second hands, which made people aware of the constant passing of valuable time. Finally, the invention of the digital watch made the seconds and their fractions large and equal in importance next to the hour, even though their display changed quicker than the eye could read it.
Manfred Brassler – reflection on what is truly important
As Manfred Brassler founded MeisterSinger back in 2001, he wanted to create an alternative to wristwatches that showed time as something constantly racing along. He had already gained a wealth of experience in watch design – and drew most of his inspiration from historical single-hand clocks to make timepieces that only show their wearers what is really important and give them a general overview, instead of bothering them with the hectic passing of seconds that they don’t really need to worry about.
Nevertheless, MeisterSinger watches are easy to read because Brassler gave their dials the practical, clear readability that classical gauges and measuring instruments still have today – and which makes them unmistakable. Typical characteristics are the leading zeroes on the hour digits and the highly domed glass.
Although the early collections differed visually, primarily through their typography and technically through their type of mechanical movement (MeisterSinger makes both manually wound and automatic watches), over the years the range has been expanded to include more complex models that also show the weekday, the date, or even a second time zone. For these additional indications too, Manfred Brassler developed the idea of open date and time disks to form a special design that is fully in keeping with the MeisterSinger idea, also because the rotation of the disks reminds us of the celestial mechanics that are the basis of how we measure time.
The MSH01 movement – technical sophistication and aesthetic ideals
With the success of its watches among buyers, MeisterSinger also raised the level of technical sophistication in its own products. In Switzerland, the company had the perfect movement for its timepieces made to measure; the manually wound MSH01, which has incredible power reserves due to its twin in-line mainspring barrels, is able to guide the single hand with great precision and smoothness. With the design of the movement’s unique bridge, Manfred Brassler successfully merged the technical with the aesthetic ideals of MeisterSinger. It is unusual for a watch movement to win a design award, but the MSH01 won the coveted red dot Design Award soon after it was launched.
Outstanding: From Münster to the rest of the world
MeisterSinger watches have already won numerous prestigious design awards, including red dot Awards and iF Design Awards. Moreover, they are regularly given accolades by the editorial teams and readers of the trade press.
Apart from company founder and designer Manfred Brassler, a team of 14 people looks after product development, communication, trade fair appearances, sales, and after-sales service.
Last year alone, around 10,000 MeisterSinger watches were shipped from Münster to destinations around the world. In addition to the strong domestic market, the brand has long since become established abroad. Last year, for example, in New York, Paris, and London, the number of points of sale was increased to include several additional prestigious addresses.
MeisterSinger and much-loved rituals
MeisterSinger advertises with the line “Rituals of Time” because through the contact with customers, the company has realized that what commits wearers to their MeisterSinger watches is the fact that technical precision is not imposed upon them, but still accompanies them throughout their day. And because they tell the wearer when it is time for the rituals and events that give their day structure; such as the time for morning coffee, the time to call home, or when to arrive for band practice with close friends, i.e. regularly occurring, intimately personal rituals that the wearer looks forward to and enjoys. A MeisterSinger watch helps to create that enjoyment because it enables the wearer to perceive time in a different, more relaxed way. A watch that tells the time to the nearest five minutes makes the wearer more tolerant towards being slightly early or late, and definitely calmer in the knowledge that really important appointments are not measured in seconds. And in the end, every glance at an intelligently designed watch is also a pleasant little ritual in itself.