The Story of MeisterSinger – Perfection Takes Time

Tags: About the brand | MeisterSinger | Classic

7.2.2022 | 13 MIN

When you mention single-hand watches in front of watch enthusiasts, many of them will immediately think of MeisterSinger. Although the brand is in its early twenties, it has already managed to create their own in-house movements and establish their rightful place among other watch-making brands. Since we, too, carry MS watches, we were able to look closely at the quality of their pieces and at the history of the brand.

This brand, which makes watches only, was founded in 2001 by Manfred Bressler in the German city of Münster. The founder's background is filled with excellent watch-related experience. He used to be a watch retailer, then, in 1989, he established the company Watch People with Klaus Botta.

Bressler would later sell it, and the paths of the two founders have separated. Today, Botta is also making one-hand watches, but with a different design. Bressler has chosen the path of elegant, quality mechanical watches.

Zakladatel MeisterSinger Manfred Brassler.

The founder of MeisterSinger Manfred Brassler.

But Bressler did not want to just establish another watch-making brand; the market is full of those. He wanted to be unique. He wanted to focus on the almost forgotten segment of the market; a gap in the market, which has more potential to catch people's attention now than ever before. During the 20 years of existence, MeisterSinger has managed to establish a significant position on the market.

The thought behind the one-hand watches was also Bressler's passion for minimalism and watchmaking of the 18th century. Therefore, the main source of inspiration were tower clocks and the well-known pocket watch "Souscription" by Louis Breguet. But what played the biggest role was Bressler's belief that perfection takes time. And so, single-hand watches were made.

ALL ABOUT: One-hand watches
ALL ABOUT: One-hand watches

Be lost in the moment, not in time and seconds

MeisterSinger goes back to the roots of perception of – and the reasons for keeping – time. Thus, a long story begins, the story of a watch-making "nerd" which is told by every single MeisterSinger one-hand watch.

At the beginning, timekeeping was a fundamental need which helped to synchronize simple tasks, like hunting, for example. Celestial objects were used, and sharp minds figured out that the Sun throws shadows, which change in the course of the day. That's how sundials were created.

Tower clocks, also single-hand at first, were created because of tool improvements and the need of more precise timekeeping. There were two main reasons for one-hand clocks. One, no one would mistake the minute hand for the hour hand. Two, at that time, clocks were not as precise, so the minute hand would be useless.

Až do 18. století bylo zcela běžné, že věžní hodiny měly jednu ručku.

Until the 18th century, single-hand tower clocks were common.

The reasons were the same as they were with pocket watches, which were invented in the 16th century. The need for more precise timekeeping, taking place at the end of 17th, although mostly during the 18th century, made it possible for watchmakers to add minute hands.

With the quick development of rail transport, the need for more precise watches also rose since minutes became important.

The story of the Ball Watch brand – A watch company that didn
The story of the Ball Watch brand – A watch company that didn't miss a train

In today's world, we count every second, and even a deviation of one second per million years seems unacceptable. Who could possibly be interested in a watch that can't tell if it's 10:17 or 10:18, then?

The thought behind MeisterSinger is that we live under contant pressure and stress, often looking at the time with the fear of being late. Maybe we should start trying to perceive time in a different way. Be lost in the moment, not in minutes and seconds. Live our lives, not let our watch dictate our lives.

Single-hand watches simply offer a more relaxed way of reading the time. They offer a chance to make time for what is really important and what we love. But I've gotten too deep into philosophy again... Let's look at how the name and the logo of the brand came to life.

Medieval Verses of Singers

Since MeisterSinger goes back to the beginnings of watchmaking, even the brand's name is based on tradition. Meistersinger were members of guild singers and poets of medieval Germany. If they were able to come up with new verses and melodies, they achieved the "meister" status.

Meistersingers's popularity peaked in the 16th century, and Richard Wagner wrote the opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg revolving around them. So, the German brand took the name of these bards, who had the privilege to create something new.

Název si MeisterSinger zvolil podle středověkých pěvců, kteří nejlépe vytvořili nový verš či tón. Zdroj:

MeisterSinger chose its name after medieval singers, who were able to write the best verse or melody. Source:

MeisterSinger is also aiming at making something new in the standardized segment of watches. Aiming at making watches which slow down the speed of today.

The logo of MeisterSinger, the fermata sign, also stems from this philosophy. Fermata in musical notations is a sign of rest. More exactly, a sign of prolonging the note on which it is written.

Notový zápis pro fermátu. Nota nebo pomlčka s tímto znaménkem trvá déle než obvykle

The symbol of musical notation of a fermata. A note or a rest under this sign should be played for longer than it would without the sign.

The symbolism of this is to rest on that note, to fully enjoy it. And what's better is that fermata could be translated as "crown" in some languages – that's why the logo is usually placed on the crown of MS watches.

Fermata na korunce MeisterSinger.

Fermata on the crown of a MeisterSinger watch.

Something in common

All the MeisterSinger watch collections have several common elements, which makes them easily distinguishable. When you see one of the watches, you can know for sure that it is a MeisterSinger. Not all brands manage to achieve this.

Most importantly, MS always uses Arabic double-digit hour numbers on a 12-hour dial. This way, we can be certain to find 144 indices marking every 5 minutes on the dial, and we can also see that every 15-minute interval is marked in bold. There is no model that would not meet these criteria, even if there are some complications added, like the day of the week, of month, etc. The intended outcome is not only a distinguishable design, but also better readability.

MeisterSinger zobrazuje hodiny vždy arabskými číselicemi a hodinu rozděluje po 5 minutách.

MeisterSinger always tells the time with Arabic numbers and divided the hour into 5-minute intervals.

Another thing that is certain is that inside every MeisterSinger watch, there is a mechanical movement ticking inside, be it hand-would or automatically wound. MS does not employ quartz movements. That is on purpose. MS highlights tradition of watchmaking, and – mechanical watch is usually not for people with a busy schedule where every second of their time is precious.

And of course, every watch has only one central hand (except from specific models with a chronograph for example). Even this is pretty rare, because although many brands carry single-hand watches, these are usually only a part of their collection. The hands of MS watches are long and pointy. They are minimalistic and not decorated, which further supports good readability.

Even though MS has never made a watch with more than one hand, you might have noticed the Singulator model with noncentral minute hand, and what's more, a second hand. The charm of one-hand watches was therefore preserved, but thanks to the Unitas 6498 calibre, the owner could read minutes and seconds, too.

Dokonce i u modelu Singulator se podařilo MS docílit efektu jednoručky.

Even the Singulator model kept the charm of a single-hand watch.

MeisterSinger manages to give the watches, in my opinion, an important design touch – all of their watches are beautifully balanced and symmetrical. It could be the result of making the watches elaborate, or just my own preference for the philosophy of minimalism. However it be, the touch is there. After all, MS has won many prestigious awards for their designs, including the German Design Award, Red Dot Award, and the iF Design Award. It was multiple of their models that won.

Model Lunascope ověnčený cenami za design.

The Lunascope model crowned with design awards.

I probably do not have to go into details when talking about the quality. Each piece is made with German precision and attention to detail. I believe that MS will convince you itself.

Vítězové Red Dot za rok 2021.

The winners of the Red Dot Award of the year 2021.

What Keeps the Hand Ticking

As was said above, MeisterSinger produces only mechanical watches. We can therefore choose from movements which are wound manually or automatically.

Although MeisterSinger is a German brand, the reliable Swiss Sellita movements are their movements of choice. Their, as well of other brands, for example German Bruno Söhnle.

Inside hand-wound mechanical watches, it is usually Sellita SW-210, power reserve of 42 hours. Inside self-winding watches, we can usually find Sellita SW-200, power reserve of 38 hours. The movements are slightly adjusted by MeisterSinger, which usually adjust the decoration of rotors and bridges.

There are also models with complication with Sellita inside, for example the beautiful Lunascope with Sellita SW-220 movement adjusted by MeisterSinger. In 2010, MeisterSinger made its first chronograph, the Singular chronograph, with the Valjoux 7750 movement inside.

Model s chronografem.

Singular model with chronograph.

In the past, we could also see interesting models with Unitas movements. We could list the 2003 limited edition Unitas 1Z as an example. Inside, there was the adjusted movement from the pocket watch Unitas 6497. The same calibre was used in the Archao model made of 18k gold. These models are not sold anymore.

Limitka Unitas 1Z s upraveným strojkem používaným původně v kapesních hodinkách.

The Unitas 1Z limited edition with the adjusted movement originally used in pocket watches.

One of the brand's biggest achievements is that after 20 years in industry, MeisterSinger has already designed three calibres of their own: MSH01 (hand-wound), MSH02 (hand-wound, display of power reserve), and MSA01 (automatic).

It was Manfred Brassler's, the founder's, dream to create his own mechanical movement; it was a dream which came true in 2014. What makes the calibre special are two mainsprings, giving the watch a power reserve of 120 hours. MSH01 was also the first which won the German Design Award.

In-house kalibr MSH01 s ručním nátahem a dvěma perovníky pro dosažení 120hodinové rezervy chodu.

Hand-wound in-house movement MSH01 with two mainsprings to achieve a 120-hour power reserve.

These movements appear in the Circularis collection, and we can watch them through the see-through case back made of sapphire.

Speaking about collections, let us look at how the collections are different from each other. MeisterSinger divides its watches into four collections: Classic, Classic Plus, Meisterstücke, and New Vintage.

MeisterSinger Classic. The First Ones.

The most basic of the basic ones and the most minimalistic of the minimalistic ones. That's theMeisterSinger Classic Collection. It is divided into three lines: N°01, N°03, and Pangaea.

The most typical is the N°01 Collection. In this collection, MeisterSinger shows the basics of its philosophy. No complication, only a simple dial and one hand.

Not only do the watches not have a date display, but the watches also do not use automatic winding. With MeisterSinger N°01, you can look forward to a nice routine of hand winding the crow. The case back is usually see-through (with watches of 40 mm diameter), or steel, decorated with the fermata logo (with watches of 43 mm diameter). Underneath it, the Swiss Sellita SW-210 movement is hidden, with the frequency of 4Hz and power reserve up to 42 hours.

Modely s ručním nátahem od Sellity mají obvykle plné dýnko zdobené logem MS.

Hand-wound models with Sellita movements have their case back usually decorated with the MS logo.

The elegant steel case of silver colour is only 11.5 mm thick, with slightly domed sapphire glass, no PVD done, and dials made in basic beige and blue colours. The perfect ingredients for a timeless model.

Unlike N°01, the N°03 collection uses automatic movements. The movements are usually Sellita SW-200, the most common equivalent of ETA 2824-2. This is the reason why some models come with the date display.

In this collection, Meister is not afraid to experiment with the confident black DLC-coated line, or with a watch made from bronze. However, it is still a highly minimalistic collection.

How better to describe the Pangaea Collection than a collection which is playful but elegant at the same time. The watches are automatic with basic complications, like the date or the day of the week. The movements are also based on Sellita SW-200. This collection is one of the smaller ones of the Classic line, the diameter measuring up to 40 mm, which makes the watches look great even on thinner wrists.

MeisterSinger Classic Plus. The Second Ones.

Classic Plus Collection might look similar to the Classic collection, but there is something added. It's plus something. MeisterSinger was playing with colours and date displays (an example would be the Perigraph Collection).

MeisterSinger Perigraph S-AM1025, zdroj:

MeisterSinger Perigraph S-AM1025, source:

The most impressive is probably the Astroscope collection, which shows the day of the week using the method of Babylonians, who attributed planets to days of the week. Mercury is Wednesday, Venus is Friday etc. And these are the planet symbols which we can see on the dial. The movement of the light across the dial is intriguing, but I will write more information about that in a review.

Last but not least, the Unomat Collection, great for everyday use; it's 300 meters water-resistant, protected screwed crown, extra strong screwed case back, and it is antimagnetic. Unomats are the only watches by MeisterSinger which are leaning towards the sportier kind of watches.


MeisterSinger Meisterstücke. A true meisterpiece.

This is where MeisterSinger put all the mechanical treasures. Although all the other collections offer tested and reliable, nevertheless basic, movements by Sellita, the Meisterstücke collection offers interesting complications and even their own movement (Circularis Collection).

The most aesthetically impressive are Lunascope and Stratoscope. They display current moon phase; the Stratoscope models can also be used at night thanks to their luminescence.

It's not only about how the watches are pleasing to the eye, but also about the precision of the moon phase complication, which needs to be adjusted only once in 122 years.

The moon phase complication – The most breathtaking and unnecessary complication
The moon phase complication – The most breathtaking and unnecessary complication

But my favourite is the Bell Hora Collection, which could make the night sky jealous. Every hour, the watch plays the most beautiful of tones. A tone, which cannot be simply described by words. A miniature hammer hits a second type of metal, creating a tone similar to the sound of a triangle or a small bell. This hourly "alarm" can be turned off. Although I could not imagine who would want to give up this beautiful sound. Well, maybe at night or at the theatre...

MeisterSinger New Vintage. Nostalgy of Today

The last collection is the New Vintage Collection. Looking at this watch, you might feel the same nostalgic feeling like you do when you're looking at old photo cameras or gramophones. Some kind of "old junk" some people don't want to get rid of. The photos are not sharp enough; vinyl music just sounds different. It sounds out-dated. Too old-school. And the New Vintage watch might be too retro for some, too. But for a small group of enthusiasts, this watch is the true vintage style.

Based on the design of 50's and 60's, back when the time of quartz watches would still be in the future and when people had to call from a phone booth on the corner of the street, not from the watch on their wrist. There are three collections in New Vintage: Neo, Metris, and Vintago, each of these has its specific design elements.

For example, the Metris Collection has an easily distinguishable shape of its case. It is also 200-meter waterproof and the diameter of convenient 38 mm.

The Neo Collection's edge is thin, making the dial stand out, which is especially true with the model in the original red colour. This red colour was MeisterSinger's colour of the year 2021. This model is also one of the few models where the plastic glass makes the retro effect more prominent.

And what about the Vintago Collection? Now that's the real retro piece. Classic shape, conventional colours of dials, smaller diameter. Of course, with a domed glass and ingenious date display. The trick of the watch? MeisterSinger left no sign of asymmetry.

What makes MeisterSinger single-hand watches unique?

Well, apart from the fact that they have only one hand...

From time to time, MeisterSinger makes interesting limited editions, which are not only uniquely pleasing to the eye, but also with a story behind them. One of the latest would be the limited edition which is connected directly to the Czech Republic.

MeisterSinger City Edition 2020 Antonín Dvořák

MeisterSinger City Edition 2020 Antonín Dvořák

MS regularly creates City Edition, which is connected with a chosen city worldwide. In 2020, they made an exception for the Czech Republic and created 10 pieces of the MeisterSinger City Edition 2020 Antonín Dvořák. On the case back, there was a picture of this famous composer and a copy of his autograph.

One of the currently most interesting pieces is definitely the MeisterSinger Planet Earth. A limited edition of 500 pieces has been created in cooperation with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF). Not only is it highly creative, but it is also a warning of our planet Earth's global issues.

Although whatever your opinion of ecology might be, this watch will catch your eye by the realistic portrayal of the Earth. Through the sapphire case back, we can see the Sellita SW 400 movement and the detail on the rotor – a panda, the mascot of WWF. MeisterSinger has really thought this watch through, even the strap is vegan (eco leather made of apple fibre) and the box 100 % recyclable.

I do believe that MS is only getting started. Having been on the market for 20 years, we can only look forward to more of MeisterSinger's creativity.


Watches mentioned in the article