Watch Lust: MeisterSinger Singulator

Articles | Series | Watch Lust | 04.16.2012

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The MeisterSinger Singulator is not to be confused with a regulator… Well, that’s not really true. Basically, it IS a regulator (like the Louis Erard I wrote about before), but with a centralized hour hand rather than minute hand. The idea behind the Singulator was to keep with the single-handed ethos of the brand that, like Defakto, is about slowing down time for the user, but add the traditional three hand functions for when precision is necessary. By putting the focus on the slow passing of hours, they achieve the one-handed effect, which as they put it is “One hand. For all the time in the world.” And in doing so, they created a Red Dot award winning timepiece that runs around $5000, putting it firmly into the “watch lust” category.

The Singulator stays true to the aesthetic of the MeisterSinger brand. Its looks are classic, handsome and inspired by gauges and instruments, which gives it a technical look. Part of the MeisterSinger philosophy is that measuring devices, such as barometers and tachometers, only use one hand to display information. Watches, similarly, are tools for measuring time and should look as such. They achieve this by using double-digit numerals and having needle shaped hands, the main hand is also treated as a cap to the central stem. The dial does not have much in the way of unnecessary details, save the logo and model name, giving the watch a very quiet and clean look.

Frankly, the looks of the watch are not enough to give it lust status. I mean, the MeisterSinger Singular, which is their single-register chrono, or their Perigraph, which is a one-hand model with an interesting date wheel, are more exciting looking watches that cost less. What sets this apart is that in order to achieve a centralized hour hand regulator they had to create a unique module for a Unitas base movement that required some fancy production. There is an article on this technical achievement on WUS that is very interesting, albeit dense, that’s worth a read. The part that jumped out at me was that MeisterSinger had to create a special “spring wheel” to replace a gear that is so thin, it had to be made via the LIGA process, which is essentially a 3D printing type technology. The movement is also highly decorated, featuring such niceties as a screw-balance wheel and Geneva stripes.

In my book, if I am going to spend a lot of money on something it should have unique qualities that can’t be found elsewhere.  The Singulator fulfills that goal in multiple ways and has looks that, while a bit traditional, are understated and very well executed. As someone who nerds-out over any regulator, like that Bell&Ross WWII bomber watch, the Singulator’s mix of one-handed imprecision and three handed clarity via a regulator type system is hard to resist. I especially like that one can choose how precise they want to be with this watch, by ignoring the sub-dials.

by Zach Weiss