Small, Transparent and In Disguise; Meistersinger at Baselworld 2016

When it comes to one-handed watches, Meistersinger is the first brand that should come to mind. Their line of watches over the years has grown to refine what a one-handed watch is, offering varieties of utter simplicity, up to ones with surprising uses of complications, such as jump hours and mono-pusher chronographs. This year at Basel, they tuned some of their existing lines, changing a typeface here and there, adding a color, a new strap option, etc… as well as added some items that are completely new.

Little watch, Big impact

The first new introduction from Meistersinger is their smallest to date. Called the Phanero, from the Greek “phanerós” meaning visible, the manual wound watch measures 35mm with a height of 7.5mm. The case is a different style for the brand, and was a highlight of the watch. From above, it’s all dial, with straight kinked lugs that bring to mind Bauhaus classics like the Stowa Antea or Nomos Tangente. From the side (and I apologize that we didn’t get a good shot of this) the case is actually much more angular and interesting, with some mixed finishing.



Despite its small size, the dial is striking, rivaling the presence of their larger pieces. Though a very simple layout, what makes the dial so bold is the use of high contrast applied numerals. Additionally, they went with some interesting color combinations that add a ton of personality. In particular, they put rose gold and blood red markers on gray sun ray surfaces (two watches, not mixed), both of which were very appealing.


On the wrist, the Phanero looked and felt great, much like the Antea mentioned before. It’s small and sophisticated, with the combination of interesting dial colors (the green is stunning), markers, and the single large hand, it’s a conversation piece in a small package. The Phanero is expected to be around $1,500 and is powered by the Sellita SW 210 manual wound movement.

Transparency in Watchmaking

I’m not a huge fan of skeleton movements, open hearts or dials, but every now and then, something surprises me. For 2016, Meistersinger made only one new addition to their line of jumping hour watches; the Salthora Meta Transparent. Less a piece of frilly mechanical art, and more a watch nerds view at a mechanism, the SMT swaps out the dial of the previous models and replaces it with one with a full transparent center. Through this window you can see the Johannes Jahnke designed jumping hour module do it’s thing.


Normally, when you get a view in, it’s to see the balance swinging away, adding more motion to the dial. Here, the mechanism, like the one hand above it, takes a full hour to complete its task. It’s not about instant gratification, but rather about tension. Slowly, a sickle shaped arm climbs to the top of an imperceptibly slowly rotating star wheel, then at the moment the hour ticks over, the whole thing snaps down, jumping the hour disk one place clockwise. With no seconds to warn you of when the action will take place, the suspense becomes part of the complication. Needless to say, we were mesmerized by the watch.


I think this is the first time I’ve seen a brand put a complication/module under the spotlight, and it was very successful. Additionally to the spectacle of the mechanism, the design is attractive. They decorated the top plate of the module with circular cote de Geneve, adding some nice texture and finishing. The hour index features an attractive rounded typeface in white with a black border, making it stand off of the mechanism nicely. The minute index then features numerals and markers, with a cool circular aperture extending off at 12 o’clock to put the correct hour into view. The opaque Salthora Meta goes for $3,675, so expect this to be at least that price.

Holy Rotors!

Lastly, I want to write about a rotor. Yep, a rotor. For 2016 Meistersinger is extending their range of high-end pieces that feature their MSH01 120-hour movement (yes, it’s basically the same as the C Ward SH21, and no, we don’t know how the two brands are related), by adding an automatic line. Not the biggest news, but what’s cool is the execution of the rotor. The MSH01 takes the large, double barreled caliber and dresses it up with circular cote de Geneve, giving it a striking appearance. Meistersinger didn’t want to sully it up with a clunky rotor, so they designed one that almost disappears against the decorations of the movement underneath.


The large crescent shaped rotor features two scallops on either side, cupping the barrels of the movement when still. It also mimics the shape of their logo, which is a nice tie in. The surface of the rotor features circular cote de Geneve, lining up with that of the plates below, as well as a series of crescent openings that emanate from the bearing in the center. There’s something fluid and airy about in a way I’ve not see on a rotor, which rarely differ in design. With the manual wound version over $5k, expect this beauty of a piece metal to reside north of 6.

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Zach is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Worn & Wound. Before diving headfirst into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
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