MeisterSinger No.01 — hands-on review

MeisterSinger No.1

MeisterSinger No.01

I was only vaguely aware of MeisterSinger. I had seen ads in the back of some men’s lifestyle magazines (not THOSE kinds of magazines!) and I gotta tell you that gave me a real low-end impression of the brand. After a while, however, I saw MeisterSinger popping up in some watch annuals and magazines and I really began to like the look. But it wasn’t until Adam and I visited a local MeisterSinger authorized dealer that I even saw one in real life.

I’ll tell you more about that particular visit in a separate story. Let’s fast forward to the part where we saw the MeisterSinger display inside the store. My first impression was…quite a high-end. MeisterSinger commanded a large space inside the store and the display was really slick and modern. I spent quite a long time handling and trying the different models. I gravitated toward the No.01 because it had a clean and simple design, a manually wound ETA movement, and a really cool brown suede strap. It also had a very attractive price.

MeisterSinger No.1

MeisterSinger No.01

I really dig the whole single hand concept. This design is supposed to make time appear to slow down. When you have a seconds hand and a minute hand, you can see the seconds and minutes ticking away and it emphasizes the rush of our daily lives. A single hand only allows you to read time to the nearest 5 minutes, which “slows things down.” MeisterSinger uses the term, “rituals of time,” which refers to daily rituals such as breakfast, bedtime, quitting time and so on. A single hand, which reads to the nearest 5 minutes, cannot tell you a precise time. It can, however, indicate the main rituals of time that you have ever day. This is cool. This is timekeeping at its most raw level, and a manual movement adds to this rawness.

MeisterSinger is a young German brand. The idea of a German-made case with a Swiss movement really appealed to me. German cases, of course, are well known for their quality finishing. The name, “MeisterSinger” apparently means “master singer” and this name came from the founder’s love for music and its rhythms. This is pretty cool because it is very different to the typical diving watch or pilot watch story.

MeisterSinger No.1

MeisterSinger No.01

The first thing I noticed about the No. 01 was its beautiful case. It is 43mm with brushed sides and some high polish, and with a fairly large crown. The overall effect is that of a really classic, elegant, and very “clean” case. I do not care for the case back, which has the MeisterSinger logo stamped all over it. But that is one of my few criticisms. I understand not using a display back because the movement probably has no finishing at all. The crystal is also very nice and when you look at the dial from an angle, you get a cool effect.

The strap on this particular piece is super cool. It is a dark brown suede with contrast stitching and it gives the No.01 a more casual look. One very odd thing is the length of the strap. I have thick wrists at 7 3/8 inches and I wear the strap at its tightest position. And it is still too loose! I have no idea how anybody with a smaller wrist could ever wear this strap. Nevertheless, the strap looks rich. It is perfect for jeans and a casual shirt, but can also complement a nice suit. The strap is not wide and this makes it wear well with dress shirts. The buckle is one beautiful and understated item that adds to the rich-yet-understated feel of the No.01.

MeisterSinger No.1

MeisterSinger No.01

On the wrist, the MeisterSinger wears small. It is very light and easily fits under all of my shirts. It feels quiet, understated and purposeful. One pal referred to the No. 01 as a “blood pressure gauge!” I guess the style does not please everyone. I quite like the style. It does, in fact, look like some sort of gauge or instrument, but I like this very much. It looks industrial and utilitarian. The cream dial looks great with the dark brown strap. And I have been surprised by the number of compliments and comments I have received while wearing the No.01. It has received more positive feedback than some much more expensive pieces.

With no seconds hand, it is impossible for me to measure the performance of the movement. My best guess would be that it is gaining 10 seconds per day. For the price, this is really not bad. The power reserve is good, too. It is said to have 42 hours of power reserve, but mine has run for 48 hours more than once. So the performance seems to be quite acceptable.

The back of the MeisterSinger No.1

The back of the MeisterSinger No.01

The MeisterSinger comes in a very unusual box that is made like…a book! You can actually place this box on a bookshelf along with some books or you can present it on your coffee table. This is pretty neat, although it lowers the overall impression of quality for me. I would much prefer a traditional box set. But you have to give MeisterSinger some points for effort. They are certainly doing things differently.

And I think that is what MeisterSinger is all about doing things differently. My No.01 feels like real traditional timekeeping with a different spin- a different flavor. It offers an excellent quality for the price and it is very versatile. The uniqueness of a single-handed dial can really add something to a watch collection. The No.01 is one of those pieces that did not cost a lot but manages to attract some attention for its beauty and for its unusual single hand. There are a few variations of the No.01 and there are quite a few different models in the MeisterSinger lineup. Perhaps there is one for you.

As always, the fun is in the search.

Yours truly,

Domed crystal of the MeisterSinger No.1

Domed crystal of the MeisterSinger No.01

MeisterSinger No.1 on a croco print strap. Photo by MeisterSinger

MeisterSinger No.01 on a croco print strap. Photo by MeisterSinger

Technical specifications

Model No.01

ETA 2801-2
17 jewels
28800 semioscillations per h – 4 Hz
Incablock antishock system

Stainless steel with screwed back
Diameter 43 mm
Height 11,5 mm
Domed sapphire glass

Water resistance
5 bar

Power reserve
42 h

MSRP: $1,595

TimeCaptain is a self-confessed timepiece junkie.  He spends nearly all of his spare time buying,  selling,  trading,  researching, admiring and trying different timepieces. He's also a fanatic Formula 1 fan, having followed every single Grand Prix since 1991.  He switches to NFL football in the fall and roots for the Green Bay Packers. A child of the 1980's, TimeCaptain is mad about 80's music,  TV, cinema and pop culture.  Another interest of TimeCaptain is space exploration and the study of distant planets and galaxies. When asked about his favorite watch,  TimeCaptain remembers Enzo Ferrari's answer as to his favorite car- "the one I haven't built yet."