One of our favorite moon phase watches, the Meistersinger Stratoscope, is set to release its darkest model yet.
Announced a few weeks ago, and now ready for delivery, this younger and slightly larger cousin of the excellent Meistersinger Astroscope hits the ether (and stores) with a limited edition model bathed in a rugged diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating. The Meistersinger Stratoscope debuted earlier this year in a steel case with a more traditional sunburst blue and black dial.
The one-handed 43mm watch displays a large, luminescent moon phase using a photorealistic image of our sole natural satellite. Around the lunar image we see Meistersinger’s characteristic double-digit numerals 01 to 12, divided into fifteen-minute increments.
For this new Black Line Edition, limited to twenty pieces, the moon rotates across a very dark night sky, which is framed by an equally dark black diamond-like carbon (DLC) case. The moon and time display glow in the dark.
Inside Meistersinger utilizes its Sellita-based automatic MS Luna movement to calculate the time and the moonphases. In theory, this moon phase indicator only requires a slight adjustment after 122 years.
Meistersinger’s watches focus on one-hand time displays. The German-based watchmaker, founded twenty years ago, has become a favorite for those in search of an alternative wristwatch dial.
Meistersinger’s popularly priced collection offers a wide range of watches that feature one hand rotating over combined hour and minute markings around the dial – essentially echoing dials on many pre-eighteenth-century clocks.
Earlier this year, Meistersinger launched Bell Hora with another time-telling function deeply rooted in historical watchmaking and clock making: an hourly chime.
Today Meistersinger launches a new version of that chiming model, called Edition Bell Hora, as a limited edition of 100 units to celebrate the watchmaker’s twentieth anniversary. Where the premiere Meistersinger Bell Hora watch offered blue or white dials in an unlimited series, the latest model is designed in the style of many early pocket watches.
The 43mm steel-cased Bell Hora features a ‘Sonnerie au passage’, which is the horological term for a chime heard as time proceeds. On the Bell Hora, the single chime activates at the start of each hour. This effectively, and pleasantly, alerts the wearer to the start of each new hour.
If the wearer opts to turn the automatic chime off, he or she may simply press a pusher just above the crown to turn the function off.
To create the Bell Hora, Meistersinger fits its own chime module (a cleverly revised jump-hour gear configuration with its sound fork directly under the dial) atop a Sellita SW 200 automatic movement. Even with the chime function, the watch’s power reserve remains steady when worn, and will retain power off the wrist for thirty-eight hours.
The new dial is white, like many early clocks, with more distinct minute markers than found on the more contemporary dials on the Bell Hora editions seen earlier this year. A thinner numeral font and an italicized brand name also mark the new limited edition.
Price: 3,690 euro, or about $4,300. Expect availability in mid-September.
Specifications: Meistersinger Edition Bell Hora
(Limited Edition of 100 pieces).
Movement: MS Bell (with Sellita SW 200 base), automatic, power reserve of 38 hours, hourly Sonnerie au Passage chime.
Case: 43 mm steel, sapphire crystal, 50 meters water resistance, four-screw exhibition back.
Collectors already know the German-based Meistersinger for its unusual focus on one-handed time displays. But quite frequently the company underscores its rebellious nature with displays and dials that delight the eye with edgy contemporary designs, bold indicators and bright colors.
One such design, the Meistersinger Astroscope, indicates the weekdays quite unlike any other watch. Rather than highlighting each day within a traditional aperture or around the dial in their expected calendar order, the Astroscope denotes the days with a series of bright white dots next to both the abbreviation and celestial symbol. Even more unusually, the days are arranged in an apparently random pattern across the dial, from the 9 o’clock position to the 3 o’clock position.
This week, Meistersinger launches a new limited edition Astroscope, now offered with a bright orange strap that matches newly orange, luminous markers.
Myths and planets
Meistersinger explains that the Astroscope’s weekday celestial symbols are derived from ancient mythology, which don’t follow the current calendar.
The method most likely dates back to the Babylonians, who connected the days to seven celestial bodies: The Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn.
Meistersinger spreads the days across the dial as if along the horizon, with Monday at the top of the sky. Meistersinger then displays the appropriate celestial bodies and classical symbols next to the day, all of which seem to wander to and fro. The daily dots, imprinted on a rotating disc below the dial, ‘jump’ across the dial rather than appear in traditional calendar order.
Thus, the week’s displays begin on Monday with a white dot at 12 o’clock (next to the moon symbol), followed the next day just to the left at the Mars symbol. On Wednesday the day dot appears next to Mercury near 9 o’clock. And so on.
Apparently there is a pattern here, according to the brand. It has placed the seven day apertures in a layout that mimics a constellation only seen every ten to twelve years in the southern night sky of the northern hemisphere. Meistersinger doesn’t name the constellation.
The unusual day display, as well as the single-hand time indicator and the date display, are powered by an automatic Sellita movement, which Meistersinger displays through a sapphire caseback.
Meistersinger debuted the 40mm steel-cased Astroscope last year with a black or blue dial and white luminous markers. As noted, this newest edition, limited to 100 units, glows with orange markers and symbols atop a dégradé black dial. Even the calfskin strap is orange, nicely matching the dial accents.