Watches: MeisterSinger Salthora Jumping Hours (+live pics)

By Thierry Ané on May 9, 2014

German watch brand MeisterSinger has made a name for itself thanks to its classically-designed yet highly original single-hand timepieces. When some brands struggle to display the most infinitesimal intervals of time, they adopted a more relaxed and poetic approach to time telling: a unique hand sweeps slowly across the dial in 12 hours and indicates both the hours and minutes with a visible precision of only 5 minutes. With the time indicated with the accuracy of an atomic clock on every single device from our laptops to you mobiles, the role of a timepiece is no longer there anyway and the apparent vagueness of a one-handed timepiece somehow makes it more desirable, more human.

Such a minimalist approach must be a true nightmare for the brand’s watchmaking team as it does not leave a lot of leeway for innovation. This year, however, they manage to keep the imperative of a single hand with the presence of an entirely new complication for the brand, namely the jumping hours.

With a single hand on the dial, the Salthora Jumping Hours remains stylistically close to the existing lineup. With a graduation from 0 to 60 in 5-minute increments, the dial reveals that something has changed: the unique hand now simply indicated the minutes. The hours are displayed in a window at 12 o’clock by means of a disc that jumps instantaneously at every hour.

A presentation watch without dial to show the jumping hours mechanism

Although the base calibre is the well-known ETA 2824-2, the jumping hours module has been developed in-house with a lot of attention to its reliability. Such mechanisms are indeed very fragile and the brand made sure that the jump occurs precisely on the hour (with a tolerance of 10 seconds we have been told, which is good) with the new hour number leaping sharply into position without staggering.

Housed in a 40 mm steel case with a transparent back to let you observe the movement, the new Salthora is presented in four different renditions: a very classic white dial and light brown strap model, a multipurpose watch with a black dial and black strap, a delightfully outdated version with a ivory dial and brown strap, and lastly a youthful blue dial model with blue strap. All models are secured by a steel folding buckle and retail for US$3,200.

Considering the price range, the watch is very well finished and looks great on the wrist. The jumping hours worked perfectly on the four models we tested, which is not that common for this complication in general and particularly impressive at this price point. I have a preference for the ivory dial and the blue model but all four versions are great looking and complement one another.

I think this is an interesting new direction for MeisterSinger and I am confident these timepieces will meet the success they deserve.