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20th Anniversary
MeisterSinger - Manfred Brassler

MeisterSinger Manfred Brassler


Slowing down time with the single-hand watch. Manfred Brassler has always been fascinated by minimalism. And 18th century fob watches. Very early on in his career, he devoted himself to watches as a retailer; and it was in doing so that the desire to set up an entry-level watchmaking brand featuring mechanical movements grew within him. At the same time, he was also familiar with the mindset of jewellers, who have no need for something that’s already been done. That awareness led to an epiphany while looking at how his watchmaker went about assembling hands. As the craftsman secured the hours hand in place, history unfolded for Brassler as if projected on a cinema screen. In his mind’s eye, he saw images of old tower clocks with a single hand, Breguet ‘souscription’ watches, which also featured a single hand showing the hours, and antique measurement instruments. In that instant, he grasped the measure of the potential for a return to these roots amid the increasingly hectic world in which we live. It took more than that to turn the idea of a single-hand watch into a Meistersinger, though; another, subtler component was also needed.

Manfred Brassler

Manfred Brassler © MeisterSinger

Brassler refers to it as the practice of eclecticism: taking a range of existing elements to create something new. In this instance, the elements in question are two-digit numbers. Combined with the 144 markers required on the dial, they provide an instantly recognisable trademark. Although the collection now includes manual winders, automatic movements, and date and day of the week displays, all his watches still have to feature small parts, simply because of the need for these 144 markers on a single-hand watch. A flange or ‘railtrack’ minute circle would not be fit for purpose; the dial itself has to do the job. If balance is to be maintained, the styling options are limited. According to Brassler, harmony is all about determining the point at which the work is complete. When he looks back at how his success has come about, it’s with nothing short of amazement. It’s not been a conscious process – sometimes, he even wonders just who or what might have been guiding him. And now that the basic concept has been clearly defined, there’s no shortage of ideas as to how to work within that framework.

*Written by Thomas Wanka

*On the occasion of GMT Magazine and WorldTempus' 20th anniversary, we have embarked on the ambitious project of summarising the last 20 years in watchmaking in The Millennium Watch Book, a big, beautifully laid out coffee table book. This article is an extract. The Millennium Watch Book is available on www.the-watch-book.com, in French and English, with a 10% discount if you use the following code: WT2021.

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