Watch of the Month – Edition 366

Unlike the others: MeisterSinger Edition 366

18th century elegance for an enlightened perception of time


MeisterSinger has always been guided by antique church tower clocks and historical measuring instruments in the design of their timepieces. Friends of the single-hadn watch brand from Münster, Germany we have of course known this for a long time – and recognise this in classics such as the N° 01 or the Pangaea. The combination of design elements from both sources of inspiration makes up the unmistakable style of the brand.

Limited to 100 pieces worldwide - the Edition 366.
Limited to 100 pieces worldwide – the Edition 366.

97 leap days in 40 years

Very rarely – and then only in small editions – does the house produce a model that looks as if it is not new at all, but a sort of museum piece. This includes the new Edition 366, whose name refers to its year of publication: The year 2020 is a leap year, with 366 days instead of 365.

The extra day, 29 February, was understandably barely mentioned in the news whirlwind of the incipient pandemic. In all its regularity and expectability it does not seem very interesting. Yet the seemingly simple arithmetic trick stands for something very important: for the creation and organization of our world through scientific knowledge and a universally valid division of time. Leap days were already introduced in ancient times to compensate for the fact that the solar year is somewhat longer than 365 days. But it was not until the early modern era that the Gregorian calendar made this phenomenon really manageable: with 97 leap days in 400 years.

It is certainly no coincidence that at the same time the first portable timepieces were created – initially with only one hand, of course – which made it much easier to organize the day. Their probably most elegant successors were the French pocket watches of the 18th and early 19th century. A time in which the Enlightenment set reason and science against superstition and capriciousness.

Follows the tradition of old watchmaking art: the Unitas movement 6498-1.
Follows the tradition of old watchmaking art: the Unitas movement 6498-1.

Historical forms

With a delicate script on an opalin-white dial, the Edition 366 is reminiscent of the style of that period. The elaborately subdivided minute scale – full and quarter hours are marked in red, half hours in blue – makes it easy to keep track of the time and does not make the watch look colourful. The dial is bright, but not pale. Even the unusually long 25 millimetre hand, which is fitted with counterweights, follows historical forms and emphasises the watch’s claim to scientific systematics and precision. The Swiss hand-wound movement of Edition 366, the Unitas 6498-1, also follows this tradition: originally developed for pocket watches, its large balance wheel oscillates slowly but precisely at 2.5 hz.

Like its predecessors, the Edition 366 is an expression of sophistication, good taste and technical perfection. And last but not least, its owner does not let himself be chased by seconds, but always keeps track of the time. Just like their noble predecessors, Edition 366 watches are very rare: only 100 are built. And reminds us that some years are quite different.

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