Approximately a decade ago I attended a friends 40th birthday day party in Essen, Germany. The event was very glamourous and I got to experience this fantastic city in summertime. My host was very accommodating and even took time from his hectic schedule to show me the magnificent Red Dot Museum. Every year the world’s finest designers compete to gain a highly coveted Red Dot Award. For those who aren’t aware of this organisation, it is the design equivalent of winning an academy award. For example, 2020 winners include Apple’s incredible Pro Display XDR, Ferrari’s sublime Ferrari SF90 Stradale, Louis Moinet’s stylish “Memoris Titanium” and MeisterSinger’s beautiful Astroscope watch.
In the general scheme of things MeisterSinger is a relatively new kid on the block and has only been operating for 19-years. The company is the brainchild of Manfred Brassler, who began his career as a jeweller in Munich. Manfred drew inspiration from ancient clocks and sundials to create a range of timepieces with a unique one-hand display. Subsequently, this has become synonymous with the brand who have netted 28-design awards. Last year in 2019 they won a prestigious Red Dot award for their acclaimed ‘Lunascope’ and they’ve done it again with the Astroscope. To illustrate how fine this timepiece is here are the jury’s comments “The functionally equipped Astroscope surprises with an extraordinary symbolic language, which matches the distinctiveness of a single-hand watch”.
The news that MeisterSinger had won another coveted Red Dot award for the Astroscope is very positive for the brand. Last Friday the brand also won the prestigious German Design Award. It’s is also refreshing to see an outstanding timepiece that is realistically priced. Instantly I approached Managing Director John van Steen to get access to one of these outstanding pieces for review purposes. Very kindly he obliged and a few weeks later the watch arrived. Certainly, images don’t do the Astroscope justice because this creation looks much better in the metal.
Dimensionally the Astroscope exudes classical proportions and has a diameter measuring 40mm (excluding the crown). I’m used to wearing timepieces in excess of 50mm so this watch felt pretty small. It is pertinent to mention that there are limitations with oversize watches. For example, they are not really suitable for formal occasions. I have been to several Gala balls and my timepiece protrudes through the sleeve of my jacket. Ultimately that is why I am sure the Astroscope will appeal to a very broad demographic including the unisex market. In my opinion, this is a perfect dress watch that would look elegant with any outfit. Even though it is water-resistant (pressure tested) to a depth of 50-metres, I personally wouldn’t use it for swimming or even in the shower for that matter.
Within the range, there are two Astroscope models to choose from (Black- Old Radium and Black – Blue). Both have equal design merit but I opted for the Blue – Black variant because (in my opinion) it looks more distinctive. What makes this watch really special is the unique weekday display. For this model, MeisterSinger has been inspired by astronomical rhythm rather than mythology. Therefore weekdays are represented by the seven Roman god named planets in symbolic form.
Monday, the Moon ☽
Tuesday, Mars ♂
Wednesday, Mercury ☿
Thursday, Jupiter ♃
Friday, Venus ♀
Saturday, Saturn ♄
Sunday, the Sun ☉
Here’s a detailed explanation of the concept in the brand’s words: “Astroscope shows the days of the week not in a linear or radial fashion, but wandering back and forth in a constellation that only occurs every ten to twelve years in the southern night sky of the northern hemisphere. Again in July 2020, with the exception of the Sun, of course, all the celestial bodies of the weekdays will be visible there at the same time. The Astroscope stylizes this formation on its dial; a bright dot appears on Monday at about 12 o’clock at the Moon symbol and the next day to the right at the Mars symbol. On Wednesday it appears next to Mercury at about 9 o’clock; on Thursday next to Jupiter at 3 o’clock”
Aesthetically the Astroscope delivers a very mean punch and in my opinion, would be an asset to any collection. Certainly, I can see why the Red Dot judges were so enamoured with its distinctive appearance. Apart from the innovative weekday display, there are many other notable features. For example the black dial with contrasting large blue numerals, central hour/minute hand, date indication (located at 6 o’clock) and domed sapphire crystal. Powering the watch is a 26-jewel Swiss-made Sellita SW 220 self-winding movement that oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hours. This exquisite mechanism is perfectly showcased via a sixfold screwed glass exhibition back.
To complete the picture the Astroscope I tested is presented on a Cognac tone vintage saddle strap with complimentary stainless steel buckle. For more information about this award-winning timepiece follow this link