MeisterSinger U.S.A. Benjamin Franklin Limited Edition

MeisterSinger, based in Münster, Germany, has cultivated a following with its focus on minimalist, single-handed timepieces offered at affordable prices. For its newest limited edition, the brand has reached into pre-Revolutionary American history to design a wristwatch based on a horological idea by one of the U.S.A.’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin.

The MeisterSinger U.S.A. Benjamin Franklin Limited Edition watch, of which only 50 pieces will be made, traces its origin to a diplomatic visit that Franklin made to England in 1770, in which the brilliant inventor described his vision of “the most original clock” to the English watchmaker James Ferguson. Franklin’s concept was a 24-hour clock — simpler in design than others of the time — whose movement would incorporate three wheels, two weights and one pendulum. The original idea had a small seconds subdial (as seen below), which Ferguson would subsequently dispense with in later versions of what came to be known as the “Franklin Clock.” As with his many other inventions — such as the Franklin stove, the odometer, and bifocals — Franklin never patented the idea, though Ferguson and others did produce versions of the “Franklin Clock” in the years to come.


Franklin Clock design - Ferguson

The Franklin Clock’s design — with a dial divided into four quadrants, a single hand to indicate hours (represented in quadrants on three coils of a central spiral), and a minute ring of 240 subdivisions in four 60-minute sectors —  lends itself ideally to MeisterSinger’s style of one-handed timekeeping, on display most recently in the brand’s Circularis model. Owners of this limited-edition watch should find it easy to read the time on its dial, provided they are aware of the approximate hour of the day.

Looking at the picture below, we can see that the central hand is past the 12, 4 and 8 o’clock quadrant, thus we can surmise that the hour is either 12 o’clock, 4 o’clock, or 8 o’clock. The same hand is used to read the minutes on the outer scale: here, we see it’s pointing at 33. Therefore, the time displayed on the watch is either 12:33, 4:33, or 8:33.

Meistersinger Benjamin Franklin Limited EditionThe stainless steel case of the MeisterSinger U.S.A. Benjamin Franklin Limited Edition has very contemporary dimensions (43 mm in diameter) and an exhibition caseback displaying the movement, a manual-wound Unitas 6498-1 with a 46-hour power reserve. The price of the watch, which will be available at MeisterSinger’s network of authorized retailers, is expected to be around $4,500.

MeisterSinger Benjamin Franklin caseback

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  1. Jamie V

    Let me see if I’ve got this straight. You need to know what time it is in order to be able to tell what time it is.

  2. So then, if I awake on a plane, after a long sleep, and with no visual cues as to the correct time, I have a one in three chance of getting the time correct from my watch??

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