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.
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.