New favorite One hand

Whilst I have a few One Hand watches I’m always partial to checking out what else is around.  This one from MeisterSinger, model Neo NE908 is one of my favorites to date.  Not least because it’s a great size at 36mm diameter, for my medium wrist and as a One Hand Reader it’s difficult to beat AND it also has a date window @6.

Meistersinger Neo

MeisterSinger Neo NE908

After a very short time you get to be very accurate with your reading of the time and the fact this one has a separate date window @6 is a bonus.  The hour hand is a large white affair, very clear to read and the date and is unusually highlighted in a red background with white numerals, it looks very contrasty against the dial – a neat touch I think.  The graduations as usual with most MeisterSinger One Hand models are 144 in total, divided into 5 minute intervals, with larger minute markers at 15, 30 and 45 minutes, so very easy to read.

Whilst the watch diameter is neat at 36mm diameter the dial actually covers the entire top surface, so views larger than it actually is.  The full width crystal is hardened Plexi-glass and the case itself is slim at only 10mm, so this is one sleek watch, which looks really good on the wrist.  The movement is a an excellent quality Automatic Swiss ETA 2824-2 and the watch itself is designed in Germany, so a pretty good combination in my opinion.  Case material is Stainless Steel with a solid screw down back, Water Resistance is 3Bar and the 18mm wide quality blue leather strap with it’s snug fit at the case lugs, is complimented by a stainless signed buckle.  Guarantee is for 2 years from MeisterSinger.

MeisterSinger design their range of watches in Munster, Germany though the watches, according to MeisterSinger, are produced by their own bespoke Swiss Manufacturer.  The driving force of the company is one Manfred Brassler who as founder and CEO has brought the company, via many watch innovation awards, to what it is today and still expanding.

I have to say that the quality of this watch appears to be excellent and when I get my own one (Oh yes – I’m thinking of getting one of these!) I’ll post more detailed information at a future date.  They do offer different color models, though I have to say I’m partial to this blue model.  In fact this is a bit of a theme for me at the moment as I have quite a few watch models that I can match to my mood.  Maybe this is a new trend?

24 + 1 equals Duo

Well it had to happen as in fact I said, in a post some time ago when reviewing some of the One Handed watches currently available.  My favorite was at that time and still is the Botta series – and if you recall I reviewed the Botta 24 Uno in September 2011, and whilst I liked it very much, the Botta model I decided on had to have something a little extra –

The Botta Duo 24 Black – and here it is –

Botta 24 Duo

Botta 24 Duo

As you see this is a Dual One-Hand watch so to speak, which I know sounds a little bit odd, but bear with me because you might just be surprised.  I know I was after taking a more careful look at it.

Basically what it does is show both local time and the time at one additional Time Zone – but – and here’s the clever part – it uses just ONE hand in each case.  It’s what I personally call “minimalistic clever”.  So maybe minimalist but it’s actually showing remarkable detail as well.  And to me that is clever!

Whilst I used the minimalist description, it is more accurately a watch designed more in the German “Bauhaus tradition”.  This means it is produced in a radically simplified form but with the watchwords (sorry!) of rationality, functionality and not least – artistry.  A wonderful concept.

Botta Duo 24 - both hands set to local time

Botta Duo 24 – both hands set to local time

As you see here the dial is very clear with the large yellow main hand pointing as it does to the main outer and upper level track.  This track is divided into 5 minute segments and covers 12 hours as a regular watch.  Using this outer ring the first revolution will reach at first the 12 noon and after 12 hours it’s the 12 midnight.

However for the second time zone or GMT setting which is your choice of course, it is the lower level or inner 24 hr numerical ring that is used and with a rather neat secondary pointer hand.  Here in this level of the dial, note the clever use of the darkened lower half of the face.  This denotes day time and night time.  So using and reading the 24hr ring it means that from 9am in the morning (left) till 6pm in the evening (right) is in effect a really intuitive graphical illustration of your day but spread out in front of you.  Later of course and after 6pm we travel clockwise into the darkened lower half of the dial, through the evening then into the night and midnight, then move up once again towards daylight and 9am at the left side.

Interesting concept and as an example try and visualize the watch face as a man standing looking out to sea and at the horizon of the sea.

Graphic representation of time and dial

Graphic representation of time and dial

Just as the sun rises in the east or the left side of the horizon, which is also 6am, the sun then rises in the sky till at midday it is overhead or at the 12 position – noon.  It then progresses through the afternoon till evening, which we’ll call 6pm or the right horizontal position, then midnight at the foot of the dial – numbered “0” – not 24 and as it should be (there is no 24hr in Military time).  Also note that in the 24hr dial as I’ll call it, the graduations are in 10 minute intervals, not 5 minutes, and this is so clever and all about clarity.  As you know the closer to the center, the graduations would normally be smaller and more difficult to read – so here they simply keep the same graduations in the available space – but these are now 10 minutes instead of five – it’s quite brilliant and so simple.

Another feature of the two shades of the upper and lower halves of the dial – you can immediately see if the Second Time Zone is in the dark or in the daylight – so you can phone that business contact or your good lady back home, knowing you’re not going to wake him or her up at some ungodly hour!

Note the darker shade of the bottom half of the dial

Note the darker shade of the bottom half of the dial

When at home and not traveling abroad, what I do is to set both hands to my local time.  For example – I have the main hands set to 6pm and I have the secondary 24hr hand set to 18hrs, so I know it’s the afternoon/evening and not early morning.  And being used to reading two hands anyway (hour and minute on my usual watch), but here I see immediately if it’s evening or morning. (usually of course looking outside would tell you that! – but here in Scotland over the past few weeks it’s very difficult to tell the difference!).

This modified Swiss Ronda 515.24H has an unusual quirk when setting the 24 or second time zone hand.  This is set by pulling out the crown to the first stage, then rotate the crown anticlockwise to set the 24 hr hand to a time approximately  minutes ahead of the desired time.  Push back the crown to it’s original position.  Now after pushing the crown back in, it takes the movement exactly 5 minutes to compensate for the degree of play in the hands.  It then displays the correct time after that five minutes.  I assume this is because the outer scale is 5 minute graduations and the inner 24hr one 10 minutes and this compensates for the difference.

Clean press fit stainless back

Clean press fit stainless back

Flat sapphire glass, stainless steel slim case

Flat sapphire glass, stainless steel slim case

The watch details are –

Diameter – 40mm, Depth only 7.5mm. Weight 43 g, 3 ATM Water Resistant, Calf Nappa strap with stainless steel buckle, Made in Germany.

So a nice watch and concept with the 2 hands for two times, but is it a winner?  Well so far I’m finding it very, very good.

A slight reservation, though personal is that the dial graduations are very small so if you wear glasses, then you’ll need them!   But that said having a separate hand for the 24hr reading is so clever and does improve on the sub-dial found on other 24hr watches if reading accuracy is needed.

Anyway it’s in my collection now – perhaps as an oddity or an unusual model of it’s time and it’s certainly a talking point.  Botta – you’ve got to “hand” it to them – they are pretty unique!

UPDATE 23rd December 2012

Having had and worn the watch for a while now I am surprisingly finding it very easy to read – at a glance you can immediately assess the time and rather accurately too if you look more closely.  So it scores highly in that department, which I confess was a concern, but now laid to rest conclusively.
I had a slight niggle due to the shape of the case.  Even although the back is quite tight against the wrist, the front/face of the watch including the crown is held away from the wrist.  Basically owing to the back diameter being smaller at 30mm that the front, therefore making the watch top heavy and I found it moved around my wrist.  If the back was 40mm as the front, then it would tend to stay where it was. 

So – I decided to change the leather strap to a silicon deployment variety – to see if this would improve things – and it worked a treat! – The watch is now held flat against the wrist as it should be and doesn’t travel around the wrist.  The deployment strap can be adjusted so much more accurately than pre-cut holes in a leather strap.  And it actually looks good to.  I’ll post an image as soon as I can.

Botta with silicon deployment strap replacement

Botta with silicon deployment strap replacement

Overall however I am very happy with the watch – in fact even more so now the strap issue is resolved!  Just needs a date window now to be pretty much perfect!

Note – The watch movement is a modified version of the Ronda 515.24H.

UPDATE January 2105

Well as with all my watches – if I don’t wear ’em I move them on and that’s the case with the Botta one handed 24 Duo.  Great watch but I simply haven’t worn it for months and months – and that’s no good at all.  Despite being a one off a kind of model that’s as beautifully designed as it is made, I’ve taken it to Auction.  It also might be that as I get older I’m gravitating towards the more conventional dials and hand layouts (my eyesight is not as good as it once was) and it’s too much trouble to read it ( my brain’s slowing down too! ).  Though as I said in the review it’s actually very easy – but no longer for me AND I can’t see the dial at night – and luminous night reading is becoming an essential for me today. 
So we’ll see what t brings and it could be interesting as it rarely see in an action – so as ever – Watch this space!

ps – I still have my Botta Argos which is conventional dialed and it won’t be going anywhere but my wrist!

One handed

Having owned a Botta Argos for a few years I can confirm these are stylish and neat watches and ones which always draw comments when worn.  So I thought I’d check out today’s models to see what’s available.
As always there’s an ulterior motive (watch collectors illness) as I’ve developed a sort of sneaking admiration for the One Handed watch and Botta have a range of models that are really attracting me.  And one of the reasons for my interest is my fixation of “legibility” or “can I easily read the time on this thing!” – and in a perverse sort of way these One Handed watches would appear to provide a pretty neat solution – maybe.

Botta Uno 24 One Handed Watch – Black Special Edition

One of my favorites so far is this Uno 24 model – the Special Black Edition, which shows a very clear display indeed with the positioning of the 24hr clock as “the day” – in other words – the time can be seen as an entire day, at a glance.
The single hand completes just one complete rotation over 24hrs and the hand virtually replicates the position of the sun as it travels across the sky in a day – very intuitive actually when you think of it.  In fact just a quick glance at the watch indicates roughly the time of day, how the day has flown by in fact and a visual take on how long to go before nightfall – instantly.

The dark lower half of the dial surface suggests evening approaching and night to follow and a very thin vertical line shows when one day changes to the next.  As the 24hr hand passes that line at the very bottom of the dial, the date changes instantly to the new day exactly as it should.
This arrangement graphically shows the entire course of a day in analog form – pretty clever I think.  And as to clarity, the very precise scaling and numerate markers used shows the time of day with amazing accuracy, certainly within 5 minutes and with a little familiarity you can bring that down virtually to the minute.
Being Botta Design of course the watch is a very neat affair, at 40mm diameter, easy to see but with only a tiny 7.5mm depth, means that the stainless case is still only 43g.  The movement is the excellent Ronda Swiss 515.24 Quartz movement and the whole dial visible under a sapphire crystal. Water Resistance at 3 ATM and the complete assembly Made in Germany.

The price is around £250 to £350 bracket +vat in the UK and comes with bracelet or strap options.  Not bad in my opinion for a Single Handed 24hr watch.

Now of course I’m in big trouble!  I do like this watch the more I speak or write about it – I told you this might cost me money!

But there are others of course that use the more conventional dial arrangement, such as the Botta Solus (below) but for me at least just don’t have that wonderful graphical progress of your day of the Uno 24.

Botta Solus 24hr Watch

More conventional display as a 24hr watch the Solus is a Titanium cased watch, 39mm diameter and that slim profile again at 4.9mm depth.  23g weight this time courtesy of the Ti casing, a Ronda 1003 Swiss Quartz movement and plane Sapphire Crystal.

A big plus however must be the Super Luminova coated hand – something my own Botta nor the Uno have and make no mistake it is a big plus.  BUT – that superb graphical, oh so clever dial of the Uno 24 attracts me so much, that I might just fore-go the luxury of waking in the middle of the night and being able to read the time on my wrist.  I’ll just have to make use of the nice digital alarm bedside clock my wife bought me some years ago – and being honest? – I use it now anyway!