How to tell the time on a single-hand watch


This is a MeisterSinger Phanero.

MeisterSinger is one of my favourite watchmakers, renowned for making watches with only one hand.

In this post, I’ll show you briefly how to read a single-hand watch.

Best way to show you is by means of an example.

In the picture above, you’ll see the single hand is between 5 and 6. This means the time is somewhere between 5 and 6 o’clock.

To get more exact (i.e. how many minutes past 5 o’clock?), take a look at the black marks round the dial. Each mark denotes 5 minutes.

As the single hand is on the fourth black mark after the 5 mark, we simply multiply 4 (the fourth black mark) by 5 (because each mark denotes 5 minutes). Thus we work out that the time is 20 minutes past 5.

Of course such a watch is bound to lose a few seconds here and there. There is something to sacrifice for the fact that it has only one hand. It means it cannot be as precise as a watch having more than one hand. (Those watches would be able to indicate the exact minutes, and even seconds.) However the idea behind single-hand watches is that they take a more relaxed approach to time. What they lose in accuracy (and not even by much), they more than make up for in style and uniqueness.

And the MeisterSinger Phanero is truly a beautiful watch. The one in the picture was mine for a few days. Alas I had to take it back to the store as there was a problem with the power reserve. The store didn’t have a replacement, so I got a refund. I’m still keeping my eyes open for another single-hand watch. Maybe a Phanero again, but all options are open.

What do you think of single-hand watches – an exciting idea, or just too unconventional? Feel free to share in the comments.

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