In Watchmaking, time is a serious matter. Hours, minutes and seconds are the pulse of a watch heartbeat. And time never stop. Despite the fact this might sound incredibly strict, some watchmakers brought a different way to measure time thanks to single-handed watches. Single… What?
A watch hands are the reason why we look to our watch
In watchmaking one key component are the hands of a watch. Without them you cannot see time. They have the function of transmitting the time indication from the movement to the dial in which you have the time marks. Or then it means you have a digital display. And do you know why they turn right around the dial (and not left)? This is because of the first solar clocks. The shadow projected on the clock dial would follow the sun position and so would turn around to the right side. Probably by tradition and habit, the first watchmakers kept it in this way.
In general you can find watches with 2 hands (hours and minutes) and if it is a chronograph, you can have a third hand for the seconds. These are the classical way to display time on a dial. Of course, watchmakers have often an imagination without many borders, so sometimes they like to surprise us by literally changing the way we do things. And that is why they invented the single-hand watch.
Single-hand watches, purity at the state of art
Watchmaking is an art that a few come to master at levels of excellence. With the single-hand watches, it is a different story about time. The approach is minimalist and pure. Few elements are present on the dial as instead of having 2 or 3 hands, you only have one. The single hand displays time minute after minute through a 24 hours revolution. Surprisingly, it works pretty well. This specificity brings to the watch an amazing and elegant look. There are brands that adapt existing ETA movements. Of course this reduces the price of the watch, despite the fact you still get a mechanical watch. The complexity of this operation, as ETA does not produce any “single-hand movement” is that you need to hide often the minutes and sometimes seconds wheels under the dial by adapting the hole for the hands. Then you need to find a longer hand that covers the distance between the center of the watch up to the dial limits. In deed this length is necessary for the time reading precision. Several watches are built in this sense which means you can have a very original watch for less than $3’000.
Then you have high-end watchmakers that build the entire watch around the single-hand concept. The movement is adapted from construction. The time wheels and canon are often modified to achieve perfection. The single-hand movement requires a new balance in order to keep precision and longterm reliability. Of course, this also means that the price of the watch is also going to be higher. In order to explore more in details, here is our selection of single-hand watches, different price range, different brands but one thing in common: essential elegance.
Top 6 single-hand or one-hand watches
Uno Alpin and Uno Carbon
Klaus Botta designed the Uno Watch in 1986. He is considered by many as the inventor of the one-hand watch ot at least on the basis of the construction of it. It is one of the affordable mechanical single-hand watches in the market with a recommended retail price under $700. It became a classic not only in terms of longlasting but also in terms of design and elegance. Today you can find 2 variations, one called Alpin and the other Carbon. Inside you will find a ETA 2824-2 movement individually adjusted by hand.
You can visit the Brand official website for more information:
Association Horlogère d’Alsace, mono-aiguille 24h
Watchmaking is often a matter of passion. And there are hundreds of them whose passion is the love for beautiful timepieces. Sometimes they gather under clubs or associations and few of them successfully source ways to even build the watches of their dreams. This is something quite confidential in the way that the press, even specialized, never talk about. Most of them are really professionals and their creations, often in subscription, are true beauties of ingenuity. This is the case of the Association Horlogère d’Alsace in France. They offer limited yet interesting projects and one of them is a single-hand watch in multiple variations. Here below their “Mono-aiguille 24h”.
All movements are Unitas 6498-1 (2,5Hz or 18.000 A/H), chronometer finish, 18 Geneva poinçons. In case of none small-seconds, the seconds wheel is replaced by a short pivot. In order to give a more vintage style, the hours wheel block is lifted at 0.35mm
A few customizations are possible but you better be at the start of a new project otherwise it might be too late to add an extra piece. More information here: http://www.ashoda.fr
Schauer One-hand Gold, the Bauhaus style.
In 1990, at the age of 22, Jörg Schauer decided to establish himself as an independent watchmaker. His aim, provide outstanding designs with beautiful and innovative timepiece mechanisms. 30 years later, the German brand is pretty much successful and provide elegant timepieces, all in a certain limited approach. It is a very exclusive brand. In their collection they have the Schauer One-hand that is a must in terms of minimal design. The single hand is made of pure gold 18ct hand-made. It is a touch of elegance and good taste.
The watch itself has a stainless steel case 42mm, sapphire crystal both sides, a DUROWE 7426-4 movement, solid 18 karat (750/000) pinkgold hand limited, leather strap or steel bracelet, 5 atm. More information here: http://www.schauer-germany.com
MeisterSinger Single-hand series. Telling time is still a craft
Manfred Brassler is an accomplished pianist that picked up the passion and the freedom of Bach to fulfill his love for watchmaking. He founded his company a while ago in Münster Germany and he called it MeisterSinger, the master singer in German. And since them the traditional manufacture has produced amazing timepieces in the rules of art. They have a magnificent Single-hand series that you could be tempted by all of them.
The series hold an ETA 2801-2 manual wind. The 43mm stainless steel with solid back Sapphire glass provides a perfect visibility and a timeless look and feel. More information at http://www.meistersinger.net
Jaquet Droz Astrale Grande Heure, out of any standards
Switzerland has an amazing landscape in watchmaking. I am not talking about mountains but about the incredible creators we have in the country. Among them, a few are just free of any boundaries. And that is Jaquet Droz. Every creation from the manufacture owned by Swatch Group is a piece of art. They all have a distinctive design and concept. And one of them is the Astrale Grande Heure.
Black Grand Feu enameled dial. 18-carat red gold case. Self-winding mechanical movement. Power reserve of 68 hours. Diameter 43 mm. Piece of art. For more information, check here: http://www.jaquet-droz.com
Now you know that time is a very serious matter. Yet, certain rules are made to be broken as only imagination can be your limit.
Info is sourced at the brands official websites and communication releases. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available.