Famous for its award-winning one-hand watches, MeisterSinger has created a limited edition watch based on an idea inspired by Benjamin Franklin. The MeisterSinger USA Benjamin Franklin Limited Edition is available only in the U.S. market, and only 50 examples have been produced.
While on a diplomatic visit to England in 1770, Franklin suggested an idea for a “most original clock” to horologist James Ferguson. The gist of Franklin’s concept was to greatly simplify the clockwork mechanism, thereby making clocks much easier to produce, and so less expensive to own. In a so-called Franklin Clock, the train consists of only three wheels, including the escape wheel, and two pinions. The simplified main dial is divided into four quadrants, each containing three hours. The hours and minutes are indicated by a single hand, as shown in the drawing below.
Reading the time requires knowledge of the approximate time of day. As seen in the image of the MeisterSinger Benjamin Franklin watch below, reading from the top of the dial, the quadrants contain the hours 12, 4 and 8, then 1,5 and 9, then 2, 6 and 10, and finally 3, 7 and 11. When reading the time, you first notice the position of the hand. Using the image below, the hand has passed the 12, 4 and 8 o’clock quadrant, meaning that the hour is either 12 o’clock, 4 o’clock or 8 o’clock. The minutes are determined simply by looking at the number to which the hand is pointing. So, the time displayed on the watch below is either 12:33, 4:33 or 8:33.
MeisterSinger’s 43mm wrist-borne interpretation of the Franklin Clock is powered by a Unitas 6498-1 hand-wound movement, so we’re pretty sure is contains more than three wheels and two pinions. The watch makes for an interesting conversation piece, and a portion of the sales proceeds will go to a Benjamin Franklin Museum.