I admit it: I’m a lunatic. The MeisterSinger Lunascope appeals to the little boy in me, fascinated by the America v. Russia race to the moon. Any watch containing a lunar complication has my attention. Like the five-star Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow, MeisterSinger’s lunar watch puts the Earth’s partner front and center. Is the Lunascope out-of-this-world or a complication too far for a single-handed watch that takes minimalism to infinity, and beyond? . . .
Mr. Ward’s watch is a monochromatic moon-phase meisterwerk. Two of the three MeisterSinger Lunascope’s go the same route; one with a black-and-white moon on an opaline-silver dial (left), the other with the same lunar image on a sunburst blue dial (center). Our test watch, the sunburst blue and gold version (far right), provides a more dramatic, more compelling lunar presence.
I’m not saying I joined team Jacob when the golden orb hovered under the 12, but there’s something stirring about watching the Swiss-made horological moon slowly approach its apogee. Holding a big ass moon-phase watch up to an actual full moon is an experience every watch enthusiast should experience, preferably after listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Bad Moon Rising. (Less forebodingly, It’s Only a Paper Moon.)
The moon rotating around the dial is 9.5mm in diameter – large enough to laugh at high horology’s wimpy lunar depictions and enthral moon-phase-loving lunatics. The Lunascope case clocks in at 40mm – a more-than-merely adequate canvas for the show (only .5mm smaller than Mr. Ward’s Moonglow). But the MeisterSinger Lunascope isn’t large enough to overcome the primary objection to a single-handed watch: legibility.
Whereas the 43mm MeisterSinger No. 2 (right) puts paid to detractors’ “what time is it?” lament, the Lunascope is kvetch–worthy. Some of that’s down to case size.
Turns out 3mm makes a huge difference for approximate time telling. Even when the near-sighted old man (that’s me) removes his coke-bottle bottom glasses and peers into the dial, ascertaining the small indices indicating fifteen minute intervals is a bitch. At arm’s length? Fuhgeddaboutit.
The Lunascope’s shiny gold applied indices are the real anti-legibility culprit. They’re all double digits, with minimal space between some of the numbers (especially the 02 and 09) At certain angles, the numbers glint ferociously in the sun. If not that, they fade out around the edges.
Viewed indoors – or outdoors at an oblique angle – the MeisterSinger Lunascope’s viz issues disappear. Yes, well, tilting a watch to tell the time is almost as annoying as tilting bifocals to read a book.
If legibility’s your jam, the opaline silver dial Lunascope is The One Lunascope to Rule Them All. Mind you, all three models require no small amount of manual stamina.
The moon takes 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 2.9 seconds to circumnavigate the Earth.
Most watches round this figure down to 29.5 days via the movement, which means they deviate by eight hours per year and need adjusting by one complete day every third year.
However, the movement specially designed for the MeisterSinger Lunascope is far more exact. Its moon-phase indicator only needs a slight adjustment after 128 years.
The MeisterSinger Lunascope is powered by an automatic movement with a 38-hour power reserve.
Even if we discount the need to service the watch, ever, maintaining that level of moon-phase accuracy for 128 years will require five generations of constant wear and/or a lot of time spent on a series of watch winders, with no more than a one-day handoff between owners or winders.
#ain’tgonnahappen So you’re going to have to set the MeisterSinger Lunascope moon-phase complication every now and then (i.e., many times).
To achieve lunar verisimilitude, you set the Lunascope to the exact time and date of the last new moon (the Farmer’s Almanac is your friend), then wind the watch forwards to the current time and date.
Notice the word “exact.” The one-handed Meistersinger Lunacope doesn’t do exact. And if you’re unlucky enough to be a week or more away from the time and date of the last new moon, boy howdy there’s a lot of winding in your future.
Good thing the Lunascope’s crown stands well away from the stainless steel case when pulled out. Still, if you’re prone to carpal tunnel syndrome, this is not the moon-phase watch you’re looking for. Same goes if you’re a lume-loving lunatic. (The Ward watch is a lunar night owl.)
That said, the Lunascope is an objectively accurate (if subjectively inexact) one-handed moon-phase watch. The Selita SW 220-1 (with MeisterSinger moon-phase module) on display behind the exhibition caseback isn’t chronometer grade, but it sure acts like it.
Our Timegrapher pegged the Lunascope’s accuracy at +2 seconds per day. Sinn’s gorgeous AF 104.012 relies on the same engine; the German tool watch maker knows a robust, reliable, easily repaired movement when they see one.
In short, the Meistersinger Lunascope is a stunningly accurate moon-phase complication in a stunningly accurate watch with the same entirely casual approach to timekeeping as MeisterSinger’s other pieces, only more so thanks to indices with excessive spizzarkle (yes that’s a word).
Affix to that summation a perfectly formed deployant clasp holding a high quality cognac-colored calfskin leather strap, that requires more breaking-in than a wild Mustang. (One sentence on the watch band!)
If you’re a lunatic looking for a watch with something approaching – but not totally achieving – legibility, again, the silver dial Lunascope’s the real deal. But if you’re a true lunatic – someone for whom the moon’s beauty trumps more mundane considerations (like being prompt), the blue and gold MeisterSinger Lunascope wins the wrist space race. It’s a pricey piece at $3845, but it’s an heirloom quality watch, good for the next 128 years.
Model: MeisterSinger Lunascope
Case: Stainless steel
Weight: 3.1 ounces
Glass: Domed sapphire
Dial: Sunburst blue, golden moon disc
Strap: Cognac-colored calfskin strap with pin buckle
Movement: Sellita SW 220-1 with MeisterSinger moon-phase module
Functions: Single-hand hours, date, moon-phase indicator
Power Reserve: 38 hours
Water resistance: 50m
RATINGS: (out of five stars):
Design * * *
An oversized golden moon provides a big, beautiful, bewitching centerpiece, floating in a blue star-filled sky, surrounded by flashy trashy glinting indices.
Legibility * *
If we’re talking moon-phase, the Lunascope is a horological billboard. If we’re talking time telling, even accepting MeisterSinger’s laissez-faire attitude towards exactitude, it’s only slightly easier to read than John Stuart Mill’s turgid prose.
Comfort * * * *
Light weight and a sensual steel case deliver estimable comfort, but the stiff strap needs breaking in.
Overall * * * *
An incredibly, make that ironically accurate Swiss timepiece that puts the moon-phase complication front and center. The one-handed minimalist design keeps the focus where it belongs (assuming you’re a lunatic). Shame about those indices.
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MeisterSinger lent us the watch for review. No other considerations provided.
What a great watch. Might have to pick one up.
Presumably the completely unnecessary zeroes are for the sake of symmetry?
I can see that the moon and the numbers are supposed to match in color, but yet they use a white hand.
I honestly never realized that those two humps on the moon phase window were there for before today. Quite the stupiphany.