The MeisterSinger Vintago has been influenced by the ‘austere design language of the 1960s’. Its clean design, altimeter-style date display and self-winding movement make this watch a highly practical ownership proposition imbued with a notable degree of style.
This detailed review of the MeisterSinger Vintago includes lives images, specification details and pricing.
One piece of advice I remember from my school days is ‘if you are going to copy, make sure you sit next to someone with neat handwriting’. Indeed, deciphering unintelligible scrawl proves a challenge for most people at some point in their lives.
MeisterSinger clearly understands the importance of neatness. The founder of the German watch brand, Manfred Brassler, has always been responsible for designing the company’s distinctive timepieces. As he wields a pen with artistic aplomb, it is clear this stylish gentleman has a tidy mind. Indeed, it is this latter trait which imbues his watches with notable readability.
A few weeks ago at Baselworld 2019, the German firm unveiled several clean-cut models, including the Vintago. This watch successfully sidesteps elaborate styling, choosing to embrace minimalism and, by default, clarity of purpose. Quite simply, the new Vintago eschews the extraneous and focusses on imparting information with peerless lucidity.
The Vintago is offered with a choice of four dial colours; opaline white, ivory, blue and black. I had the opportunity to examine the ivory option and appreciated its slightly aged appearance. Indeed, age is an aspect of this watch’s character. While the ‘Vintago’ nomenclature above 6 o’clock appears contemporary, other elements exhibit a retro, vintage character.
The domed sapphire crystal evinces a nostalgic quality. However, beyond its appearance, it allows light to flood the dial plane, augmenting legibility. The double digit hour markers are incredibly functional and share character traits with 1960s Brutalist architecture.
Available time is the truest form of luxury. Many material possessions are transient, destined to be discarded at some future point. Those individuals who do not need to obsess over seconds are invariably richer as a result. MeisterSinger recognise the value of time. Its watches dispense with the frivolity of seconds and express the essentials of time, hours and minutes. Consistent with several of its models, the MeisterSinger Vintago conveys hours and minutes with one lone hand.
The central area of the dial sits above the adjacent hour track. An altimeter style date display is positioned adjacent 3 o’clock, revealing five consecutive dates. The prevailing date is indicated with a small dot. There is no ambiguity, everything is eminently logical. By revealing five dates simultaneously, MeisterSinger has enriched the appearance of the dial with a high quotient of interest.
There is always a sense of horological rectitude with MeisterSinger’s watches. Despite offering four versions of the Vintago, the brand has not subscribed to expedience, equipping all models with a white date disc. Instead, it has upheld watchmaking etiquette, matching the colour of each date disc with its neighbouring dial. While the MeisterSinger Vintago is a keenly priced timepiece, there is little evidence of this fact when appraising its stylish form.
Over the years, case sizes have been subject to trends. In 2005, I purchased two watches which both measured in excess of 49mm in diameter. At the time, they were in vogue, however, they proved uncomfortable to wear and incredibly cumbersome. Needless to say, I subsequently sold these watches and have vowed never to make the same mistake again.
In recent times, the size of most watches has ranged from 40mm to 44mm. Some ‘trendy’ watch journalists espouse the merits of the 39.5mm case. However, experience has shown me that a watch case cannot be judged on its diameter alone. Indeed, the case profile, especially the caseback and lugs, has a significant influence on the feel and look of a timepiece.
The MeisterSinger Vintago is 38mm in diameter, a size chosen because of its prevalence during the 1960s, the era providing inspiration for this watch. Personally, I have always found this size of case looks a tad small for my leviathan-like wrists, however, for most average-sized individuals, the scale of the Vintago will prove ideal. Furthermore, for those individuals who also possess behemoth arms, rest assured MeisterSinger offer several larger models to fulfil their desires.
A recurring theme with the MeisterSinger Vintago is tasteful understatement. The case is finely brushed and elegantly restrained. By avoiding highly polished case treatment, MeisterSinger has successfully circumvented flamboyance, a form of behaviour which would be at odds with the Vintago’s unassuming character.
The diameter of the crown increases as it emanates from the caseband. Crisp knurling encircles its form, enhancing ease of adjustment. Its shape reminds me of the crowns fitted to observation watches of yesteryear, albeit in this instance the crown is smaller. A welcome consequence of its scale is that the crown does not rub against the wearer’s skin or impinge on free movement of the wearer’s wrist.
One concession that MeisterSinger has made to modern tastes is the fitment of an exhibition caseback. A pane of sapphire crystal affords views of the self-winding movement.
The MeisterSinger Vintago is endowed with the Sellita 200-1. The oscillating mass is slightly open-worked and engraved with the brand’s name and logo.
Measuring 26mm in diameter, the Sellita 200-1 features one barrel, providing 38 hours of autonomous operation. The frequency of the movement is 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and the movement contains 26 jewels.
The styling of the Vintago successfully captures a bygone era. In its promotional literature, the German brand talks about the ‘austere design language of the 1960s’. However, while I am able to see the influence of the 1960s, the appearance of this watch is gentler, softer and more elegant than the Brutalist associations would suggest.
Beyond its kind face, the MeisterSinger Vintago is a practical ownership proposition. I have worn several MeisterSinger models and the single-hand proves intuitive to use.
MeisterSinger confers a new way of viewing the world. The brand recognises that the ultimate luxury in life is the availability of time itself. Truly wealthy individuals do not obsess over seconds, they merely need to ‘keep track of longer periods of time’. It was only with the onset of middle-age that I came to understand the wisdom of this philosophy.
At the start of this feature, I mentioned plagiarism and the need to copy the work of a tidy individual. I suspect some companies may be tempted to copy MeisterSinger’s designs based on the profound legibility of its products, however, I would counsel caution, cheating never pays off. There can only be one watch brand synonymous with single-hand watches and it is based in Münster. Indeed, MeisterSinger will always be known for making watches for those who appreciate the luxury of time itself.
Exhibiting brand at The Watchmakers Club event 5th June 2019 – https://thewatchmakersclub.com/
- Model: MeisterSinger Vintago
- Reference: VT903
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 38mm; height 10.15mm; water resistance 5 ATM (50 metres); sapphire crystal to the front and caseback
- Functions: Hours; minutes; date
- Movement: Sellita; automatic movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 26 jewels; power reserve = 38 hours
- Strap: Brown calfskin strap
- Price – £1690 (RRP as at 19.5.2019)