August 2, 2018
Meistersinger has long been in the unique position of producing timepieces that fall under “novel, yet still practical.” They have thrived on single hand, slow moving, often-times simplistic, but ridiculously easy-to-read designs that have been attractive to a lot of young enthusiasts as well as collectors looking for something clean, elegant, and unique. While most of the designs have been a bit more dressy, the Salthora Meta X is a dive watch that’s among the priciest offerings from the brand. The newest edition to that collection is here – the Meistersinger Salthora Meta X Transparent, a skeletonized dial version showing off the watch’s signature Jumping Hour complication.
The signature quality here is a Jumping Hour complication with a minute track around the perimeter and a single hand to count them. The concept being that the eyes don’t need to follow two hands, but a single glance can determine the minutes and the hours without darting between them (this will be important later), making the watch easier to read at a glance, especially in a stressful or pressured situation.
Let’s start with the case. Measuring in at 43mm x 14.2mm, this is a fairly big boy, though certainly wearable. As usual, the straps are entirely configurable on Meistersinger’s website, and the choice between a plethora of leathers, bracelets, and rubber belly options will be a deciding factor when it comes to comfort and practical use – though the only option that really screams “Diver” (and honestly the only one we would take in the water) is the Milanese bracelet we’ve selected here.
The sharply curved lugs allow for a tight contour to the wrist, though I personally feel they compliment the bracelet more than they would the leather. The case is brushed with a few polished edges that give the watch a more rugged/sporty feel. The crown is large, though I wouldn’t say oversized and smaller hands may be able to easily adjust it with gloves on – though I imagine thicker fingers will have a harder time. The crown guards extend right up to the tip of the crown, giving it a slick edge that could be difficult to allow for adjustments, but look great. In fact, the solid contours of the lugs to the crown guards are probably my favorite aspect of the aesthetic.
The luminous unidirectional bezel features a minute track that makes the single minute hand more easily tracked along the perimeter. It is a well finished steel base with a brushed aluminum insert, which frames the skeleton dial well, which is where I feel the watch loses some of its identity.
I’m not going to lie, I find the skeleton dial superbly interesting. I’m just a little disappointed they put this in their diver, and not one of their classic cases. First, the watch doesn’t contain a seconds hand, so it’s not ISO-certified for diving, though it does have 200m of water resistance, so it’s not like you have to take it off to wash your hands. While the red ring hour indicator at 12 o’clock makes identifying the hour easy, when paired against duplicate minute tracks around the bezel and inside chapter ring, I can’t help but see a redundancy in the time telling technique. This was present in previous iterations of the Salthora Meta X, but is far more pronounced with floating indices. While on one hand (no pun intended), your eye doesn’t have to wander from the 12 o’clock position, the amount of different sized text and indicators circling the dial doesn’t exactly feel friendly in a diving scenario, so I feel this watch would have been better positioned outside of the “sport watch” category.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that the almost tactical look of the watch will be appealing to many collectors, and maybe I’m outside the target market for what Meistersinger is going for, but I feel the included bezel is trying to say “No really! I’m a Sports watch!” while the skeleton nature of the dial and lack of a second’s indicator would have been better utilized without it. I feel the watch would have benefited from a notched bezel instead of an indexed bezel.
Which brings us to the movement itself, most of which isn’t visible as the watch has an solid caseback but certain parts are shown off on the front of the dial. Meistersinger utilizes a 4Hz ETA 2828-2 or a Sellita SW200-1 with an added jumping hour complication in the center of the movement. The center mounted module utilizes an off-centered hammer to start/stop the twelve-pronged hour gear while turning the hour disc along the inside perimeter of the dial – and it looks really fun. I imagine that some may argue that it throws the symmetry of the dial off, but it’s one of the cleaner complications I’ve seen on a watch in this price point. The decoration of the dial plate creates a series of alternating rings that make the numeral discs pop, and provides a decent level of coherency to the hour disc.
I might have changed a few things (I think some tinted glass above the hour ring would have worked wonders), but the watch definitely has plenty of visual interest, a fair amount of utility, and a unique and fun take on telling the time. I don’t foresee this particular model being a staple dive watch, but I can see it appealing to the enthusiast who is interested in a formidable sports watch with some flair for the eyes. I personally find the design appealing, even if the time-telling is a bit cluttered with the complication, but I could definitely see myself strapping this on and going for a swim in the lake or to a neighbor’s barbecue. I think the previous versions of the Salthora Meta X are far more legible without the skeleton dial, and if one was going to take a watch diving, I would imagine that would be the more practical pick. But where is the fun in that?
If the weekend pool party is more your speed, and you have a penchant for a unique conversation starter with a fair amount of #watchnerd Instagram status, you can pick up the Meistersinger Salthora Meta X Transparent for $4,495. meistersinger.com