March 7, 2023
by Mike Razak
The SNGLRTY Watch is available in 15,360 configurations—107,520 if you count strap options. You can choose everything from the case material to the color of the various dial rings to whether the crown is on the left or right. But customization is not the only thing the SNGLRTY brings to the table. If you hadn’t already noticed, the dial just has one hand. Yet, it’s not simply another one-handed watch because the SNGLRTY watch has a bit more than that. I took the date version of the watch, the OHI4, for a spin to see what it has to offer and how it performs against a more traditional watch.
The 40mm case of the SNGLRTY OHI4 is, by far my favorite part of the watch. It’s at once modern and elegant, with a generous curved outline made more special by a sloping caseband. At just 11.8mm-tall and 47mm lug-to-lug, this watch wears well even with the mid-case slope giving it a touch more prominence on the wrist. At the peak of that outward extension, a brushed bezel abruptly cuts back in toward the domed sapphire crystal, creating a very pleasing silhouette. The brushing to the main case is broken up on the top of the lugs with polishing, which is complemented by the narrow band of polishing between the case and the bezel. The way the SNGLRTY case swoops and curves from lug to case and back to the opposite lug is refreshing in a world where case design seems to be a matter of dispassionate utilitarianism or an afterthought that results in some generic form you’ve seen a million times. While the easy-to-operate 3 o’clock crown is pull-out, the watch still achieves 100m of water resistance. The lugs, though, may present an obstacle for some considering a SNGLRTY watch: 21mm with double hex strap attachment. It’s a nightmare I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, despite rather liking the style it adds to the case. The padded leather strap itself is comfortable and immediately conforms to the wrist; it’s secured with a single-fold deployant clasp with a slim buckle that doesn’t create much bulk.
If you’ve made it past the beautiful lugs from hell, the next hurdle (and certainly the biggest) will be the dial and its novel time display. Let me break this down for you. Above, the time is 12:57:51. Ignoring the seconds indicator in the middle, we’re left with a single hand which the brand refers to as the SNGLRTY Hand. The hours are read simply by checking where the hand is pointing. The more creative aspect is that minutes display. The minutes ring turns counterclockwise such that the correct minute is always within the aperture of the SNGLRTY Hand. The big question you have is, “How easy is this to read?” My answer is that, if you have a second to pause, then it’s fine, but glancing down and getting a to-the-minute read of the time is not easy and did not become more so as I continued to wear the watch. Because the arcs of the aperture occasionally cover some of the digits on the minute ring, simply looking inside the ring for the time isn’t sufficient, as you might hope. You’ll have to check at least one side of the aperture to see what five-minute window you’re in, then determine which marker is most centered. When a watch has some feature, something that displays additional information whether it be a date or sideral time, you want it to be easy to read. It should be useful and usable, with not much effort. That’s not what I found with the minute indication, and so I found myself using it only as needed. With that approach, I was able to enjoy the watch as a one-hand watch that gave me the approximate time, knowing that if I really needed to be exact, I could take the extra few seconds to figure out the minutes.
Let me say, though, that I like the look of the dial. The modern hour font, the big date window that’s given plenty of space, the raised Côtes de Genève center disc, the shape of the handset—it all comes together nicely, offering a simple dial that juxtaposes the elegance of the case (though both are modern and sophisticated). On this model, the dial is completely un-lumed (which is fine), but it should be noted that there is an option for colorful lumed hour numerals and to have the hand’s tip lumed. The only thing I really took issue with is the harsh flatness of the SNGLRTY Hand. While it comes in blue or rhodium (seen here), the industrial brushing and almost one-dimensional design is a cold contrast against the sophistication of the rest of the watch. It is not what I would consider a dealbreaker, but it certainly jumped out at me.
SNGLRTY uses Sellita bases for its movements but adds its own custom module to achieve its approach to displaying the time. Through the sapphire caseback, the Sellita SW300-1 can be seen, with a custom rotor and some nice decoration. The module adds 1.2mm to this (though recall the entire watch remains only 11.8mm thick) and features a patented reverse gearing mechanism that slows and reverses the minute to allow the SNGLRTY hand to work perfectly. The movement still beats at 28,800 vph, has 25 jewels, and features a power reserve of 42 hours. To boot, SNGLRTY rates all of its movements to -4/+4 seconds per day.
The price of entry for a SNGLRTY watch is $2,900. That’s a no date, no lume, no frills version (though with this case and the time display, there will always be frills). Adding the date function immediately puts you at $4,800. The version reviewed herein is $4,950 (the black Côtes de Genève center disc adds $150). The main competition here is MeisterSinger, which has a lower cost of entry, but without the option of telling the exact time and a far more generic design. To be sure, MeisterSinger does not offer customization and the case design seems to fall into that latter category of being overfamiliar. SNGLRTY’s customization, patented movement module, and beautiful cases may not tot up to $2,900 or $4,800 for you, but there’s no denying these watches are novel and would serve well a collector that’s looking to branch out a bit. As long as that individual is okay with a bit of a learning curve (or just getting partial utility from the watch), they’ll be satisfied with a SNGRLTY watch. The SNGLRTY OHI4 is priced starting at $4,800. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.
>Price: $4,800+ USD
>Size: 40.5mm-wide, 11.8mm-thick, 47mm lug-to-lug distance, 21mm lugs
>When reviewer would personally wear it:
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone who’s already got a solid collection and is looking for something unique that isn’t a statement piece
>Best characteristic of watch: Novel time display, case shape, and customizability
>Worst characteristic of watch: Time display takes a lot of getting used to, hour hand is a bit one-dimensional, strap attachment makes swaps a chore