The single-hand watch: why is it so intriguing?

André watch 24h dial

The mono-aiguille mountain, out of the established order and defying time, intrigues by its originality. Bare of 2 needles, it allows to have a more global vision of time, less stressful and more soothing. To lay eyes on a single-hand watch is like stepping back in time and realizing that no rush.

The origin of the mono-aiguille mountain

As surprising as it may seem, reading a 24 hour watch via a single needle is a return to origins and not a result of progress. The first mechanical clocks dating from the 24th century, had dials divided into XNUMX hours and a single hand. The pace of life being much less frantic at that time, reading the time did not need to be as precise as possible. In addition, public clocks, often visible from church steeples, had to be readable from a distance. That is why one needle was enough to quickly read the time, without confusing the hour and minute hands (which did not yet exist anyway!). Jost Bürgi, watchmaker and mathematician (among others) was the one who invented the minute hand in 1577. This new technology and the search for precision having taken precedence over the simpler aspect of the mono-hand, it is then made increasingly rare. The same goes for 24-hour dials, which are gradually being replaced by 12-hour formats.

What should be remembered is that the mono-hand was for a long time the only solution for telling the time. From the sundial of ancient times, to the clock, passing by the pocket watch, all initially indicated only the hours via a single hand.  

24 hour watches, As for them, they had regained their luster in trades where one was deprived of the sight of the sun as a point of reference. This is particularly the case for submariners, who for distinguish day from night, used watches indicating every hour of the day.

Antoine single-hand watch

Nowadays, we see a back to basics and the desire to go against the tide in relation to the immediacy of our consumption patterns and technological advances. The single-hand watch manages to find a public seeking the serenity of observing a dial where time seems to pass slower, especially on a 24 hour dial.  

How a single-hand watch works ?

As you will have understood, a single-hand watch is therefore a watch with a single hand which indicates hours and minutes simultaneously. They exist both on a dial in 12-hour format and in 24-hour format. On a 24-hour watch, it will have the particularity of not only once around the dial.

Single-hand watches work the same way than 3-hand watches. The rotation of the hand is dictated by the energy of the movement, whether quartz (battery-powered), manual mechanical or automatic (powered by the kinetic energy of the wrist).

The only thing that differs from a more classic 3-hand watch, other than the 2 missing hands, is the index scale. 

Don't panic, we'll explain it all to you below!

Mont George Phase de Lune

How to tell the time on a 24 hour single hand watch ?

Reading a single-hand watch may leave you perplexed at first, but when you take a close look at it, you realize that it's simpler to read only a 3-hand watch! So of course it takes time to adapt, but we remind you, the key word of this article is tosoothe his frenetic vision of time. So let's take a moment to explain how to read the time on these famous watches.

As said previously, on a 24-hour format, the hand makes just once around the dial, following the classic pattern of a day made up of… 24 hours. It's already simpler in the idea because you will not have to do mini mental somersault to convert this famous 07:00 to 19:00 after a hard day's work.

Next, let's go back to the index scale. Between each segment indicating a time, you will have graduations every 5, 10 or 15 minutes depending on the model of your watch. Most 24h watches display the 12h segment up of the dial so as not to destroy any notions acquired from a very young age.

André explanation how to read the time

Here, we can see that each line on the dial is equivalent to 10 minutes. The daily time is displayed in a single glance. As you have seen, reading the hour to the nearest minute is almost impossible. We will have warned you it is a different vision of time, you will have to get used to it but you are no longer up to the minute. And if you really have a train to catch, you still have the right to take a quick look at your phone!

As for single-hand watches with a 12 o'clock dial, it's the same reading principle. The hand will just circle the dial twice like a more classic watch and the index scale will be more like 2 minutes.

Single-hand watch with 12 o'clock dial

Finally, the single-hand watch issimple complexity. Being at the origin of watchmaking, wearing it nowadays is a real back to basics, at the time of a peaceful rhythm of life. It's a different vision that somehow makes you take a step back and step back. So if every time you look at your watch, you feel like you don't have enough time, it may be a sign thatit is necessary to switch to the mono-needle! 



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