botta and slow watches side by side

How Do One-Hand Watches Work And Who Makes Them?

I was fascinated about one-hand watches from the first moment I came across my first such watch.

But once I started looking into the history of them I realised that they are not new at all.

It is a great example of fashions and trends coming and going.

And, to be honest, I am glad it is back now as I truly enjoy wearing these single-hand watches.

How Do One Hand Watches Work


It is not necessarily that new as a concept, maybe it is

just one of those things

we simply forgot.

If we go back to history for a moment, we will see that the first publicly used watches were sundials. They used the sun positioning and a shadow from a single hand to show the time. Such sundials were built in villages and cities, where citizens could check the time as they were passing by.

Sundial is not that great when it is not sunny, though. Hence, I guess that was one of the reasons why mechanical watches in towers started to appear in city squares. Interestingly, these first mechanical watches that had a mechanism the size of the house, also only had one hand.


The stone-made sun-dial of the church of Panagia (Virgin Mary) at Vourbiani village in Konitsa area of Epirus region in north-western Greece.


One-hand watch on the 13th-century church – Église Saint-Rémy de Troyes, France. It was a technical marvel at the time more practical than sundial.

The idea of a one-hand watch is that it can fit all time measurement units on the watch face. Instead of measuring time by the minute Botta watch actually measures it in the segments on ten minutes. Each notch represents the passing of ten minutes.

In the picture to the left, you can see the reading of 16:00, which is pretty straight forward, but it does take a little of getting used to in order to read 15:40 for example. But it does not take long, and in no time at all, you will be able to read 'between the lines' to see 16:15.

One of the main reasons for such time measure is to focus on the passing day rather than passing minute. You can see what time of the day it is, rather than what minute of the hour it is.

One-handed watches allow you to appreciate the slower pace of life and different relationship with time, just like in the older days, when life was less hectic.

European One Hand Watch Makers

Founded by Claus Botta, an industrial design student at the time, Botta Uno is a leading singe hand watchmaker in Europe. As a German company, they guarantee quality engineering and merge it with Swiss watchmaking skills by using Swiss movement mechanism.

I love the fact that Claus has come up with this concept of tracking time – a revolutionary idea at the time. All other watchmakers bellow actually followed the suite and created their own versions of their watch should look like.

Botta Uno watches bring in a new dimension to single-handed watches by splitting the day in half. I own one of these watches, and it fits my lifestyle so well. You can read my full Botta Uno 24 Review to learn more about these watches, I used one for six months and was surprised how quickly I became attached to it.

Made in Germany. Price: €440 – €1,750. Buy on Amazon EU I UK

MeisterSinger is exclusively mechanical watchmaker. Founded by Manfred Brassler, MeisterSinger has always been made in Germany, ever since its production began in 2001. By now this company has made a huge mark amongst single hand watch fans.

Many watch fans, including me, adore how big this watch is. Although I know that there are 36 mm, but every time I come across one of these beauties, they are 40 or 43 mm. And I do like it how it stands out on the wearer's wrist.

Although they are not cheap, compared to other mechanical watches, it is still a bargain to be had. Especially considering this perfect marriage of Swiss movement and German design engineering. Depending on the price, you can also expect additional mechanical wristwatch features.

Made in Germany. Price €1,060 – €1,980. Buy on Amazon EU I UK I US

Slow is a relatively young company when comparing with other Swiss watchmakers. The company was founded by Corvin Lask and Christopher Noerskau and started trading their unique watches in 2013.

These watches are inspired by a slower pace in life, where time is appreciated rather than measured. In addition to the one-hand watch concept, the team has hired Swiss designers to create these unique designs. I also like that they come in a variety of sizes from 34 mm to 42.5. It makes their smaller designs more feminine and larger suited to men with larger hands.

I have also already done a Slow Watch Review. It is great to see how it wears over time and have a lady's opinion on the design and feel.

Made in Switzerland. Price: €270 – €300. Buy on Amazon EU I US

Yes, Belarus is making watches too. Well, is more of a Swiss investment into a former Soviet watch factory initially built in 1953, it went bankrupt in 2009. Now they are making watches again. And it is worth checking these out.

Luch (meaning 'sun ray' in Belarusian) is making many types watches, and one hand wristwatches is only a small part of their 160, 000 annual watch production. But I do like their unique designs and the fact that you get a mechanical watch for such a bargain price. It also boasts of 12-month guarantee and 3 ATM.

It comes in 38 mm size, with a right mix of masculine, feminine and unisex options. I especially love those brave reds and blues. I cannot think of another watchmaker offering such colours on single-hand watches.

Made in Belarus. Price: €55 – €85. Buy on Amazon EU I UK I US

The world of single-hand watches is big


If you like the concept of single-hand wristwatches, then you are spoiled for choice.

There are many makers that offer a variety of sizes, movements and designs.

What truly matters is that you embrace what these watches are trying to give – a slower pace of life. I do hope that owning one of these will allow you to appreciate your time 'now' and 'in the present'. That is the point for owning one of these.

Please note that this page uses affiliate links to support the costs of maintenance and further development of the site.


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