The Defakto Nachschicht (Nightshift) is the first one-handed watch I have had the chance to wear, and using it is a unique experience. Generally speaking, precision and accuracy are key features in the buying and using of a watch, right alongside quality and looks. Yes, there are various stylized watches, like the Nava Ora Unica or the Nooka Zot, that obscure time for the sake of novelty or a unique aesthetic, but it is not often that a midrange mechanical watch chooses to forgo exactitude to create a different experience of wearing a watch. The Nachschicht, and the Defakto Eins line as a whole, is designed around this premise.
Case: Black PVD Stainless steel
Movement: ETA 2824-2 25 Jewel Automatic
Dial: full lume white with black indices
Case Back: Screwdown
Strap: Black Italian Calf Leather
Water Res.: 50 M
Thickness: 9 mm
Lug Width: 20mm
Warranty: 24 months returns within 14days
A glance at the Nachschicht wont tell you exactly what time it is, but rather allow you to make an estimation based on 15 minute increments, because unlike other one-handed watches, the Nachschicht gives you only four markings an hour. If the single oversized hand happens to be exactly on a marker, then you can fairly safely guess the time, but if it is in between two markers then you are forced to think in more abstract terms. For example, you will never read 7:20, but rather not 7:15 and not 7:30, but closer to 7:15. What this does is either makes you recalibrate your life to 15-minute increments, or makes you let go of the idea of being right on time. As a born and raised New Yorker, with a penchant for being on time or early, wearing a watch that introduced ambiguity into my schedule has been a bit shocking, but quite enjoyable. It is so rare that a watch, or anything for that matter, actually effects your perception of things, that when it does it is very memorable.
Another effect of wearing a one-handed watch is that time appears slowed down. Since it takes an hour for the hand to move 30 degrees it is impossible to perceive it in motion. A normal minute hand, though hard to see move with the naked eye, gives you the sense of elapsed time by virtue of being in fairly different positions whenever you look at your watch. On one hand, this make frustrating hours go more slowly, like Friday from 4-5pm (I could have never worn this watch in high-school for that very reason)… On the other hand, when you are busy and lose track of time, the sudden jump of the motionless hand has more significance.
So, for me, based on the experience alone, the Nachschicht is a successful watch, a watch I have a place for in my collection. The fact that it is well made and eye catching just drives that home further. The 42mm x 9mm black PVD stainless steel case has a fairly classic design, with refined proportions and detail. The sides of the case are straight, and lead seamlessly into slightly curved lugs, giving it a geometry that is precise and exacting, but not harsh or overly masculine. The bezel steps in a hair from the edge of the case and bevels up to the sapphire crystal, which is a subtle detail that I very much enjoy. Flipping it over, the screw-down display case also has a PVD finish, another nice touch, and reads in laser-etched text “DEFAKTOSAPHIRGLASROSTFREIRSTAHLWR50MMADEINGERMANY”, all caps, no spaces.
The face of the Defakto is both simple and striking. Though it consists of just black rectangles on a white dial with two logos, it really stands out. The main hour markers are indicated in thick black strokes and the quarter hour marks in smaller thinner lines. The word “defakto” is positioned below twelve and a red sun or gear emblem is positioned just above six. The red emblem is a bit unexpected, but creates a nice counterpoint to the otherwise minimal dial. If I had to choose one word to describe the aesthetic of the Nachschicht, it would be graphic. The dial doesn’t feel like it came out of looking at fashion trends, or out of looking at current watch offerings. Rather it feels like it came out of a study of lines and proportions drawn on graph paper, like an architectural sketch. In my mind, the designer labored over the exact width and length of every line, ruler and eraser in hand.
The dial of the Nachschicht is also full lume, which is a surprising, but very welcome, feature. During the day, you would not know that the dial is anything but white. It is clean and crisp and shows no hints of coloration. In the dark, however, the Nachschicht gives off a subtle, but useful, teal glow. It isn’t that bright kind of intense glow that you get from a C3 superluminova, but rather closer to Indiglo or an electroluminescent panel. It’s just enough to allow you to read the face without feeling bright, or disturbing people around you at the movies.
The single hand of the Defakto is very cool, and not like any hour or minute hand I’ve seen before. Sure, on the surface it can be described as just a triangle on top of a rectangle, but the proportions of it, the thin legs leading to the triangle, the lack of a counter weight, all add up to something very unique. Basically, the pointed tip, which extends from the center of the dial to nearly the quarter hour marks, sits on top of two very thin armatures that extend to the center. The two thin armatures effectively create a rectangular window that allows for the hand to be fairly wide, while not seeming too dense and distracting from the dial below. It also has an interesting effect in low light, when the lume of the dial is active.
An unadorned ETA 2824-2 25 jewel automatic movement powers the Nachschicht, which is visible through the display back. I love that this watch is powered by what is basically the workhorse Swiss automatic movement, a movement found in watches ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. In terms of the experience of reading the face, looking at the single hand and reading the time, one would not be able to distinguish between a quartz and mechanical movement in this circumstance. Using the 2824-2 and taking away the minutes, forgetting the smooth sweeping seconds and covering the date further emphasizes the unique experience of using a one handed watch. Of course, it also adds the quality and integrity associated with a good Swiss movement and a mechanical watch.