The Defakto Meta is a One Handed Watch that Lives Up to its Name

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I’ll be honest, when I first started skimming through the press materials for the new Defakto Meta, my initial thought was “Please don’t let this be a late April Fools joke…”. The name of the watch, the playful tone of the press release itself (which, truth be told, is completely in line with the overarching image of the brand), and the unusual choice to produce a single hand timekeeper all had me thinking I might be getting punked. As a lover of all things somewhat strange in the world of horology, I was relieved when I determined that the Meta was, in fact, a real watch. At least, that’s my working assumption. I suppose Defakto could still be pulling one over on me. And you. Meta indeed.

Defakto Meta

  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Dial: Black
  • Dimensions: 40 x 44 x 9.8mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire     
  • Water Resistance: 5 ATM
  • Crown: Push/pull              
  • Movement: ETA 2824-2 
  • Strap/bracelet: Leather strap
  • Price: ~$900
  • Reference Number: MET-PVD-SW
  • Expected Release: Available now 


Defakto calls the Meta an “approx-watch” (told you they were playful). Telling the time with just one hand, getting an exact, to the second reading of the time at any one moment is impossible. The idea here is that once you get used to the experience of seeing the time expressed with one hand, it’s easy and intuitive to look at your wrist and get a general sense of what time it is.

As a design object, the Meta seems to be telling us that if we can’t make do with a general sense of the time within about five to fifteen minutes, perhaps we need to slow down, and be less beholden to time itself. Sure, we all have to be on time for meetings, social gatherings, and a host of other things, but one hand sweeping slowly across a minimalist dial reinforces the idea that being a slave to these commitments is, if not pointless, something to avoid or be wary of. 

If you recall our review of the Defakto Transit from earlier this year, the Meta will feel familiar. This watch has much of the same DNA, with a series of alternating short and long white indices to mark off the hours and minutes. The big difference, obviously, is that on the Meta the dial has been set up to easily tell the time with one hand. Rather than the individual minute markers that make a lot of sense for precision timekeeping on the Transit, the Meta has been configured with markers that count off 15 minute intervals. With fewer hour markers between each cardinal position (and only one hand) the Meta has an even more minimalist and uncluttered dial than the Transit. 

The displayed time here is approximately 2:45.

The Meta, while certainly design forward, is not merely a curiosity. Defakto was founded by a member of the Ickler family, a name which is synonymous with high quality, durable German made watch cases, and much of that quality and ingenuity has been ported over. The slim PVD coated case is just under 10mm in height, and small details like the curved dial and the single hand shaped to match up precisely with each marker as it passes over give the Meta a certain level of refinement. The ETA 2824-2 movement will keep time accurately enough, even if you, as the wearer, can’t possibly know it.

A single hand, approximate time watch isn’t for everyone, but if you’re naturally drawn to minimalism, the Meta feels like a natural place to land as you explore options within that space. It’s aggressively simple in both presentation and function, and if the overall build quality is anything like the Transit and other Defakto watches (and we have no reason to think it isn’t) it also represents a solid value at solid value, coming in at around $900. Defakto

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.
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Single-handed watches are a pretty interesting and fairly rare sub-genre …