Defakto is a small watch manufacture based out of Germany. Founded in 2009 by Raphael Ickler in Pforzheim, Defakto specializes in high quality, minimalist watches. If the Ickler name sounds familiar, it should. Theyíve been precision machining watch cases and components out of the same city since 1924 and have several brands under their umbrella (most notably: Archimede). Defakto as a brand stands on its own, in part because Raphael has drawn from his familyís experience in the watchmaking world to create a reliable and well-built watch.
Today, weíre looking at the ďTransit,Ē a model created to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the brand. This minimal design is easy to read and wear, with a strong dial:bezel ratio inside a slim 40mm case. The Transitís design DNA is clearly cut from a similar cloth as the rest of the lineup, but when talking about minimalist design, itís the little things that matter. Letís take a closer look at all of the intricacies of Defaktoís Transit. First, some specs:



$860




Review: The Defakto Transit is a Modern, Minimalist Watch From the Ickler Family

Case
Stainless steel

Movement
ETA 2824-2

Dial
Matte black convex dial

Lume
Indices, hands, and minute markings, Superluminova

Lens
Domed sapphire

Strap
German-made black leather

Water Resistance
3 atm (30m, 100ft.)

Dimensions
40mm x 44mmmm

Thickness
9.8mm

Lug Width
20mm

Crown
Push/Pull

Warranty
Yes

Price
$860







Case

For a 40mm case, the one on the Transit wears smaller than its size suggests. Thatís thanks to the comparatively short lug-to-lug distance of 48mm. This translates to small lugs, each coming in at a scant 4mm in length, and positioned to angle down dramatically toward the wrist. The resulting effect is that your focus is drawn to the circular shape of the watch.
Running around the outside of the dial, thereís a small brushed bezel that slopes from the crystal to the side of the case. Youíre left with a wide open dial with a small border surrounding it, making the Transit open, airy, and legible. On the right side of the case, youíll find a small push down crown with deeply cut grooves in its surface that make winding and time-setting a breeze.*













Given the Ickler familyís 100 years of case making experience, it comes as little surprise that the case on the Transit is clean and sharp throughout. The design is simple, but executed well and I really like the finishing technique. While itís probably easy to just call it a brushed case and walk away, thereís a bit more going on here when you look closer. There are at least five different brushed surfaces, all at different angles. On the bezel, the brushing pattern follows the circular shape of the bezel itself. The sides of the case both feature horizontal brushing, while the space in between the lugs is brushed vertically. On top of each lug, the brushing is vertical, and finally the flat surface of the crown features radial brushing. Each transitional surface is nice and sharp. As you rotate your wrist, youíll notice the light playing off each surface in a different direction adding a subtle, yet interesting visual effect.*
Dial and Hands

A matte black, curved dial adorns the face of the Transit. The curve is gentle and hard to notice at first, especially under the curved sapphire. Upon closer inspection, youíll notice that the long minutes hand features a curve at the edge as well. From the top-down, the hands and dial appear to be flat which go well with the minimalist design of the watch. The indices are made up of a series of Super-LumiNova-treated lines that feature a gently rounded edge. Theyíre actually more like long, flat ovals. Thereís a longer oval at five-minute intervals with shorter ones in between. The rounded markers play well with the overall design of the watch. If they were squared off, the Transitís dial would leave a different impression entirely. The rounded accents throughout counterbalance the sharp edges of the case and lugs with something softer, and I like the resulting effect.
Pointing to the time, there are three hands: white hands for the minutes and hours, and a contrasting red hand for the seconds. Mirroring the shape of the indices, each hand is a long thin rectangle with a rounded end. The minutes hand extends fairly far towards the edge of the dial, hitting about halfway through the minute marker scale. The hours hand is a fair bit shorter, falling just short of the inside of the longer hour markers. Finally, the red seconds hand is the longest of the bunch, reaching all the way to the outer edge of the dial. On a minimalist style watch, these small differences in details go a long way. The hand set on the Transit is balanced and easy to read ó just how it should be. Another thing that jumped out at me is the base of the seconds hand. It sits at the top of the hand stack and is wide enough to cover the origination points of the hours and minutes hands. Itís another cool little detail that makes the Transit look that much cleaner.*











All of the indices and hands are treated with Super-LumiNova, giving the Defakto a neon light-like vibe in the dark. The red seconds hand has a different color of lume, so in the dark conditions, the seconds hand still has a similar pop like it does in the light.
Movement

Through the display case back, youíll have the pleasure of watching an ETA 2824-2 beating away inside. The 2824-2 is a reliable Swiss-made movement that beats at 28,800bph, sending the red seconds hand around the dial with a smooth sweep. Defakto uses the stock movement, so thereís nothing too fancy to look at inside. Thereís no date display on the watch, so the functionality is limited to telling the time. For a minimally designed three-hander, a workhorse movement like the ETA 2824-2 makes sense. Thereís some basic info laser engraved around the ring surrounding the display back. Admittedly, the quality of the engraving could be better. The edges of the text are a little soft and itís not very deep into the surface.*

Strap and Wearability

The Transit ships on a German-made black leather strap. Itís on the thinner side, but that doesnít affect the overall quality and comfort of the strap, and the thinness complements the case well. I liked how the strap was comfortable to wear right out of the box with no breaking in. A matte black signed clasp keeps the watch secured to your wrist and two slim leather keeper loops will hold onto any extra strap you may have hanging around. I did throw the Transit on an ADPT strap in forest green with the red accent stitching in hopes to match the red seconds hand, but something about the whole look just felt off. Since the watch head is slim and svelte, it felt out of place with a beefy nylon strap. I much prefer the look on the included slim leather strap. If you were to swap out the strap, something slim and leather would probably be your best best.*

















On the wrist, the Transit wears like itís not even there. The 9.8mm case sits really close to the wrist, and Iíve found it to be very comfortable during daily wear, no matter what I happen to be doing. The Transit seems best suited for a mix of weekend and business casual office wear ó the watch easily slips under a cuff, and the classic profile of the watch, with a silhouette curving from the top down, is inherently refined. Iím sure you could dress it up, but the playful indices and red seconds hand donít exactly scream ďformalĒ to me. However, I think thatís what I like the most about the Defakto. Itís unassuming, yet remains interesting when you take a closer look. The minimalist design is minimal without being too sparse. It really strikes a nice balance of being refined, classy, casual, and fun all at the same time.*
Conclusion


Defaktoís Transit is well-made, well-designed, and well-wearing. Itís also the winner of the German Design Award for 2020, pretty much for the reasons mentioned in the review. Itís a versatile little watch that sits slim on the wrist, and the rounded details throughout set it apart from other ďstuffyĒ minimalist designs and bring something new to the table. Iíve enjoyed my time with the watch quite a bit. Itís my first extended test of a slim minimalist watch and the Transit has made me a convert. Itís nice to have something on your wrist thatís so effortless to wear. Defakto






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