Luch One Hand Review: Sub-$100 Minimalist Mechanical Watch

A review of a unique timepiece.

Luch is a Belarussian watchmaking company – one of few to have survived in the post-Soviet era – with its current principal backer being high end watchmaker Franck Muller. This particular watch is simply known as the One Hand. The concept is a novel one, using a single hand to display the time. It isn’t a timepiece for a man who needs an accurate watch (it only shows the time to the nearest 5 minute interval); but in the age of smartphones, a wristwatch is – more often than not – used as a statement piece before a timekeeping tool.

As soon as I saw this watch, I fell in love with it. The one hand concept spoke the right language of laid back attitude. I bought one direct from Belarus a few months back for ~$80AUD, and it has seen more wrist time than almost any of the others in my collection. Today I share about my experience with this timepiece.

Shipping and Unboxing

Shipping took between two and three weeks from Belarus to Adelaide, and upon arrival I was greeted by a box inscribed in shiny Cyrillic lettering. It was neatly and safely packed, and arrived as pictured above. I immediately loved the design as much in person as I had when I saw it in pictures.

The Burning Question: How Does it Work?

Seeing as the watch doesn’t have a minute hand, there is no way to accurately track each minute. You may have noticed that the dial on this watch differs to most conventional analogue watches in that there are many more dashes between the hour markers. The time is measured in 5 minute increments, with each small dash representing a single 5 minute block. Thus, if the hand is at the second dash past the 09 marker, the time is approximately 9:10.

The Outside

The case diameter is 38mm (in my opinion, the perfect size), and at a thickness of 8mm it sits extremely well on the wrist. The first thing I was struck by was the beauty of the minimalistic design; the plain white dial with black everything else and a chrome case gives off a distinctly European minimalistic feel. It also gives room for the white contrast stitching on the factory black leather strap to really pop. I was impressed with the quality of the strap; being an $80 watch I did not expect much, but the leather is super supple and has been comfortable and sturdy in the time that I’ve had it.

It looks great occupying the wrist all by itself, but the 38mm size means it has comfortable room to share with a bracelet if you so desire.

Other Options

This watch comes in more than just the above layout. It’s available with black dial/chrome case or gold toned case and dial; you can also choose whether you prefer the original logo (as mine has), or a plain ‘Luch’ written in English in place of the logo (this version also has the lower text in English). Personally I much prefer the original logo with the Cyrillic. I’ve also seen some options with a different coloured hand, and special editions such as ‘racing’ edition on which the dial is painted to resemble a car tachometer. I chose the white dial as I thought it looked most versatile. The gold one looks nice, but it is best to avoid gold toned watches as regular wearers as they do not tend to age well. This being said, a gold toned watch is perfectly fine and should last for a decently long time if only worn occasionally.

The Inside (Movement)

This watch is powered by a Luch calibre 1801.1 (an in-house movement on a sub $100 watch!) manually winding mechanical movement. The original specifications say that this movement has a power reserve of 38 hours; mine ran for a little over 39 hours when I ran a test. It’s not a particularly accurate movement, sometimes losing a couple of minutes per day; however it is a single handed watch with a dial only accurate to 5 minutes so there isn’t much need for a deadly accurate movement in my opinion! This is part of the charm; it’s a watch you can wear when you are in weekend mode and don’t need to measure your day in minute increments.

Where Can You Buy One?

You can purchase one from the same eBay seller as I did here. Depending on the exchange rate, the price will be around $80AUD.

A black dial version is available and a gold toned version also. The racing version can be bought here (note: the racing version is roughly $20-$30AUD extra).

Final Thoughts

I ‘m very satisfied with this timepiece. A classy mechanical watch with a design approach that’s outside the box, it wears well and is a great conversation starter. If you have a laid back personality, this watch is a perfect match for you. If you need something to kick you into relaxation mode, this is also perfect. Just don’t wear it when you need to be in time for a job interview!

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With content features ranging from appearances on popular menswear hubs (The Rake, StyleForum, Put This On) to French perfume newsletters and university course readings, Sam is a writer, designer and enthusiast in the fields of menswear and fragrance.

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