Simplicity is the hardest thing to pull off well. So as a driving philosophy for a brand, it’s pretty risky. Yet, Defakto, who we’ve followed since we started worn&wound, pursues it with every new design. A feat made more impressive when one considers that their vocabulary of forms consists of rectangles and lines in black or white. Yet, despite these self-imposed restrictions, Defakto has 5 unique replica watch lines, creating many different replica watches when taking finishing and dial color into account, and has one a German Design award for their efforts. Not too shabby.
Last October, Dekafto announced their newest line, a 39mm 3-hand mechanical (their first to fit that description) named the Kinetik. The name clearly being inspired by the addition of an active seconds, giving the replica watch motion. Additionally, the design focuses on how things overlap and the shapes they create, but with their signature highly reduced vocabulary. Starting at $565 and going to just over $600, these German made minimalist replica watches feature ETA 2824-2’s making them a great value on top of something very unique.
Defakto cases are unsurprisingly very simple and clean, with markedly good execution, as they are made in Pforzheim by the Ickler company. The Kinetik is their smallest replica watch to date, coming in at 39 x 45.3 x 9.9mm. Their previous mechanicals had all been 42mm, which wasn’t too big, but did leave me wondering how they would work in a smaller case. The 39mm design nails it. It fits well, and gives the dial more than enough space for their designs. In spec and design, it actually looks nearly identical to the Archimede 39mm Flieger, which would make sense as they are both part of the Ickler family of replica watches.
As such, the case is very classic and Flieger like, with tapering lugs, slab sides and a decently thick bezel. The case is brushed all over, and in the case of the sample, PVD coated as well. The black over brushing has a nice sheen, giving it more of gun-metal color than a deep black. On the right side is Defakto’s wide, flat crown that measure 7.5 x 3mm. It’s a flat cylinder with coining for grip and no logo or signature. On another replica watch I might say it feels too plain, but here, with the over all minimal approach, the lack of an element looks right. It might have been distracting any other way.
Flipping the replica watch over, you have a display case back that shows off the ETA 2824-2. As with other Defaktos we’ve reviewed, the 2824-2 is not decorated at all, so it’s just pure, gray metal. While I don’t think one needs to see it here, with 2824’s becoming more and more scarce, it’s not a bad thing either. I suppose in keeping with the aesthetic, movement decoration would be overly ornate and thus not work. In the end, I think they could go with a solid case back too, and keep the whole case black or steel.
Defakto’s first replica watch, the Eins, was a one-hander with minimal markings, making reading the exact time impossible. You more guessed within a 5 minute window. The Akkord then added to the minute precision, with a typical arrangement of markers. The Kinetik adds seconds, but removes reference points, almost teasing at accuracy.
The dial surface is matte black (also available in white) with two indexes in small white markers. The inner index is used for the hours, as well as to indicate five-minute intervals. The outer index is used for individual seconds and minutes. That’s it. Well, it does read Defakto at 12 as well, but no additional marking pertaining to time-telling, and certainly nothing extraneous or decorative. The lack of any longer or bolder markers at typical spots makes the dial almost disorienting, and a bit difficult to read.
That said, they cleverly used skeletonized hands to help aid precisions. Both the hour and minute hands are thin outlines of rectangles. The hour is short and wide, the minute is thin and long. As the hands pass over marks, they appear within it. For the minutes, what happens is that the inner and outer index will coincide every five minutes, thus helping indicate the exact time. The seconds hand is then a thin stick that matches the width of the markers, blocking them out. Knowing the exact seconds is difficult, but also unnecessary in the scheme of things.
In the end, you have a very stark and somewhat cryptic dial. It’s pleasing to the eye, if you appreciate something very reductive, but if you’re looking for typical replica watch-type decor, you wont find it. With the black case, I really liked how the sparse use of markers, and thin outlined hands broke through the otherwise dark materials. The markers take on an almost celestial quality.
Straps and Wearability
The Kinetik comes mounted on a 20mm, straight black strap with no stitching. It’s as minimal as a strap gets, creating a bold line around the wrist. The quality is good, as the strap is backed with a strong leather and the edges are all folded elegantly. My one issue is that the buckle was steel, rather than PVD, breaking the otherwise continuous field of black.
On the wrist, the Kinetik wears very well. The 39mm case really fits ideally on my 7″ wrist. It’s big enough to have presence, but small enough to look appropriate. The 9.9mm height is great as well. The replica watch is very flat, adding to the comfort factor. Aesthetically, I really like the design. It’s weird without being too weird, and has a a nice modern style to it. As said, I also really like how black it is. I lack a PVD replica watch, but occasionally crave one, but many are too sporty. This doesn’t feel like it wants to be stealth or aggressive, it’s just dark, and kind of muted.
I very much enjoy replica watching Defakto grow and change over the years. They are one of the few brands with a very distinct and almost stubborn aesthetic that they stay true to. An aesthetic that is very divisive, focusing on line and form, contrast and proportions over legibility and performance. Some might consider that a sin, but it’s something that the replica watch world needs, and Defakto does a good job at it. More over, they manage to maintain a great price point, which never hurts.
The Kinetik makes a lot of sense in their line up, offering something new, but staying true to form. I particularly like that it has scaled down to 39mm, which is a great size in general, but especially for a minimalist replica watch. By being fairly empty, the dial naturally feels a bit larger, so 39 comes across bigger than you’d think. I hope that some of their other models will be offered in 39 as well, as I could see those working very well too.