TACS Day and Night

One handed watches are weird. I'm not saying they are weird bad or weird good here. I'm just saying weird, as in offbeat or out of the ordinary. We all learned how to tell time on a conventional analog clock, and chances are, the device you are using to view this post is showing the time as a four-digit number. Generally, those two representations are all we need, but they are not the only ones out there. A growing number of companies are trying their hands (see what I did there) on watches with just one long hour hand on a finely graduated dial. I've featured such watches before, but I've not tried one myself. TACS decided to rectify this by sending me their Day and Night for review.

TACS Day and Night one-handed watch

The watch is sensibly sized at 40mm although an expensive dial and slim bezel make it appear larger. Its lugs are long and curved so far below the barrel of the case as to show a couple millimeters of daylight between the case and the surface on which it rests. All surfaces are brushed except the back and the signed crown. At just 6.5mm the barrel is wafer-thin and is further narrowed by a fine channel bisecting its flat sides, and a steep reduction towards the case back. A faint sun/moon engraving on the left side is a clever detail. The case is rated for 50m water resistance. 

TACS Day and Night one-handed watch profile

The Day and Night uses a Ronda 505.24H quartz movement. In a typical set-up, this would drive four hands: hour, minute, second, and GMT. TACS strips all but the GMT. This black needle makes one trip around the dial every 24 hours, marking the time against a 10-minute index. The silver dial is divided by a recessed semi-circle in the lower half. The upper section is for the day with 12 noon at the top, and the lower section is for the night with midnight at the bottom. Note that midnight is represented as 00 and not 24. (I've always felt zero was more accurate as there is no "24:00" in 24 hour time.) A raised, open circle at the top and a raised, filled circle at the bottom, presumably represent the sun and moon. Both have circular brushing. The two sections are further emphasized by the smooth surface of the recessed section, contrasting with the horizontal brushing on the primary layer. 

TACS Day and Night one-handed watch

It really is a pretty dial. Everything is silver except the hand and the index. I love the use of different surface finishes to distinguish the different features. This is a device used on many older watches, and one I wish would make a comeback as it is a particularly pleasing effect. The branding or model name has been banished to the case back, so there is no text to spoil the dial's quiet equilibrium. There is no lume on the dial.

TACS Day and Night one-handed watch wrist shot

I found the Day and Night to be a good fit on my 6.5" wrist and it would fit easily under a buttoned shirt cuff if not for the leather NATO strap. I must say this is the weak link in the design. I have nothing against NATOs, but they do take up space, especially at the tail end, and the heavy leather on this particular strap does not fold easily over the bars. On an otherwise svelte watch such as this, that extra bulk fights the design. I'd suggest swapping a thinner pass-through or fitting a more tailored two-piece strap. The strap is 20mm wide with a signed 20mm buckle.

TACS Day and Night one-handed watch strap

So now that I had the Day and Night strapped to my wrist, it was time to put it through its paces as my timepiece of the day. Telling time on this watch was, shall we say, different. It is not that it was hard to read. The index may be small but it is clearly marked, and while I thought the tiny, 10-minute hash marks would be confusing, they were actually quite intuitive. Of course, you are never going to get down-to-the-minute precision with this watch. But "ten after" or "a quarter to" is all I generally require and that was easy enough to achieve here. My issue was with the 24-hour dial. Maybe it's my lack of military service, but "13:00" means nothing to me. For every hour after noon, I found myself thinking twice before I committed to the hour. This was compounded by the fact that the 24-hour layout meant the hour hand's placement almost never corresponded to its familiar position on a 12-hour dial. There was no glancing down to see 2 o'clock in the 2 o'clock position where it belongs. I'm sure that over time I would get used to it, but it would take some practice. 

TACS Day and Night one-handed watch

At this point, I should note that by changing the presentation of time, the Day and Night changed my perception of time, and that is the whole point of a watch like this. The hour hand seems to move with inexorable slowness compared to a standard 12-hour analog, and it was positively glacial compared to the minute-by-minute advance of a digital readout. Obviously, they are all reading time at the same pace, but the Day and Night does an excellent job of showing you the entirety of the day while all but erasing the minutes, leaving you with just the needle's leisurely travel from day to night and back. I get it, and over time, I would probably grow fully accustomed to it, but in the short term, it drove me a little crazy. Maybe I'm just wound too tight for a 24-hour one-hander. A 12-hour version might be a better choice for me.

The TACS Day and Night is a lovely watch and an intriguing exercise in time display, although clearly not for everyone. If you would like to give this novel timepiece a try, head over to tacs-image.com where the Day and Night sells for very reasonable $220. ⬩

TACS Day and Night one-handed watch profile

TACS Day and Night one-handed watch case back

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