Luch One-Hander

Today's Guest Bum is Nikolai, an amateur watch reviewer from Belarus and a moderator of Watch.ruthe popular Russian and Commonwealth of Independent States forum.  He has provided the text and photos for this reveiw.

Many Americans may be unaware of Belarus. My country is typically associated with our Belarus brand tractors, MAZ and BelAZ trucks, and our countless lakes and spas; but when talking about watches, Belarus is clearly represented by the Luch watch factory.




Today I will take a closer look at one of the most popular modern examples of Belarusian watchmaking, the Luch single hander featuring on the in-house caliber 1801.1. The range of single-handed watches is relatively narrow, but some watch manufacturers offer one or two models or even their whole range with one hand. The Luch single hand model is perhaps the model most associated with the brand.


Looking at the box in which the watch is sold, it’s hard to tell that this is a watch box at all. The whole package consists of a piece of flexible transparent plastic with a shallow recess for the watch, which is closed by a simple piece of cardboard, serving both as a certificate and a warranty card. Since my watch was received more than two years ago, the package did not survive the time. In short, the packaging is extremely simple and doesn’t have any interesting features worth to mention.


The case is made from chrome-plated brass. Since the watch wasn’t worn that often, the case managed to stay intact, but I can’t assure you on how it will withstand the test of time. To take the photo of the movement, I had to open the case back, and although I tried my best to be gentle, it still resulted in some slight marks on the case. The crown isn’t made of steel either. Even with light use, it is showing obvious signs of wear.


The diameter without the crown is 38mm, 40mm with crown. It is 44 mm long from lugs to lugs and just 8 mm thick. The watch is on the thinner side, maybe among the thinnest watches I’ve ever had. The glass is mineral, with no observable curvature, so simply put, it’s plain. 


Speaking of the thickness, the case back is rather thin, but the watch isn’t for diving after all. The case back is simple, snap-in type, and is easily closed. The meaning of the number stamped on it remains a mystery for me.


The dial is white, while the markers and the hands are black. Legibility is great but reading time from a single hander requires some getting used to; however, after a couple of days it becomes natural. My colleagues had a good laugh wondering how I could read the time using just one hand. There aren’t any noticeable drawbacks or problems with the dial, but better not take a loupe. That lonely hand is simple and plain, nothing spectacular. Personally, I would have preferred a blued one. In my opinion, it would elevate the dial's appearance.


Inside, after taking off the caseback and secondary cover, you may find the Luch inhouse 1801.1 calibre. The history of its development goes back several decades. Since then and till today, this movement and all its components are being manufactured solely in the Luch manufacture in Minsk. Some say that the movement architecture was partly copied from German Urofa 542 or Urofa 54. What I know for sure, is that this movement is among the smallest mechanical watch movements ever produced in the former Soviet Union. and now this title can be transformed into the smallest mechanical movement ever produced in Belarus! 


Coming back to the photo the movement itself looks like it was cut by an ax. This is surprising because same 1801.1 movements produced back then in USSR looked more refined than this modern version. Anyway, since the watch doesn’t have a see-through caseback, the more important is the performance aspect of the movement. I didn’t have a timegrapher on hand, but from my experience, the watch kept pretty good time. The technical brochure which came with the watch specified a shocking accuracy range of +/- 90 sec per day; fortunately, my unit did much better than that.


The more recent single-handed Luch models, which I’ve recently seen, appear to have more refined cases and better-finished movements. Unfortunately, the cases are still made from chrome plated brass, so the transition to stainless steel didn’t happen. I hope for it to happen in the near future.


Americans can buy a Luch for a little more than $50 on Amazon, which is an extremely low price for this funky one-hander. The watch can be criticized for chrome plated brass case instead of widely used stainless steel, which may be a deal breaker for some who want to wear their watch every day, but it makes sense considering the price of the watch. Think of it as of a good souvenir from Belarus!

Clik here for additional information about the Luch manufacture and their novelties. ⬩


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