Once upon a timepiece

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In this edition of our monthly Gadget column, we examine watches.

Kisai Polygon LCD Watch


Why wear a watch when our ever-present smartphones provide the same time-telling service? Tokyoflash Japan believes the answer is in the presentation. Their website, which sells high-tech watches from multiple designers, states their goal is to “turn time into art,” and Kisai’s Polygon watch does so beautifully. The designer ditches the numeric watch face in favor of geometry by using a series of lit polygons to communicate the hour and 10-minute mark. A single numeral skirting the inside edge of the center hexagon subtly indicates the minute mark and when you put it all together you can gladly reply, “Why, yes, I do have the time.” $129.

Qlocktwo W


Try reading the time—literally. In place of numerals, Qlocktwo W’s 35-millimeter-by-35-millimeter display uses a grid of 110 letters to spell out the time. The polished, brushed or black stainless steel case reports the time as we might say it, such as “half past six” or “ten to five.” What at first appears to be a word search strapped to your wrist also provides the calendar day at a push of the button. Some may find the watch face a little large for their wrists, however, there’s no denying the font exudes a simplistic confidence that lands somewhere between James Bond and Don Draper. Those who find the watch’s price tag—approximately $770—a bit unreadable may opt for the hourly wage–friendly iOS app, which comes in under a dollar.

i’m Watch


The i’m Watch knows the wristwatch can’t beat smartphones, so it joins them. With a version of the Android operating system, i’m Watch offers access to Facebook, Twitter, a music player, phone calls, news and photos. Using the i’m Droid open source OS, i’m Watch will support any app, so the possibilities are limitless. The user interface is clean—keeping the apps simple and uncluttered—and smartphone operating systems should take note of the straightforward approach. Rumors suggest that January’s Consumer Electronics Show will see the debut of a new OS version, but until the price drops, the i’m Watch will remain as much of a dream to the average consumer as Dick Tracy’s 2-Way Wrist Radio was in the 1940s. Starting at $399.