I often trawl through the weird and wonderful watches that appear from time to time, where the old analog idea of hour and minute hand is sort of forgotten about.
And we have the sometimes preposterous methods for showing, telling or indicating the passage of time, which at first glance (and you’ll need a few glances I can tell you), it is nigh impossible to read the time.
You also get some rather ingenious ways too, but mostly the common denominator is the fact – it’s haystack time! and you’ve got to find the needle! The needle being the time!
To the young it may be fashionable and I’m sure a topic of conversation (do the young actually converse face to face any more?), a talking point, as all your friends gather round to see if they can make out what time it is. However to my old peepers, I would be better squinting at a kaleidoscope via an illegal substance overdose!
Now what time is it?
Xeric Trappist Monk Moonphase – and tells the time I think.
(1) Apparently the Trappist Monk here tells you the time with the window @6 showing the Hours and the planets or stars somehow showing the Minutes. I haven’t managed to see it myself yet, but I’m sure if I had time, I might figure it out. Love the colors and the sky design and all that – but . . . .
Seems ironic for me that the watch dial is really large and OK it looks intriguing, but the time telling bits are so small in comparison, it ends up with such a small set of indicators, you certainly can’t just glance at this to get the time. If you can get it at all!
(2) The next guy is the Last Laugh Tattoo by Mr Jones,
Mr Jones – Last Laugh Tattoo
which though colorful and has lots of symbolism tattoo stuff, to me seems to be an exercise in how to hide, not show, the time.
Once you have your glasses on you can just make out the Hours on the top set of teeth and the Minutes on the lower set.
But again we have the repeating theme of a large dial area with only a tiny fraction used as the time indicator, so really good eyesight required for this one.
Always remember here, before designers get carried away, that the prerequisite for a watch is first and foremost – to tell the time. So to my mind these first two have not really managed to meet the brief.
Now I’m all for trying to indicate time in a different way, just for a change if nothing else, but making the time indicators either too small or hidden in some way doesn’t seem the right way to go about it.
(3) Next is the Xeric Soloscope, which is a tricky one and it also requires very good eyesight indeed to read. On this model and on the face of it, the Hours should be relatively easy to spot, being circled by that single hand BUT it’s only actually effective when directly over the Hour numeral as shown here (7). When it’s between Hours, say 15 minutes past the hour – Ah, then it’s very tricky indeed! Because the circle itself partly obscures the very thin index you’re trying to see and there’s no numeral to see. Each line of the index denotes 5 minutes by the way.
Soloscope – a tricky read indeed.
So basically this is an overly fancy single hand watch – and I’ve had them before, bought for the novelty, but which unfortunately I’ve always found in practice soon wears off – and I’ve sold every one of them on to some other novelty seeker.
I suppose if you’re OK with a vague approximation of the time, when someone asks – you’re answer is “Oh it’s after 7 sometime” – which maybe sounds OK, but if the inquirer is catching a plane – not so clever.
(4) Now this one is a little different. Not easy to see at first, but none of them are, but this one has purpose, as it caters for the visually impaired, so seeing it, is somewhat irrelevant.
Bradleys Classic Black Mesh
This is the Eone Bradley Classic Black Mesh with it’s inside, outside “silver balls” that you can feel with your fingers. The outer one on the edge of the case, indicates the Hour and the inner one, the Minutes (assuming a 12 hour clock dial). The dial is matte black and has raised markers and an strongly embossed diamond at 12, so it has a Braille touch style, which really does assist those with impaired vision. Obviously there is no glass/crystal here as the fingers can feel the raised numeral markers and the ball on the dial.
So this is a model that has genuine purpose in reading time in a different and very useful manner.
(5) OK this is the last one is probably the best one for me, because it’s relatively readable and is an older idea seen on quite a few vintage watches.
This is the
Klokers Klok 01-D1 Yellow Matte Black Leather – which is an update of the old disc watch, where Hour, Minute and Seconds discs move round a large dial and pass underneath a vertical fixed pointer which highlights the time.
Just read down vertically from the top – this one looks to me to be about 10.20 and almost 30 seconds, so can give quite an accurate time. Mind you to pick out the seconds it really has to be read. Personally I’d prefer the numbers to be in a heavier font with more contrast – but that might just be me.
A quick glance, however, should give you the 10:20 bit, which is probably accurate enough for most of us.
Also this watch is a “mobile” – which is evident as the discs rotate, but unlike hands, these rotate anti-clockwise, which is a bit odd when first seen. Also each disc rotates at a different speed!
So, OK, I accept it can be a little tricky at first to get your head round these odd movements, but once on board you suddenly get the picture. It’s also a decent full dial size at 44 mm diameter, which helps.
Personally this one has an attraction for me. And maybe I like it because it shows time actually passing, which can be quite fascinating. And this is because, as I said, the disks constantly revolve and at different speeds – as I say – fascinating.
Disc watches truly involve you in the process of time itself, and if you like mobiles it’s very much cheaper than a Tourbillon!
The only downside I’ve found with the odd disc watch I’ve owned is their timekeeping. The discs have to revolve smoothly and without touching an adjacent disk and depending on the quality of manufacture, play is sometimes unavoidable, so accuracy can suffer a little.
But if it’s a quartz model it has at least a good basis to start with, the mechanics are minimal and should still be accurate enough for most of us – just check it every fortnight, if the mechanics are not quite to the same standard.
So there we are, just a selection of unconventional watch dials, guaranteed to confuse the elderly 😉
Of course I jest. These are unusual watches and inject a bit of interest and sometimes humor into what can be a tedious procession of clocks and watches that can be quite boring at times.
And as I haven’t had a disc watch for many years, I could be tempted by the Klok – just for fun.
And it’s also sobering that if you can see time actually moving – you’re still here!