back to article LEDs replace hands in bonkers Japanese watches

These watches may look as though they’re from a future era, but the LED-based timepieces could be just the thing to adorn your wrist and compliment your I-LUV-UNIX T-shirt. 12_5_9_rangev1 Do you know what time it is? Japanese firm Tokyo Flash has been selling an extensive range of LED watches locally for some time, but it …


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  1. Adrian Jackson
    Thumb Down

    Not for the I-LUV-UNIX crowd

    These aren't anywhere near as good as the binary watches that have been available for years from other sources (Google turns up as a suitable example). And it isn't an oversized monstrosity, either, which is nice.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    "I have a thing on my wrist. Sometimes it allows me to guess what time it is, or laboriously count. But the black one is just a random dot pattern in any but decent light. Look at the priddy lights!"

    Ergonomics. They've heard of it.

  3. Matt Hamilton

    Great, but still don't tell you the most useful thing...

    The most useful thing that an analogue clock tells you and what *most* people want to know, is not how long *past* the hour it is, but how long *to* the next hour. ie. if you look at an analogue clock you can at a glance see how long you have until lunch/meeting/home/etc. With a digital watch you have to mentally work out how long you have.

    I guess this goes back to looking at *why* people want to know the time. In most cases the fact is is 16:33 is not an answer unto itself, but really most people are asking a question eg. 'how long until X?' or 'how long since Y?' These questions are so much easier to answer looking at an analog face, and also allow the user to gain an arbitrary amount of precision as required ie 'roughly half an hour until lunch'.

    But I have to say, those watches do have a certain geeky cool factor to them :D


  4. kevin king
    Thumb Up

    Get yourself to storm watch

    i think the Reg staff need to get themselves to Storm Watches as they have had watches of much the same design for about a year,

    See for my love Storm Circuit with LED display

  5. Len Goddard

    Digital watchies

    "Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.

    Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea."

    We don't seem to have made much progress since the late lamented Douglas Adams penned those immortal lines

  6. Tom

    For a geeky watch go all the way

    If your going to get a watch with a bunch of LEDs on it you might as well go all the way and get a binary one. They are kind of expensive for a gimmick watch though.

  7. Silas Humphreys

    None of them are what I want.

    For the moment, the 1964-vintage self-winder I inherited does the job very nicely... but if someone wants to sell me a new watch, here are the requirements:

    - Digital readout, preferably including date (in a perpetual style, taking account of leap years properly)

    - Runs entirely on mechanical clockwork

    As far as I'm aware, no such watch exists. If it did, I'd buy one. It's almost certainly possible to achieve...

  8. Anonymous John

    "and compliment your I-LUV-UNIX T-shirt"

    Hello T-shirt. You're looking well this morning. You've even been ironed.

  9. Chris Miller

    Mine's bigger than yours

    And for the Breitling fans out there who simply have to have the largest example of this technique for telling the time, we proudly present the Dusseldorf Rhine Tower at 240.5m:

  10. Anonymous John

    "and compliment your I-LUV-UNIX T-shirt"

    Hello T-shirt. You're looking well this morning. Well ironed.

  11. Murdi

    I lurve mine

    I got one of their watches about 9 months ago and it's the best thing since sliced geek. I was able to tell the time at a glance after about 2 days and I no longer have people trying to read the time over my shoulder. That said it is so unsubtle I have to explain it (alot) but I care not as I am a vanity case anyways.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does it drive you up the wall?

    I don't wear a watch. Haven't done for a long time.

    If you are sitting at a PC, there's a clock on the bottom right of it. Which is likely to show the exact time, provided you have timesync switched on.

    If you're not sitting at a PC, there's probably a clock on the wall. Which is also likely to show the exact time, provided you insist on allowing only MSF clocks in the building -- as everybody should.

    If you're not near a wall with a clock, then there's always the mobile phone in the pocket. Which probably doesn't show the correct time (how did somebody manage to devise a digital network that doesn't transmit time sync information?) but as long as you can remember its two minutes slow or fast it will probably do the job when you need it.

    So probably it doesn't matter whether you know how to tell the time by your newfangled contraption because you probably only need it for decoration anyway.

  13. Phil Endecott

    The real geek has...

    ....a Nixie Tube watch:

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    @Matt Hamilton...

    Yes, exactly. Most of the time, I don't glance at my analog watch to get the time. I can't even tell you what time it is if you ask, I have to check the watch again to get the exact time.

    I don't consciously look for the minute hand, but a quick glance tells me where it is; 1st quarter, 2nd quarter, 3rd quarter or 4th quarter. That is enough to tell me I've got 45 minutes, 30 minutes, 15 minutes left before the hour. There's no point in breaking my train of thought to calculate that I've got exactly 38 minutes left... knowing I've got more than 30 minutes is good enough.

  15. Jasper

    Silas Humphreys

    there are plenty of mechanical digital watches.

    Do a search for jumping hour, or digital jumping hour, and you should see some examples..

  16. Stu

    So are they totally retro?

    ...I mean do you still have to press a button for the 'display' (if u can call it that) to light up?

    I would imagine, given that watches are pretty good for upwards of a decade or more nowadays on one set of batteries, these suckers might not last as long if they're lit all the time. Watch LCD screens operate on micro-amps (ultimately watts) or even pico-amps. LEDs dont.

    And if they'd ever get round to releasing a proper consumer level e-Ink watch (dont quote me that Seiko gimmick rip off) energy requirements would be even less.

    These would be pretty good for telling time in the pitch black though. I'm wearing a Next digital watch and the backlight on them are bloody awful, dim as anything.

    @Matt - Quote - "With a digital watch you have to mentally work out how long you have." Well it kind of happens automatically once you wear one for a while. Subtraction from 30 or 60 isn't really brain bending and just 'happens' in my brain if needed.

    Either way, geeky cool is a phrase I don't think I've heard before!! I just thought they were downright geeky.

  17. Anonymous John

    Re "and compliment your I-LUV-UNIX T-shirt"

    Odd. The first one was apparently rejected due to an invalid email address/password, and I edited it before trying again.

  18. Greg

    My binary watch is better

    Even better than the standard one, too, because I got that stupid leather strap replaced with a metal one. It's funny watching people get confused, or when they say "your watch is broken."

  19. Voice of reason

    Just don't...

    ... turn up at a US airport with one.

    You'll be lucky not to get shot.

  20. Andy Taylor

    Pretty, but not as good as my Swatch

    I have the ultimate geek watch - it has black hands and black numbers on a black background.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Analog watches

    @Matt Hamilton & anon...

    I see, that explains why I always find time data printed as small pictures of analog watches instead of numbers. Who are you kidding... How do you tell how long to the bus at 16.37 -- or even if you not too late already -- *without* performing an analog/number conversion?

    I can only wish you this analog watch like interfaces on all other measurement devices you use. Indeed, wouldn't tape measures or thermometers be better with a round display and three hands showing the value in mixed 60 and 24 base? And for extra fun not distinguishing between some values? Hm, on second thought, given their liking for perverse measurement systems, British and Americans might actually like this...

  22. Paul

    Sinclair Black Watch?

    Now one of those would be a statement of true alpha-retro-geekdom, assuming you could find one that still worked, and get it adjusted to run at the right rate before the batteries died and you had to start over. :)

  23. oldfartuk

    Confuscius say........

    Man with two watches is never sure what the time really is.

  24. Adrian Esdaile

    Just do what Eccles did...

    ...and carry around a piece of paper with "Eight O'clock" written on it. You'll always know what time it is, and it will always be right!

  25. Paul Norton

    Geek toys

    Not wanting to upset the good folks at "Cash n Carrion"

    but my favorite place for such kit is

    Particularly stuff like their clock that shows the time on LEDs in binary coded decimal:

  26. AndyB

    Watches for the I-Luv-Vista crowd

  27. Alan Davies

    @ Adrian Esdaile

    Well, you'll be correct twice a day, you just won't know when! To coin a phrase,

    "Even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day."

  28. Rich

    I dont wear one

    Arrrrgh Harrrrgh! I've never been a watch person. I work at a computer all day or im on my mobile both of which have one. Vista and Leopard seem to think we need something fancy on screen as well, I think people are time mad! When im on a night out i couldnt care less what time it is as long as im having a good time.

    If electricity and batteries suddenly die off I wouldnt give a rats arse about what time it is.

  29. Adam Capps

    The only watch I need is

    The fully endorssed Knight Rider Watch - going cheap on ebay - currently £72 but it's the watch that Michael Knight used AND has the Knight Rider theme tune - what's cooler than that?!

  30. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Re: Does it drive you up the wall?

    "how did somebody manage to devise a digital network that doesn't transmit time sync information?"

    I think we're on to our third or fourth generation of digital network with this failing. And *every* mobile phone that I've ever seen displays the (wrong) time as part of its default desktop. It's like all the network providers got together with all the handset designers and conspired to put a big notice saying "WE'RE CRAP" on the front the product.

    Stunning. Simply stunning.

  31. Des

    @None of them are what I want

    Not exactly what you're after, but Seiko do a Kinetic watch with perpetual calendar only lacking the digital display.

  32. Tim Greening-Jackson

    Which reminds me...

    ...of a tee-shirt I once saw, which bore the legend

    "There are 10 types of people. Those who understand binary; and those who don't"

  33. Greg

    @Voice of reason

    Turning up to an airport with one? It's funny you should mention that...

    Mine nearly got me shot. I use a rucksack to carry things, and on holiday it's always jammed full of electronics - music player, speakers, etc. (This was after 11/9, before the July 7th incident. It always gets stopped and searched at X-ray machines. I'm used to it. What I wasn't used to was my new binary watch, which I suddenly discovered is somehow sensitive to metal detectors. As my bag full of kit was being searched, along with my Nondescript Inc. power transformer (a large, white, plastic cylinder with a wire sticking out of it), I walked through the metal detector, and my bloody watch - a metal-enclosed circuit board strapped to my wrist - LIT UP!

    The very large man with the very large SMG stood on the other side of the checkpoint looked at my bag, looked at my wrist, decided that one was a trigger for the other, and shoved a gun in my face.


    Good times!

  34. Richard

    Go see and buy the original and best @ ... okay so you pay some import tax and a ridiculous £13.50 for Parcelforce to handle the customs clearance but you get geeky gadgety watches which are superbly made.

    I got the binary watch a couple of years ago and its fun but I recently bought the Tokyoflash Shinshoku which to my mind looks like a Blakes7 teleport wristband and is surprisingly easy to read.

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