The Numitron Geekwatch


[Johannes] wanted to develop an unusual way to display time on a custom wristwatch. LED’s were too common, and mechanical indicators with small engines were too expansive, but Nixie tubes were just right. His design for the Numitron Geekwatch utilized two boards that were soldered together at a right angle, with a 3D printed enclosure made of semi-transparent PLA.

Future designs of this will improve on the button functionality as well as the housing of the wristwatch to protect the fragile tubes from external forces.

After the break is a video (in German) with [Johannes] going through the steps needed to make one of these of your very own:


This watch contains a vacuum with some filaments, not a gas. There is a difference between numitrons and nixie tubes, which has been stated in the comments below.


  1. jcwren says:

    Numitrons are not nixie tubes. Numitrons are filaments, and there’s a vacuum, not a gas.

  2. zaprodk says:

    HAD fail!
    As [jcwren] wrote, numitron-tubes are incandescent devices, not neon-filled gas-discharge. FFS read the article, before blabbering about a lot of nonsense. Also, taking most of the text from here without mentioning the source, is bad practice.

  3. asi says:

    You think you are cool and geeky, meanwhile everyone around thinks you have a mild autism.

  4. haddyhad says:

    At first I thought those were 2 USB ports

  5. vonskippy says:

    A watch so incredibly ugly even that guy’s mom is rolling on the floor laughing.

    • Greenaum says:

      Yeah but stick it in a matt black case, reduce the height quite a bit, replace the bloody awful PLA with a thin metal casing, etc… and it’d be a very nifty looking watch. Would be nice to have the Numitrons slightly proud of the casing, rather than deeply recessed among so much empty space. If he wants to use plastic there’s plenty of potential to make it tighter, since he has access to a 3D printer.

      I think Johannes was concentrating more on getting the electrics working first, maybe he’ll tackle the aesthetics later. He can still say he’s got a Numitron watch and you haven’t!

  6. Anyone have pics or vid of it actually working?
    I’ve seen Nixie tube watches (such as the one the Woz showed off in 2009), but they always have a separate filament for each number (0-9) in each tube. This one appears to only have two vertical filaments in each tube.

  7. Technoshaman says:

    I’m sorry, but small 3D printed parts are ugly, even uglier in contrast with leather. I’d rather go for wood with this.

  8. Telek says:

    Cool hack, but if you’re going to zoom all the way in with your camera try not to move your hands (and the parts you’re trying to show) so much :-P

  9. Hirudinea says:

    Nice, but it sounds like he’s speaking a whole nother language! It would look better with a totally clear case though, show off all that geek goodness.

  10. Eddy Robinson says:

    Expansive? Yes… sometimes I wish my analogue (ticking) watch would just shut up and stop yapping :)

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