Easy Bubble Watch Oozes Retro Charm

[Rafael] made a sweet little retro watch that’s a fantastic introduction to hardware DIY. If you’ve programmed an Arduino before, but you’ve never had a board made, and you are up for some SMD soldering, this might be for you. It’s got some small components, so ease off the coffee before soldering, but it’s nothing that you won’t be able to do. In the end, you’ll have something awesome.

Aesthetically, the centerpiece is the bubble display, which reminds us of the old HP calculator that our parents kept in the junk drawer, long after it had ceased to be relevant. It would return 3.9999999 for the square-root of 16, but we loved to play with it anyway. This watch will let you vicariously reclaim our childhood.

But that’s not all! It’s also an Arduino and RTC clock. Functions that are already implemented include clock, calendar, stopwatch, and “temperature”. (Temperature is from the AVR’s internal thermometer, which isn’t super-accurate and is probably just going to tell you how hot your wrist is anyway…) It’s got buttons, and tons of free flash space left over. It’s begging to be customized. You know what to do.

It’s not a smart watch, but it’s a great project. “The nostalgic retro bubble display is certain to flatter any hacker’s outfit.” Or something. OK, but we want one.

[via OSHpark’s Hackaday.io feed]

26 thoughts on “Easy Bubble Watch Oozes Retro Charm

  1. Wow ! This is crazy ! I never expected to be featured here on my second project !
    I’m already working on V2 based on the Adafruit Feather, with Micro USB charging and programming, but with even smaller components like 0603s and QFNs to test my hot air reflow skills. Check back on the GitHub repo soon to see it !

      1. I had a quick look around – the DS3231 has two versions, one with an internal quartz oscillator, and one with an internal MEMS oscillator. The budgetary pricing (1000k units) from Maxim is $3.54 for the mems and $3.85 for the quartz version. Expensive, but I can see applications where you need the space/want a simple solution/need the accuracy.

  2. Nice job, Rafael. I remember when those magnified bubble LED’s were all we mere mortals could afford. At one point I recall pricing half-inch non-magnified seven segment LED’s like the ones in the newer instruments in my father’s lab and they sere something like seven dollars each. For one digit. IN 1978.

      1. Electronics was just a hobby for me at the beginning and it was one of the most expensive hobbies you could have. Even racing motocross with the expense of motorcycles, equipment and the traveling up to 2000 km for some annual events was less expensive.

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