Binary Watch Looks Good

Nothing says tech addict quite like the wearing of a binary watch — and we say that as tech addicts ourselves. However, many of the homebrew binary watches we’ve seen don’t just look nerdy because they are showing the time in binary. They are nerdy because it looks like someone strapped an Arduino to their wrist. Not so with [APTechnologies] “Ultimate Binary Watch.”

While creating a binary clock is not amazing in of itself, we were highly impressed with the look of this watch. The 3D printed case and the use of surface mount LEDs makes a great looking package. We wondered how it would look with a colored plastic cover like you’d find over an old LED clock. On the other hand, the exposed LEDs do have a certain charm to them.

In addition to liking the aesthetics of the watch, we also liked the design process. The first order of business was defining the requirements:

  • Binary RGB interface
  • Time display (with very accurate timekeeping)
  • Date display
  • Stopwatch functionality
  • Alarm functionality
  • Long battery life
  • USB charging
  • Software easily customizable by the user
  • A clean and simple design

The PCB is in Altium Designer, which is a bit pricey. You might be able to open it in CircuitMaker, though which is a little easier to obtain.

We are more accustomed to watches that look like [Parker’s]. No offense — that watch was optimized for low cost and a fast turn around design, so it has its own, but different, kind of charm. If you are tired of binary watches, try building a smartwatch.

11 thoughts on “Binary Watch Looks Good

  1. I’ve always thought of hacking as taking an existing solution, and making it better. So my baseline would be a Casio 91W. In comparison, this is bigger, more expensive, obviously less readable, lower battery life, etc. In other words, this takes a perfectly fine and perfected solution, and makes it much worse in every possible aspect. For that reason, I always fail to comprehend why people keep on doing it (binary watches in particular, but not limited to). You might say “because I can”, but then you can also jump off a bridge, and you’re not doing it.
    But if that’s your cup of tea, how about adding names/phone numbers memo function; that’s something else that would be totally unusable in binary, so according to the underlying logic, extra nerdy points. And/or make it ring every 42 hours the Dr Who theme and do not allow to turn it off.

    1. You’re solely limiting your judgement to the functionality of this watch, and that makes me believe you’re missing the point of it in first place. Ever noticed how there are a crap load of extremely expensive designer watches out there? Do you honestly believe their price tag comes solely from their functionality and material? Of course not, in many functional aspects, a cheap Casio F91w is superior to a 10 000$ Rolex. The difference lies solely in subjective values. How one perceives its looks, its brand, its “feel” etc. For the same reasons one might subjectively find it “cool” or aesthetic pleasing to wear a binary watch.
      Another thing to take into account is that some people don’t need the extra functionality. Believe it or not, some people purchase a watch just to know the time, and not to use is as a complementary phone, voice assistant and your personal privacy invader or whatever all those bloated smartwatches are aiming for these days.

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