Let’s face it, thanks to cellphones and iPods, wrist watches have, for many, been relegated to the role of fashion accessory. Sure, they still tell time the way they always have but almost all of us have a cellphone with us constantly and even the most rudimentary phone has a clock built into it. The result? For many of us watches are jewelry. That does not, however, mean watches can’t be bold, interesting and desirable. They can be and, with their line of E Ink watches, PHOSPHOR is out to show just how big, bold and technologically savvy a watch can be. That’s right, PHOSPHOR’s watches use the same e Ink technology found in the Amazon Kindle for their display. The result is pretty darn cool.
Let’s take a look.
A jet setter’s dream come true.
The new World Time Curved E Ink digital watch offers the ability to select from 24 time zones for one display mode, while optionally displaying a second time zone simultaneously . The dual time zone display can also be configured to simply display the time of day or both the date and time in either over-sized or conventional-sized segments.
These unique capabilities are packaged in a sleek, ultra-thin, curved case only 9.3mm thick. Incredibly versatile, the new World Time gives you an assortment of different functions and display modes. Stay ahead of the curve with the new ultra-thin World Time watch today
Case width: 35.0mm
Edge thickness: 5.0mm
Overall case thickness: 9.3mm
Water resistance: 5 ATM – 50m
Display: 12 hour large; 24 hour small
The PHOSPHOR World Time Curved E Ink Watch with Black Polyurethane Band, in fact the entire line, is a rather odd beast. On the one hand by using E Ink technology for their display the watches employ some rather unusual, current, technology. The result is a cutting-edge gadget. On the other hand, the watches in this collection go “old-school” by offering only the most basic of features.
When trying to size up this watch I kept flashing back to my childhood.
It was the early ’70s and we were on vacation in the Caribbean. We hung out on the beach in front of a villa that was being rented by none other than Elton John. One day we got to talking to him and one of us commented on the cool new digital watches that had just been released. They not only told time and gave the date but they also had a calculator built-in along with a host of other features. This was the early ’70s and such things were mind-blowing at the time. Sir Elton smiled and said, “Oh yeah, I picked up two of those before coming down here.” With that he let us take a look at one.
Those watches were mini-computers… and that was almost 40 years ago. Fast forward to 2010 and the idea of a calculator built into a watch is no big deal. Watches can easily be computers today. These watches from PHOSPHOR, however, are… watches. They tell time and provide the date. In addition they… no… that’s it… these watches tell time and provide the date. That’s not a bad thing mind you but I found the juxtaposition between new E Ink technology and old-fashion simplicity striking.
The watch is big and bold. There is one button on it that sits directly beneath the E Ink display. It works fine for settings the functions you need to set but it is less intuitive than other gadgets I have tried so you will definitely want to read the manual before you start using the watch.
The band on the loaner unit that was sent for review was made from black polyurethane and was highly adjustable. As the company makes clear-
Please note that the band is integrated with the World Time watch case and is non-replaceable.
The company also offers watches with white polyurethane, leather and metal bands. The watch itself is on the large side but is thin and curved. The result is that, despite its size, the watch is rather comfortable to wear.
As noted previously, the watch offers a limited number of functions but it does provide some variety that can be useful for anyone who travels a great deal.
User Selectable Display Modes:
Time of Day + World Time
Time of Day + Calendar
Time of Day Large
Time of Day Small
World Time (allows you to see the time in 24 different, pre-selected cities.)
This is a nice clean mode that offers just the time. As you can see the numbers are large and easy to read. At any time you can choose to invert the screen of the watch as well. Instead of the white background with black text as seen below it’ll change to a black background with white text.
Or you can set it to the mode that offers a good deal of information (although no calculator).
And because this watch is intended for those who travel or do business with those in other parts of the word it lets you set two different times zones.
I’m a bit mixed on this watch and need to offer my conclusion in a number of parts.
On the one hand- the watch is well-made, does what it promises and has a definite cool factor. I had no complaints with the design, the construction or the functionality. The E Ink display is pretty darn cool in and of itself and it makes the watch easy to read, even in bright sunlight. As an added bonus it DOES grab attention. When I was wearing it one day two of my students saw it and said, “Woa! WHAT is that!?!?!?”
If you are looking to make a statement this watch is a good choice.
On the other hand- I am one of those people who is quite happy using my iPhone as my clock. It is always with me and offers a ton of different functions. The result is that even the Movado and Tag watches that Elana got me when we were first together spend the majority of their time in a drawer. For me to actually wear a watch at this point it has to offer something different. Something like, say, 8 or 16GB of music the way the iPod nano will…
This watch is big (for me it bordered on too big) and offers limited functionality. If you want something that makes a bold statement and tells time it, or one of the watches in the collection, is worth a look. If a wrist watch is a fashion accessory for you this watch, or one from the collection, is worth a look. That isn’t the case for me and I wasn’t unhappy about sending it back after the review. That isn’t a statement about the watch per se, however. Rather, it is a statement about the entire concept of wrist watches in an “iPhone/cellphone ubiquitous-world”.
The PHOSPHOR World Time Curved E Ink Watch with Black Polyurethane Band is available directly from PHOSPHOR with E Ink watches ranging in price from $150 to $195.
What I Like: Big, bold, makes a statement; well made; delivers what it promises; cool use of E Ink technology
What Needs Improvement: Offers limited functionality; one-button control takes come getting used to