Seen from certain angles, the Apple Watch is pretty nerdy. But it can’t compete with the sheer geek power of the Binary Wristwatch, a wearable that needs its owner’s brain power in order to make sense.
As its name suggests, you won’t find big fat digital numbers or an elegant circular clockface here. The watch tells time in binary. There are two rows of LEDs. The top row displays either the hour or the month while the bottom row tells the minutes, seconds or day. Two buttons toggle between settings and are used to set the date and time.
There are two ways to build a binary watch; binary-coded decimal clocks have one column to represent each digit, while binary-coded sexagesimal clocks have a single column each for hours, minutes, and seconds. Generally, the later are harder to read quickly, even if you’re used to reading binary.
The Subsystems watch takes the more common decimal route, although either for space saving, or more probably power saving, reasons it drops off the last two columns representing the seconds.
“The first two green columns read the hour and the second two yellow columns read the minute. A press of the button displays the current time in binary for about 4 seconds. The watch will last for weeks on a charge.”
This obviously isn’t the first, nor will it be the last, binary watch I’ve seen. But it’s cute, and actually looks like it’d be at least moderately wearable, without looking like it came out of a factory production line somewhere.
There are many ways to tell time, and one of the more interesting methods that has found its way into the “hack-o-sphere” is using not a dial or decimal numbers, but via binary dots. After finding out about these timepieces, “APTechnologies” decided he wanted one for himself. Unfortunately — or perhaps fortunately — he wasn’t able to locate an existing design that he found both functional and stylish, so he decided to create his own from scratch.
His new wearable features an array of 16 APA102 RGB LEDs, allowing it to show the time in binary-coded decimal (BCD) where each column represents a digit in the “HH:MM” format. Although that seems like it’d be difficult at first, it’s reportedly “pretty easy once you get used to it.” It would also be great practice for rapid binary interpretation.
Different LED colors are used to indicate watch functions. Aside from being capable of displaying both time and date, it can act as an alarm and a stopwatch as well.
The geeky device is powered by a small LiPo battery, with an ATmega328P-AU chip for processing and an M41T62 RTC module implemented to keep accurate time. Electronics are laid out on a double-sided PCB, which is recessed slightly in the 3D-printed open watch face for protection. The custom face is compatible with standard straps and 18mm spring bars, giving it a ton of attachment options.