Wrist Candy for Nerds
Thanks to the ubiquitous cell phone, practically nobody wears a watch to keep track of time anymore. But that doesn't mean you can't still wear a watch to show how fashionably nerdy you are.
Geeky watches are making a comeback. For an example of what might be the latest summer fashion trend, you need look no further than the phenomenal success of InPulse's Pebble smartwatch. Pebble is the Kickstarter success story you may have heard about in the news; it drew a record $7.8 million in funding from backers.
Other geek watches that have made news recently are Sony's SmartWatch and a rumored Apple iWatch that could surface this month. We've collected 20 geeky watches for this slideshow; some are high-tech, some are sexy and stylish, and some are just plain nerdy.
Phosphor Curved E-Ink World Time Watch
The Phosphor Curved E-Ink World Time watch looks like a typical digital watch with a retro-style LED display, except that the display isn't LED--it's E-Ink, the same funky technology that the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook use. The Phosphor's E-Ink face allows you to change the look completely (since the E-Ink is flexible), but you also get high-contrast readability and excellent battery life.
Phosphor | $130
At first glance, this watch looks like a stylish, stainless steel bracelet. But press a small button on the side and disguised red LEDs will light up between the links to display the time. Press another button, and you get the date.
Hammacher Schlemmer | $130
iWatchz Elemental iPod Nano Watch
iPod Nano owners can turn their fifth-generation Nanos into cool, high-tech watches with the iWatchz Elemental Collection wristband. This polished stainless-steel band securely attaches to your Nano via the Nano's built-in clip.
iWatchz | $90
LED Binary Watch
You may have heard the old joke--there are only ten types of people in the world: those who know binary, and those who don't. Well, use this LED Binary Watch from ThinkGeek to see whether those jokesters really do know what they're talking about. The watch has ten blue LEDs that indicate the binary sequence (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32), and you add up the lit LEDs to determine the time. The numbers are labeled, however, which makes it a little easier.
ThinkGeek | $55
Yamanote Line Train Station Watch
This watch will please railfans and Japan fans alike. It's designed to look exactly like a platform signboard from Tokyo's iconic train line, the Yamanote line. The watch features an OLED screen that displays both the time and an arrival announcement for the next train (so it looks as though the next train is coming at whatever time it is).
Japan Trend Shop | $233
The Mutewatch is sleek, simple, and oh-so-modern. It features a touchscreen--tap the surface to see the time, and then swipe across to see other functions such as clock, alarm, and timer. You can set an alarm by tapping directly on the digits, and you can erase one by pinching the touchscreen. The Mutewatch also has a built-in motion sensor that enables it to increase the intensity of the vibrating alarm if it senses high levels of movement.
Mutewatch | $259
Caller ID Watch
Sick of having to take your phone out of your pocket just to see who's calling you? Pick up this caller ID watch, and you'll never have to look at your phone again (unless, of course, you actually want to use it). This Bluetooth watch vibrates when you receive a call, shows you who's calling, and lets you mute your phone with the press of a button. It can also vibrate for text messages on certain phones.
ThinkGeek | $80
Kisai Kaidoku LCD Watch
This cool watch displays the time using words instead of numbers. Sure, it looks complicated when you first see it, but it's actually quite easy: When you press a button, several words flash on the screen. Read the words in order, and you have the time (same goes for the date).
TokyoFlash | $129
Click Switch Watch
The models in Click's line of Switch watches invite you to return to the "glory days" of electronics--back when circuit boards had dip switches and turn switches. These watches have old-school circuitboard faces, as well as mechanical switches that activate different functions (date, day of week, time, and so on) when flicked and turned.
Watchismo | $100
R2-D2 Remote Control Whizz Watch
Okay, so this isn't the most high-tech watch of the bunch, but it's still awesome--because it comes with a miniature remote-controlled R2-D2 figure. The watch acts as the remote control, with two buttons for moving your R2-D2 around.
Amazon | $49
Finally--a high-end, high-tech watch designed by Jorg Hysek Jr. of Hysek. The HD3 Slyde is a polished, Swiss touchscreen watch that makes the iPod Nano watch look like a joke. The Slyde features a number of gorgeous watch-dial screens that you can swipe to change, as well as other watch-related screens (including chronograph, calendar, and moon phase indicator). The Slyde comes in multiple finishes, but will set you back a bit--the base model starts at $5000.
Select retailers | $5000+
Sony Ericsson LiveView
Kisai RPM LED Watch
The Kisai RPM LED watch has a cool, futuristic design. The watch has a smooth stainless steel disc at the center of its face, with two LED-lighted rings around the edge. The inner ring indicates hours, and the outer ring indicates minutes in groups of five (the top five small dots represent individual minutes).
TokyoFlash | $199
Ibiza Ride Watch
Here's another watch that's difficult for the untrained eye to read. The Ibiza Ride Watch has 29 small LEDs that light up to show the time and date. The first column indicates hour, the second column indicates tens of minutes, and the third column indicates single minutes.
Watchismo | $189
SleepTracker Elite Sleep Monitoring Watch
Banish bad mornings with SleepTracker's Elite sleep-monitoring watch. This watch uses SleepTracker's SmartStart Technology to analyze your sleep throughout the night and then wake you up at your "True Optimum Time." According to the company, the SleepTracker Elite is unlike other products, which supposedly just wake you up when they detect movement.
SleepTracker | $149
Plessey EPIC Heart Monitor Wristwatch
Plessey Semiconductors has designed a small wristwatch-size heart rate monitor based on its EPIC sensor technology. This isn't really a watch at all--it's a heart-rate monitor that records electrocardiograph (ECG) signals when you touch the top electrode with your finger. Plessey has also designed a version that will will strap around the upper arm and provide continuous heart-rate monitoring.
Here's another funky watch that uses words instead of numbers to display time. The Qlocktwo W, designed by Biegert & Funk, features a 110-letter grid that lights up in unexpected places to describe--yes, "describe"--the time. For example, if it's 12:30, your watch may say "It is half past twelve." The Qlocktwo W comes in English and German versions.
Available in Fall 2012
Sony's Android-powered, Bluetooth-enabled SmartWatch is the company's update to the LiveView (or, something like that). This tiny, Nano-like watch lets users read text messages, email messages, and status updates, and (of course) see who's calling. The watch connects to Google Play, where you can download additional apps.
Sony | $150
It looks as though people are really into this smartwatch idea--startup Allerta recently raised over $6.7 million on Kickstarter for its Pebble watch project. The Pebble will be a customizable, iOS- and Android-compatible, e-paper watch, complete with additional displays and apps for download. It will enable users to check email, incoming calls, calendar alerts, status updates, and weather, among other things.
inPulse | $99+