Over the last six weeks I've been wearing the E Ink watch from Phosphor and it's funny; people comment on how nice it looks and different it is, but just can't put their finger on what makes it different to watches they've seen in the past.
Of course, when you tell them it's the curved design of the watch verses your typical flat design, it suddenly clicks and the comments are generally followed with a, "that's cool", and "how come we're only seeing this now?"
Well, the answer to that question is easy; E Ink. You've probably heard about it over the last few years in the context of e-Book readers. I suppose it was only a matter of time 'till some smart cookie figured out that we could do more exciting things than read books with the technology. If you really want to get into the science of the technology, the Phosphor website has quite a good little piece on it here.
Enter Phosphor who have created a large line-up of E Ink watches and are essentially bringing back the digital watch in a style that's cool. The World Time Curved E-Ink Watch carries with it a nice little feature set when you run through the list of what's on offer.
We've got the ability to show two time zones on the face, while also giving you the ability to show the date of both those time zones. We've got water resistance up to 50m and some sleek looking dimensions that bring the thickness of the display in at just 5mm.
The "digital" like nature of the watch means that you've got a bunch of options when it comes to what you see. With a single click of a button you're able to switch between time of day + world time, time of day + calendar, time of day large, time of day small, and world time. At the same time, you're able to move from a black text white background to a white text black background as well. Which option is better? To be honest, it just kind of depends on the mood; both look great, but the latter option is something a little different which is nice.
Phosphor has put together a really nice sleek looking package that doesn't venture far from your typical watch case.
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Inside, the highlight is of course the watch itself and apart from that we just have a little manual that's worth the quick read.
Consisting of a single button that rocks left and right to offer two options, we're able to setup our local time and international time zone with ease. Not every city is present, but every time zome from -11 to +12 is. If you know what your time zone is then you can see in the manual which ones it lines up with. For example; Perth, Australia is +8, so I would use Hong Kong or HKG as it's shown. If I wanted to set the other world time to US pacific time of -8, I would select Los Angeles or LAX as it's displayed.
The World Time Curved E Ink Watch in a word is quite simplistic to the eye and it's that which makes the watch look elegant and different. Priced at $165 US for the leather band version, it's actually a very good price for what you get. If you're not a fan of the leather band, for an extra $30 US Phosphor offer a stainless steel band and depending what you're used to, you'll find one option better than the other.
Outside of all these little tid bits, one of the great things about E Ink technology is its little demand on power. Anyone who owns an e-Reader knows that battery life is fantastic and here you should see more battery life than your typical watch.
Considering we're now seeing color in E Ink, you have to think that the sky's the limit for a company like Phosphor and while the technology side of the E Ink watch might fall under the "geeky" category, the watch itself doesn't carry that stigma. Place it in a pile of more traditional watches and you have something that stands out for all the right reasons.
In the end, though, I think Phosphor themselves put it best on their blog when the curved nature of the watch was voted the best feature. Ultimately, your wrist doesn't have a flat spot on top and the curved nature of the display is not only what makes it look good, but also extremely comfortable.
This is a really nice time piece and it's going to appeal to people who like the elegant look. What Phosphor has done is make a digital watch look classy, because for the most part, traditional digital watches went out in the '80s. I think the only thing stopping 50 Cent wearing one is a few carats of diamonds in the band.