Dick Tracy your watch is ready

The Pebble E-Paper Watch. Programmable e-paper display, apps, and smartphone integration via Bluetooth.

So for instance when the phone rings in your pocket you see the caller ID on your watch. For Android phones the Pebble displays incoming text messages. Working with the phone’s GPS it can do things like show distance run/cycled.

At first I thought the 7 day battery life was a bummer, considering that watch batteries last for years. But that’s thinking of it from the watch side of things. Coming at it from the perspective of the target audience of smartphone users, only having to charge the Pebble every 7 days is pretty good. For everyone who doesn’t wear a watch because they carry a phone, this is a reason to wear a watch again.

Polarization, LCD Watches, and Negative Displays

So I knew that LCDs used polarizers. When I wear polarized sunglasses and have to sign the little debit card readers the LCD looks black. The two polarizers are at 90 degrees to each other, so no light gets through. I have to turn my head slightly to read the LCD.

Most LCD watches have what are called positive displays – black numbers on a gray background. There are also negative displays – gray numbers on a black background.

I didn’t realize that the only difference between the two was the polarizer orientation. I discovered that thanks to Brian Green’s tutorial at Watchuseek.com on how to convert a Casio watch from a positive display to a negative display. Neat.

Casio converted from positive to negative LCD displayc

With all this watchblogging I actually bought a watch – a Black Monster

Seiko SKX 779K Black Monster

This one – the Seiko SKX779K AKA the Black Monster.

Automatic movement. ISO dive rated to 200m with a screwdown crown at 4 o’clock. Stainless bracelet with a diver’s extension. 120 click unidirectional bezel. Badass, stupidly overbuilt stainless steel construction with a high polish. Crazy strong glow in the dark lume. Funky chunky design with a thicker bezel and a smaller face that doesn’t owe jack to Rolex or Omega. All at a price that makes the old boys at the yacht club drop their monocles into their champagne glasses.

It should be here this weekend. Review and links after I’ve worn it a while.

FWIW, this generation is being discontinued. The new Monsters are coming out some time between now and Q4 with a new face and a new movement that supports hacking and hand-winding. From the small, fuzzy pics that have been leaked I think I actually like the new face better, but I wanted the watch right now. Besides, Seiko may use the model as an excuse to raise the price and I can always flip this one. Meanwhile I’ve got a whole summer to enjoy this thing.

Or heck, if I like this I can keep it and buy one of the new ones in another color, like an Orange Monster or a Snow Monster or one of the these variations if I can squeeze one out of Southeast Asia.

Before then I’m going to play around with some different bands and straps. This watch looks like a whole bunch of fun.

PreviouslyWhat does the water resistance rating on watches mean?

What does the water resistance rating on watches mean?

Short answer: not at all what you’d think. From the Amazon watch forum FAQ:

Water resistance.

First, bear in mind that the meters/feet of water resistance on a watch have nothing to do with being able to swim with the watch in that depth of water. That would make sense, but that’s not the way it works. Instead, this is my personal rule of thumb. Some people go a bit stricter, or a bit looser, but this works for me.

  • No water resistance: Don’t get it wet. I mean it. It will stop working.
  • Water Resistant (no rating) / 30 meters / 100 feet / 3 ATM: Splash-resistant. Suitable for washing the dishes. Don’t immerse in water.
  • 50 meters / 165 feet / 5 ATM: Immersion-resistant. Okay to stick your hand in the bathtub while bathing your kids. Not suitable for swimming.
  • 100 meters / 330 feet / 10 ATM: Suitable for swimming. Not suitable for equipment-assisted diving.
  • 200 meters / 660 feet / 20 ATM: Generally suitable for diving.

Another take, from Wikipedia:

Water resistance rating Suitability Remarks
Water Resistant or 50 m Suitable for swimming, no snorkeling water related work, and fishing. NOT suitable for diving.
Water Resistant 100 m Suitable for recreational surfing, swimming, snorkeling, sailing and water sports. NOT suitable for diving.
Water Resistant 200 m Suitable for professional marine activity and serious surface water sports. NOT suitable for diving.
Diver’s 100 m Minimum ISO standard (ISO 6425) for scuba diving at depths NOT suitable for saturation diving. Diver’s 100 m and 150 m watches are generally old(er) watches.
Diver’s 200 m or 300 m Suitable for scuba diving at depths NOT suitable for saturation diving. Typical ratings for contemporary diver’s watches.
Diver’s 300+ m for mixed-gas diving Suitable for saturation diving (helium enriched environment). Watches designed for mixed-gas diving will have the DIVER WATCH L M FOR MIXED-GAS DIVING additional marking to point this out.

Note: The depth specified on the watch dial or case represents the results of tests done in the lab, not in the ocean.[25]

Some watches are rated in bars instead of meters. Since 1 bar is the approximately the pressure exerted by 10 m of water, a rating in bars may be multiplied by 10 to be approximately equal to that based on meters. Therefore, a 20 bar watch is equivalent to a 200 meter watch. Some watches are rated in atmospheres (atm), which are about 1% greater than bars. In the United Kingdom, scuba divers and others often use the word atmosphere interchangeably with bar (1 atm = 1.01325 bar, or 101,325 Pa).

Also: How A Pressure Chamber Works To Test For Water Resistance

Previously –  Ask for the Time, Find out How a Watch Works