Bathys Hawaii unveils atomic wristwatch


October 4, 2013

Bathys Hawaii's Cesium 133 atomic watch – a smaller model is on its way

Bathys Hawaii's Cesium 133 atomic watch – a smaller model is on its way

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With all the fuss over the recent influx of do-everything smartwatches, you would think that a new wristwatch that simply displays the time on an analog face wouldn't cause much of a stir. However, when that watch is described as "atomic" and is claimed to be "the world's most accurate wristwatch," people perk up and take notice. Kauai-based Bathys Hawaii Watch Company has just revealed its first prototype of such a watch, known as the Cesium 133.

There are already plenty of so-called "atomic watches" available, which maintain accuracy via a radio signal received from a central atomic clock. The Cesium 133, by contrast, has its own miniaturized version of such a clock built right in.

"Within a single chip there is a laser, a heater, a sealed cavity of cesium gas, a microwave filter and a photodiode detector," explains Bathys Hawaii founder Dr. John Patterson, who designed the watch with engineer George Talbot. "Using the same principle of counting hyperfine lines of excited cesium 133 atoms used by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), our watch is able to achieve unprecedented levels of accuracy; on the order of one second per thousand years."

As can be seen, the current prototype is pretty big. It uses regular lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, and only runs for a few hours per charge. Plans call for a reduction in size and an increase in battery life, however, with hopes for a limited commercial run of 20 US-designed/Swiss-made watches sometime next year.

Needless to say, they won't be cheap – the Cesium 133's estimated retail price is US$12,000. While that's a lot more than your garden-variety Timex, it's actually considerably less than some luxury watches we've covered.

If you really want your own cesium-based timepiece, though, you can pick one up for just $1,500. That's the price of Symmetricom's Chip Scale Atomic Clock, but be warned: it's designed mainly for things like allowing geographically-separated groups of people to stay exactly coordinated over time, and doesn't actually keep track of the time of day.

Source: Bathys Hawaii via Watchuseek

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

Try wearing that at an airport! excuse me sir, step this way.

Sean Moore

It's only ever going to be as accurate as it can be set in the first place. What happens when you traverse time zones and need to reset it? I don't see this as providing the "nerd cred" that I think it was intended to...

Marcus Carr

Looks like something made in a garage in 1950.

Dennis Roberts

Impressive tech! But who the h**k would ever need such an accurate clock? Even a second or two a decade (still bettered by many cheaper and good quartz timepieces) should be sufficient for anybody ouside a total geek!

The Skud

That wont scratch the paint on my vette door, if I wrap it with some electrical tape, or have a cozy made for it. BIG watches are in style, and this ones got it in spades. I think it has a slot for toasting a slice of bread , or a 8-track ?

Jay Finke

Ugly,, way to expensive, and way too large :/

Joe Sobotka

How much to fix it when that dellicate looking watch stem-like thing breaks off? My $24 Timex keeps perfect time and I don't care if I prang it on something or immerse it in water. It's far smaller, too.


This might be a great way to recycle Fukushima Daiichi waste. While you're at it you could turn it into a modern Swiss army knife/multi tool to boil water and act like a hotplate; a laser, atomic compass and satellite phone. The next James Bond cool tool.


Just another pointless piece of junk invented by people that like to see their name on small screens

Mestengo Hidalgo
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