Not so long ago anyone in the market for a new watch was faced with a relatively easy decision – analogue or digital? Those simpler times are but a distant memory with the release of more and more watches that set themselves apart with weird and (not always so) wonderful ways of telling the time. The latest to join the party is the Retsu watch from TokyoFlash, which uses a column of ten LED lights to indicate time instead of the traditional hands and numbers.
To show the time the wearer must push a button on the side of the watch to trigger the LED lights, which race up to the current digit before trailing off and leaving one light reconfirming the number. This is repeated three times to give each digit of the current time. For example to indicate 4:17, four LEDs would light up and go out, then one, and then seven. But what if it’s between 10:59 and 1:00, I hear you ask? Well, then the LEDs will light up four times to give the hours of 11 and 12.
TokyoFlash say the technique is “so simple, it’s surprising no one has thought of it before!” I'm not that convinced. After all, how many watches require you to free up your opposite hand to push a button before they will give the time? Not only that, but other watch designs, even the not dissimilar Nooka Zot-V Black, provide the time at a glance. The Retsu, however, requires you to wait around for a few seconds as you watch the flashing light show before you learn the time.
That said the Retsu does boast a simple, elegant design that is sure to start a few conversations. So if you’re after something that will give you the time (eventually) and provide a talking point, then the Retsu watch could be for you. Otherwise you’re probably better off sticking with the tried and true analogue or digital timepieces.
The Retsu watch from TokyoFlash measures 25 x 30 x 8 mm (excluding wrist band) and weighs 40 grams. It is available now for USD$146.