01 Binary watch review

3 out of 5
£55

For

Looks, Leather strap, waterproof to 90 feet

Against

A button has to be depressed to see the time

There's something vaguely postmodern surrounding the idea of creating a watch that not ideally suited for telling the time. The 01 Binary watch is not the first wrist chronometer to employ a more fanciful system of conveying the hour and minute to the user than analogue hands or Arabic numbers, but does this mean the product has any merit?

The principle of the watch is simple. The face is a Printed Circuit Board with two rows of LEDs, the top row has 4, denoting hours and the bottom row has 5 denoting minutes. The binary value of the numbers is of little real consequence but is read as a '1' for a lit LED and a '0' for an extinguished one, meaning the top row will be any binary number between 0000 and 1111, which equates, in analogue numbers, to 1 - 12. To convert the binary number the wearer must regard each LED as having it's own unique numeric value, written in very small numbers above each diode, and then simply add the values of the illuminated LEDs to get the total value in hours or minutes.

The problem is that in order to view the time you have to press the button at the top of the watch. This illuminates the LEDs that correspond to the right time on both rows, for a meager 5 seconds. Good game, good game. This may suit users with minds like steel-traps or keen darts players, but to the average layperson, this springing-teal style mental arithmetic can be a strain and result in the watch not being checked as often as a more conventional timepiece.

The watch's construction is solid with the case being made of stainless steel, sealed to with stand 3 atmospheres pressure, and 90 feet of water. The strap is genuine leather, you know that because it says so on the strap, classy. Setting the time is relatively easy, with a combination of the two buttons on the body pressed to advance the sets of illuminated LEDs until the right combination is found, and as there are no other features at al on the watch once the time is set you are done.

Verdict

Overall this is going to end up being given to people as a present by boyfriends and girlfriends with the tag line "As you're never on time I bought you this watch so now you've got an excuse". Hilarious. Clean, sober and in daylight the watch can be used with a little practice. Drunk and in a club your more likely to gauge the progression of the evening by trips to the bar and toilet, than by this baby. It's also in danger of becoming the novelty Christmas present from hell- look out for it next December.