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Binary Watch 217

sovereignclass writes: "IDG in Sweden ran a little story about a firm in Norway that has built a binary wrist watch. It look way cool and I am definitely in line for getting one myself. With a price-tag of 250 norwegian kronor it's not a tough buy either. Yes, it shows time in decimal too... In Sweden we often poke fun at the Norwegians (like the Germans do to the Ostfriesen) and this almost sounds too good to be true."
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Binary Watch

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  • Aww! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @08:44AM (#2670145) Homepage
    I was hoping for blinkenlights, not numbers!
  • I once read a book circa 1975 called "Computer Lib" It contained the machine code for a digitl wristwatch. It was only like 64 bytes. I'm surprised no one ever thought of this earlier. Just hook it up to a display and whammo binary watch. Commercialising it should have been done long ago
  • by seldolivaw ( 179178 ) <> on Friday December 07, 2001 @08:45AM (#2670149) Homepage
    The product shots [] are CG renders! I doubt this product really exists...
  • by Marx_Mrvelous ( 532372 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @08:46AM (#2670152) Homepage
    This would be fun, I hear they mgiht be sale in the US on 0110101101110000101110101, 01101101301EST.
  • Nitpick (Score:5, Informative)

    by ez76 ( 322080 ) <<su.67e> <ta> <todhsals>> on Friday December 07, 2001 @08:47AM (#2670157) Homepage
    Yes, it shows time in decimal too...
    HH:MM:SS time is actually called "sexagesimal."
    • HH:MM:SS time is actually called "sexagesimal."

      Plus, of course, the watch isn't even true binary. It's binary coded sexagesimal. There used to be an X11 clock (I cant' remember what it was called) that showed the time in thousandths of a day. Now that'd be a truly geeky watch...

      • Re:Nitpick part II (Score:3, Informative)

        by thing12 ( 45050 )
        1/1000th of a day is a Swatch .beat [] that they use in their 'Internet Time'. You can buy all sorts of Swatches that will display the time in .beats (@500 == 12:00 noon in their system).
        • the other cool part is that the .beat thing is also a timezone-less time. @500 is 1200 GMT, @999 is 2359 GMT.

          kinda a sad part to it, it used to be one of the ways that the time was displayed on (a fairly mainstream site, if I had to find one) but when the internet bubble started to collapse, then they removed it in favor of more traditional time stuff.

          oh well. It would be cool to have a global timesystem that gained wide use. I tried setting my personal time to GMT once, but it was kinda tough always having to subtract 8 (or 7 in the summer) whenever someone asked me the time. Wellm to be honest, every once in a while, if i was in a surly mood, I would just give them the time in GMT when they ask.

          but then again, i'm a bit of a jerk.
          • Nitpick part III (Score:1, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward
            @500 is 1200 GMT, @999 is 2359 GMT

            I'm not too familiar with "beat time" or whatever, but technically, 999 would probably be 23:58:33.6 GMT, since each beat(?) is 1 minute, 26.4 seconds.
          • the other cool part is that the .beat thing is also a timezone-less time. @500 is 1200 GMT, @999 is 2359 GMT.

            Why is that cool? When I say something happens at @500, you then need to translate that to, lets see, maybe 4 am your time to figure out if it was light or dark. I suppose if it really was universal, so you knew what time dawn, dusk, lunch and midnight are where you are, it might be OK, but otherwise it's annoying.

            I guess these are the same sorts of arguments people have against metric weights and measures, to some degree.
            • If you always used .beats, you would have to think about when light was, you'd know, the same way you don't have to think about when it is light now.

              When you go east or west, however, you may have problems
    • Re:Nitpick Redux (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Speare ( 84249 )

      HH:MM:SS time is actually called "sexagesimal."

      Yes, it is called sexagesimal, but that's a misnomer. It's three decimal components with distinct modulo periods.

      For mathematicians, sexagesimal numbering would use sixty different digit symbols, for every component. The Babylonians used sexagesimal numbering for a range of things, not just counting minutes, but that's where we got the hour/minute/second convention.

      Someone below also mentioned that the watch is "binary coded sexagesimal". That's closer to the mark, as the minutes and seconds digits are shown in distinct groupings of six binary digits (wasting four permutations for 60, 61, 62, 63). It does not count for the hours position, though, as that is shown with only five binary digits.

      A twelve-hour system would be "binary coded duodecimal," but the watch appears to use a twenty-four hour system which would be called "binary coded tetravigesimal."

  • It says:
    This page is under construction
    In a few days we will present a complete new type of watch.
    This watch will communicate with other similar watches and send virus to each other.

    Wow, nothing like truth in marketing, I guess.
    • They must be working with Microsoft on that one.
    • Great Virus Game!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by squaretorus ( 459130 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @09:41AM (#2670322) Homepage Journal
      This is cool. Sending virii to each others watches! It'd work like this:

      I set up my virus to give the message 'all your squares are belong to torus' and walk about with my watch blasting that out in IR. Any other watch I pass gets infected with the virus!

      Then everytime a watch links to a base unit it puts all its messages (along with where they are geographically) into a website.

      I can call up 'all your squares are belong to torus' and see how far its spread.

      I walk past someone on a street in London who flies off to Tokyo and goes dancing allnight - soon most of Japan is infected with 'all your squares are belong to torus'. How cool a game is that! I'd play!

      The best locations to get your virus to would be Antrctica and the ISS I'd have thought. Oh, and Manchester.
      • That would indeed be an interesting device, if only for learning and teaching about viral infection patterns. It could involve some sort of core wars style selection mechanism. Geek dreams...
      • I walk past someone on a street in London who flies off to Tokyo and goes dancing allnight - soon most of Japan is infected with 'all your squares are belong to torus'. How cool a game is that! I'd play!

        Sadly, that's not much different from the STD situation, except that you don't want to have your name on the "high scoring" boards.
  • by linuxrunner ( 225041 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @08:48AM (#2670161) Homepage
    and get a matching binary "ties suck tie", and the "you are dumb" binary t-shirt!

    Sell all three together as a set.... Then head to work for the day..... That will keep you from getting a date for at least the next year!

    On a side note, the idea is cool for the watch and I like it, I just wish they looked a little cooler... They kinda look cheap.

    • Yes, and Thinkgeek can charge 90$ for this 30$ watch that probably costs 3$ to manufacture. The concept of Thinkgeek is nice, and I like having a store that carries plenty of different things that fascinate me, but their markup is absurd and that "You Save 30%" crap just insults me, just like Amazon. At least Amazon really does beat the competition price-wise.
      • While some of their stuff could be considered overproced (much like any retailer), a lot of their stuff is actually quite reasonable. When I bought the Digital Wallet for a friend's present, we looked at 8-10 different merchants, and Thinkgeek had the best price.

        I'll also say that I've used them for relatives: "What do you want for Christmas/Birthday/etc." "Anything from Thinkgeek." It's pretty much filled with stuff I'd like to have, but nothing I can't live without.

        Now, I won't plug them anymore.
  • by Mr. Quick ( 35198 ) <[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday December 07, 2001 @08:48AM (#2670164) Homepage Journal
    it already takes me a long time to figure out an analog watch... now this...
    • It ...9...10...11...12...13, wait, what comes after 12? No, AFTER 12.
    • HA! I'm a fairly intelligent guy and I'm now 29 years old. And I STILL have a tendency to "round up" an hour on an analog clock when it's between 1 and 6.

      I can't count the number of times I got dropped off at a game room (when I was younger) and thinking I only had 10 minutes left, ripped through the quarters. Fifteen minutes later I realise what I'd done and then have to figure out what to do for the next 55 minutes...

      - "It's closer to the 4. Why wouldn't I round up?"

    • When I was growing up my parents had a Spartacus Backwards Clock, a popular item from the 1950's, I guess. Unfortunately for me, though, I am now completely broken about clockwise and counter-clockwise. I have gotten to where I can now figure it out, but it is definitely a cognitive task, not an immediate perception as it is with normal people.

      A friend reports a similar confusion with orange and purple, but it was purposefully engendered by her many cooperating (all older) siblings...
  • I think these have been discussed here before smoe time ago, but here [] is a link to BCD software and hardware clocks. I think Gnome comes with one, too?
  • Actually... (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by quigonn ( 80360 )
    ...the people from Denmark and Norway take the Swedes on a ride all the time (at least some Danish boyscouts told me).
  • Stupid Idea (Score:5, Funny)

    by ksw2 ( 520093 ) <obeyeater@gma i l . com> on Friday December 07, 2001 @08:50AM (#2670167) Homepage
    How gay, a watch that takes you five times as long to read, just so you can show your buddies how 1337 you are.

    "Excuse me sir, do you have the time?"

    "Yes, it's... uhhh... 12.. no, 14! I mean, er, do you have a pencil?"

    "Uh, never mind. Thanks anyway, you fucking dork."

    Now if they had a hex watch, THAT would be cool... :->

    • But the word "gay" is not an insult...
  • But yeah, blinking led's would be far cooler. ;-) I wonder how long it would take to get quick at telling the time at a glance? The digits are not grouped in 4 bits (which would have made it easier but subject to overflow). 4, 5, 5.
    • I doesn't take too awful long to get used to it. I was running the Gnome Binary Clock applet and could read it at a glance.

      Only a hair harder than reading an analog clock. Possibly more so if you don't do binary well.

      The watch looks pretty cool. I agree though, that blinking LEDs would have been kick ass.

      Now, if only I could find a nice, relatively unintrusive binary clock for Windows.
      • I doesn't take too awful long to get used to it. I was running the Gnome Binary Clock applet and could read it at a glance.

        If it's the same one that I am thinking of, that's a BCD clock and not binary (seconds since Unix epoch? ;)

        I have a BCD watch with flashing LEDs, which is made by Citizen (an `Independent 1481010 model'). It was only available in Japan, and I can't find any pages or pictures of it right now, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

        BCD is easy enough to read once you get the hang of it, but I think the extra level of complexity of a real binary number-of-seconds-since-01/01/1970 watch will be too much to cope with.

        Having said that, I'll probably get one anyway to add to my collection ;)
  • 23:59:50 on the pictures.
  • Anyone that looks at the pictures sees that it is a 3D rendered image not a real picture. I look at the site design and anyone could have made that site.

    I like the idea of a binary watch. I prefer hex personally but hey! : )

    Who would buy from a site with their online catalogue being only 3D studio max renditions?
  • Does it do metric time.

    Web site for that is
  • The little bar at the bottom of my screen has the time.

    Which also leeds to the question, why do I need to wear pants? My cube desk pretty much covers the lower half of my body.
    • The little bar at the bottom of my screen has the time

      Yeah, but does it show the time in binary, using little blinky LEDs, like mine [] does?

      Incidentally, I also think that the LEDs would make a far cooler watch than the LCD display with 1's and 0's.

      Hmmm.... maybe I should just make one.

      • Ah, but yours shows the time in BCD which is MUCH easier to read than Binary. e.g. 36 minutes is 0011 1010 in bcd, nice and easy, but 100100 in binary which takes more than a glance to read.
        Your bcd led display is much nicer than their binary lcd display, and much easier to read.

  • My favorite time format is
    (this is REXX). Currently it's B26C9.AA7F A.D.
    • Every secretary using MSWord wastes enough resources
      to feed at least one child in Africa...

      Hey, I'm a secretary, and have enough resources to feed 2 children (African or not) at a time: One on the left, one on the right.

  • Nice joke, but the website design could have been a tad better, if only to look more real.
  • Hang on... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by cthugha ( 185672 )
    Is that display little-endian or big-endian? Or will you be able to change endian mode? Or buy a separate model for each, maybe?
    • Hey, if you could change it from big->little endian and back, it wouldn't matter if you woke up with a hangover and accidentally put the watch on upside down.
  • US Dollar Conversion (Score:4, Informative)

    by JabberWokky ( 19442 ) <> on Friday December 07, 2001 @09:07AM (#2670224) Homepage Journal
    Quite cool. It's now on my christmas wish list. For those in the US or who are conversant with US$ exchange for their local currency, they are US$ 27.92. Not bad.


  • by HuskyDog ( 143220 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @09:09AM (#2670230) Homepage
    On KDE there is a thing called "fuzzy clock" which tells you the time in words to an accuracy of 5 minutes (mine currently says "Ten past one").

    Does anyone know of a watch that does this?

  • How about a clock that shows the number of seconds since the Epoch in binary 32 bit format?
  • As the pictures are apparently CG I would say that this is fake - someone is having fun :)
  • Got the Time? (Score:2, Redundant)

    "Hey buddy, what time is it?"

    "It's 110101000100101101000101"

    "Nevermind then."
    • The pictures they show on the web site have a button labeled "binary". I'm willing to bet that this toggles the binary mode.

      That way you can read the time in HH:MM:SS, and then switch over to binary in time to scare your coworkers...
  • What We REALLY Need (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Scottaroo ( 461317 )
    Binary is OK, but what we really need is a watch that count telling UNIX time - seconds since the epoch.

    "Do you have the time?"

    "Yeah, it's 2,000,230,293"

    "Go away."
  • An article on [] claims that IBM is considering to bundle this watch with new computers in the Asian market.
  • Would be cool if it could have physical switches who moved on/off. :-)

  • <troll>
    $11111010 Norway Kroner = $11011.1011100 United States
  • Glem aldri (Score:2, Interesting)

    by imrdkl ( 302224 )
    In Sweden we often poke fun at the Norwegians

    As a guest of the norwegians, I find it amusing that they were given the hardest, rockiest land in all of Sweden as their own, only to become the some of the most valuable land on earth, because of the oil, gas, fish, and other wealth just off the shoreline.

    It's lots of fun tho, the tit-for-tat between them and you. I saw a widely circulated map the other day which shows scandanavia without sweden. Very popular here.

    Closest thing to it in the States that I can think of is the ongoing rivalry between Oklahoma and Texas. (although there is probably more physical violence in that one, heh.)

    Stillig klokke, dudes.

    • The rivalry nowadays seems mostly to be Swedes
      making fun of Norwegians (knowing Norway is slightly
      better ;). Why else would so many people move to
      Norway to set up shops?

      I agree with an earlier poster that the watch would have
      been cooler if it displayed hex, though..
    • Actually, there's a lot of ribbing between people of Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland. Still is to day this, I believe. :-)
    • We weren't "given" anything from Sweden. Norway was under Swedish rule from 1814 to 1905 because Norway was given to the Swedes as a punishment for Denmark for supporting Napoleon in the Napoleonic wars.

      Before then Norway was under Danish rule from the 1300's, and prior to that it was a sovereign monarchy.

    • I think the rivalry is more pronounced between the English and French parts of Canada. Granted I only saw this from one side of the coin when I lived in Calgary, but it was certainly there.
  • by Shanep ( 68243 )
    I have been wanting a watch that displays Unix Enoch time in decimal seconds.

    Set to GMT, it would be a real internet time.
  • That's my bet, either that or complete vapor. These pictures look like CGI to me, and the arrangement of the binary digits is just plain ugly. No prices, no shipping info... I say hoax.
  • Wrong Time (Score:4, Funny)

    by devnullkac ( 223246 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @09:40AM (#2670321) Homepage
    The displays on the models shown are all showing:


    But every watch marketer knows that you should be showing:


    which is 10:10 AM. Apparently it's recommended for digital watches as well, so I don't see why they shouldn't use it for binary watches.
  • This has a GREAT geekness factor, but it's not hugely practical really. Instead of a quick 1/2 second (0.101 in binary) glance at the watch to see what the time is, you'll now have to stare at it for several seconds to work out what the time is. The hours wouldn't be too bad, but the minutes and seconds would be up to 6 digits each, and how many of us can convert a 6 digit binary number instantly - ok you could probably do it quite rapidly with practice, but you'd never be able to tell the time as quicky as glancing at normal digital or analogue hands.

  • (Disclaimer: The following is IMHO)

    Well they got this one wrong. Seven-segment displays for binary numbers? So they might be taking the piss with that, but they could at least offer up a true binary watch at the same time.
    All it would need is 17 binary indicators, or three seven-segment display units (which would leave 4 bits over, for ... oh, a game, perhaps?)

    Swatch did ".beat []"-time, but the maximum would be ".otherBeat" with 1024 beats per day ( ... new idea? GPL it. This post counts as prior art :)

    Gah. If you want something done properly ...
  • ...I don't know, 1000 geeks perhaps? Only thing I care about when it comes to time is that it's correct for where I'm at, and that if someone asks me for it, I can use my social engineering skills to give them the time in a way they can understand.
  • Mh, the pictures look like coming from a ray tracer. Does this watch exist or is this just a funny Web page?

  • Hi. The norwegian currency is "Norske Kroner" (NOK), not Norwegian Kronor.

    f*** the swedish :)

  • Does anyone know of a watch that shows unix time?
  • As if the renders weren't enough to prove it, how about this little tidbit from the "infrared watch" page:

    "This page is under construction
    In a few days we will present a complete new type of watch.
    This watch will communicate with other similar watches and
    send virus to each other."

    Run a whois on the domain. The registrants adress's don't match up with what's on the site, and the site is hosted in sweden. So I suppose it's just a swedish mockery of the norwegians.. :-)
  • I just wanted to plug my currency converter browser button because it rocks. []
  • In a week I'll be reading it faster than I can read analogs. Geesh, analog is medieval...

    I'm considering building a wall model. :-)
  • Watch The Video!! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dwdyer ( 5238 )
    From the looks of their video [], they definitely need to hang out with some marketing folks, if only for a couple hours over a few beers. Still, the video has an enduring, ineffable charm. All the qualities of amateur pr0n. Without the pr0n. (Be sure to turn up the volume in order to hear the dialogue in the live-action scene -- unlike pr0n, the dialogue makes the magic.)

  • The Binary watch from RSI -- Perfect for the geek with RSI!

    Or will you just get carpal tunnel syndrome from wearing it?
  • by redhog ( 15207 )
    Why _normal_time_ in binary, not miliseconds from The Epoch?

    May The TRue Time be with you!
    • Yep, that would come in handy.

      Bystander: Excuse me, do you have the time?
      Me: Yes, its been 1007744600 seconds since midnight of January 1st, 1970.
      Bystander: ...
  • there is another binary wrist watch at [] for about 40$. Have that watch for years. Looks much better than the photo suggests.
    After some time you can read the time as fast as you can read it from a normal watch.
  • Swatch was pushing "Internet time" [] for a while. They divided days into 1000 beats, using local time at Biel, Switzerland (Swatch HQ) worldwide.

    Swatch started this in 1998, and you can still buy Swatch watches that use it, but it's only marginally more useful than the binary watch.

  • Weird time... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Creepy ( 93888 )
    I was half expecting to read 23:59:59 on the watch, but it reads 23:59:50. Didn't I hear Norway moved to a 50 second minute somewhere...

    hah - gotta get my slams on Norwegians when I can. I went to school with a girl who used the e-mail sig the Norwegan goddess, so we of course made fun of her as the Nor-WEGG-An goddess rather than the Nor-Weeg-An goddess. Ah, the good old days :)

    Anyhow, straying offtopic. Not much you can say about a friggin watch, tho (ooh - mine does base 2!).

    I can just imagine a conversation here:

    So, is there a time I can take you home and show you the true meaning of love?

    Scrawling on a bar napkin: 11001

    Um, is that supposed to be a time? It looks like you forgot the colon... what's the extra one for?

    It's in binary - see? Look at my watch.

    That's a weird watch... it looks like it's almost that time now... you're not trying to pull something over on me, are you?

    Naw. Ask one of your buddies over there, maybe they can figure it out.

    Smiling slyly - by the looks of things, it's almost that time now.

    I'm waiting...

    (asking buddies) What the f*ck is binary? For that matter, what the f*ck does 11011 mean in it?

    (shrugging) The heck if I know.

    Me either. Hey, your friend over there just headed out the door... did you get a phone number?


    (for the technically challenged or lazy, 11001 binary is 25 decimal [16+8+1=25] - thanks go out to the Dukes of Stratosphear [aka XTC] for their strange and weirdly inspiring song 25 O'Clock)
  • I assume from what little they have at the website (haven't watched the movie yet) that you can switch from binary time to sexagesimal (i know i must have spelled that wrong) I actaully like the idea. I';m lousy at converting binary to decimal. This could be a great learning tool and nifty to boot.
  • None of this binary stuff for me -- too complicated. What I need is a watch that will give me the seconds since Jan 1, 1970!


    Maybe I can just get a watch that has a perl interpreter:

    perl -e "while() {print time; sleep(1);} "

    A thought.

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain