A Digital Watch With Some Class – A Review of the Phosphor World Clock

Surprisingly, digital watches haven't changed a whole lot since they were invented -- until now. We review the latest incarnation of the digital watch that uses the same E Ink technology as the Amazon Kindle. It's updated, it's cool looking...would you wear it?

The Phosphor World Clock is a new watch design by the company Phosphor. According to their website, Phosphor is a ‘new American watch brand focused on the relentless pursuit of watches that integrate new technologies with compelling design.' With the combination of this watch's simplistic style and the patented E Ink technology, they accomplished their goal.

The E Ink technology it utilizes is similar to that used in the Amazon Kindle. This technology has benefits of high contrast, low power consumption and a wide viewing angle. All three make E Ink technology an ideal fit for a watch application. This model is called the World Clock because there is an option to display two different time zones without having to reset the watch. Switching between time zones is only one click of the button on the watch face.

Phosphor watch

Now I am usually an analog watch guy. I like the ones with the big, round faces that make you feel like you are wearing an Olympic metal on your wrist. But the unique design of this watch makes me think I could switch. Below are my reactions and the reactions of others as I wore the watch for the last two weeks.

January 9th (Monday) — Before receiving the watch in the mail to review, I looked at the website online. It looks like a pretty cool watch, almost like something out of James Bond or Dick Tracy. Maybe I can call someone on this watch? (‘Calling Q, this is James Bond, using your newest gadget'). Seriously though, the sleek and futuristic look of this watch is intriguing to me, something different and interesting to wear on my arm.

January 13th (Thursday) — I have received the watch. First thing I noticed after opening the watch's packaging was the quality of materials used to make it. The metal watch body surrounds the curved glass face where the E Ink numbers are located. The wristband appears to be made of leather and seems to be very durable. I really enjoy the style of the watch, the rectangle is a departure from analog watches I'm used to wearing. The black background with white numbers is the setting I liked the most. Both white letters on a black background and black letters on a white background are available.

January 16th (Sunday) — After a wedding in New York City, I am happy with the watch's performance. The ability to show the date helped me navigate the weekend subway changes with ease, knowing that the 25th was the day where N only runs half of the route and to pick up 4 on the weekend instead of 5 or 6. My friend and I are now sitting in the Manhattan H&M waiting for his wife to finish trying on clothes that she had picked out. He then asked me if I got a new watch. I said yes, and he said he liked it, but it looked way too complicated for him. It was in the day, using date with time mode from my subway exploits, and it did look pretty complicated. But since I am an engineer and inherently love complexity, I smiled with pride and said “Thanks, I am really liking it so far.”

Later that night, while I was riding home to Baltimore on the bus, I look down at my watch and find that it is difficult to read in the dark. After a bit of moving, I was able to tip the watch enough in one direction to make out the time. This is the first negative thing I have to say about the watch. One important watch trait to me, dating back to the Timex Indiglo that I had in grade school, is the ability to be read in the dark.

A few days ago, my coworker complimented me at work about the watch. He said he really liked it and I said thanks. When I asked him why, he mentioned that it looked different from other things he'd seen before. I said thanks again and that I agreed.

I really liked wearing the watch, the style is different enough that it turns heads and gets compliments. The feature of showing the day and date definitely helps me when I am attempting to remember what day it is.

The only thing that I didn't like was the fact that there is no feature to read the watch in the dark. In an age where most people use their cell phone to check time in the dark, I understand that isn't a ‘must have' feature. But even my analog watch has glow in the dark hands so I can read the time in the dark.

The world clock feature isn't something I used, but I could see it being useful to someone who travels a lot or works with people in different time zones. Again, coming from someone who is used to wearing an analog watch, this one is a very cool alternative that I enjoy wearing. It is simple and stylish. I would recommend this watch to even the diehard analog watch connoisseur.

Check out Phosphor's website here.

Pick up a World Clock on Amazon.

Over to you: would you wear it? What do you think of digital watches?

*Full disclosure: I was given the watch to review and was allowed to keep it after writing this review. More here.

Benjamin Wilcox

Ben is new to Baltimore/DC area by way of a new job. He is an engineer who grew up in Cleveland and graduated from Ohio State. He is obsessed with music, football, dogs and meeting new people. You can read more of his writing at www.benjamintwilcox.com/.