It’s an unfortunate fact that the world of watches is fundamentally geared towards those who have the ability to see. Eone Timepieces is looking to change that with the Bradley, a watch designed to be read in a tactile manner regardless of your ability to see the watch. Eone takes it a step further and makes the Bradley pretty cool looking as well – which in a way is ironic given that it is meant for people who cannot see. Clearly the public agrees that there is a market for such a watch since the company’s $40,000 Kickstarter goal has been shattered to a total nearing $300,000 at the time of writing. Obviously Eone is doing something right.
Sure, “talking” cheap digital watches have existed for some time and I’ve seen some feeble attempts at braille watches before but none have looked and felt like legitimate watches. There are a few design elements which point to making the Bradley a success where others fall short. Time is indicated by two ball bearings which ride in a pair of tracks around the case. The hour indicator runs along a track on the outer side of the case while the minute indicator is on the watch face itself. Position of the ball bearings is determined by unseen, and completely internal, hands with magnets on the tip. The magnetic attraction is strong enough to hold the ball bearings but not enough to change their location without the use of the traditional crown. Should the ball bearings be knocked free of the magnet, they will move freely within the track until properly lined back up.
A simple twist of the wrist should be adequate to accomplish this. To more accurately determine time, the hour indicators are integrated into the dial/case and are raised. A triangle denotes the twelve o’clock position while the rest are marked with lines with three, six, and nine being longer and textured. This allows for easy time reading through touch alone. The result looks a bit like a Deco sundial in a very good way. The case is made of titanium which should be lightweight and durable for years of hands-on use. Initially available straps include a stainless mesh and three fabric/leather bands in yellow, olive, and blue.