How Is It Made?
The ring itself is made from 316L stainless steel, the material most frequently used for decent watch cases. It is 14 millimeters wide and 3-3.5 millimeters thick, depending on the diameter you get (more on that in a bit). The large external part that you touch and spin is actually precision-milled by a Hungarian company specialized in manufacturing high-end medical and surgical tools, and the quality of execution is in fact top notch. The fit and finish of the external and internal rings, along with a hand-applied lacquer seal on the inside make the Ring Clock water resistant, so you should have no trouble whatsoever to wash your hands or do the dishes with it on, and the company says you can even wear it for swimming.
The Ring Clock is, of course, available in a wide range of sizes (6.5US-15US) and after placing your order, you’ll receive a pack of plastic try-on rings in a few size options closest to the one you specified, so you can try them on and be sure you get the perfect size. This saves you and the company the trouble and time of shipping complete rings and packages back and forth a number of times. After confirming, the correctly sized Ring Clock is shipped to you so you can have the perfect fit. The Ring Clock will later on be available in black PVD as well – although there are no exact dates yet on availability, as finding the right coating method to be used on such a small surface with so many cutouts is a painstaking and time-consuming process.
One criticism that I have heard others I showed the ring to mention is that there is a bit of play between the outer and the inner ring in the sense that it wobbles slightly but noticeably along its rotational direction. I personally have not found this to be annoying at all – I take it as it is because there are two moving parts on top of one another – but because it has been pointed out, I am told that the Ring Clock people will make some changes and make the gap (that presently is less than 0.3 millimeters wide) even smaller to reduce this slight play.
To create the indices and squares on the periphery of the ring, I have learned that the guys at Ring Clock had to find a specialized laser engraver who could create these extremely small and yet super sharp cutouts. I will say that when I first saw the computer generated images, I thought the indices looked great but I couldn’t image it was possible to cut the steel surface with such immense precision.
The engineers have proven me wrong: the numerals look almost painfully sharp around their edges – but no matter what you do, you could never feel them when touching the surface of the ring and, as I’ve said above, the cutouts are waterproofed by the lacquer sealing from the inside. One thing they may want to change is the font used for the 0s and the 5s, because where the split is set in the 0 makes it easy for those far-sighted to mistake it for a 5. Simply reversing the position of the splits in the 0 will eliminate the problem – a small fix, but one the developers acknowledged to be necessary and will fix soon enough.
The Ring Clock is powered by a single 8mAh battery – today’s latest phone batteries have capacities between 3,000 to 3,600mAh, or about 450 times this much. Having seen the tiny, bent battery on an unassembled unit, I can say that it really is quite incredible to hold in one’s hand such a tiny little piece of engineering and know it can power a device as clever as this.
There are no plugs or connectors on the ring anywhere. Instead, it can be charged wirelessly on a circular dock – which should, in my opinion, be a little bit smaller so that it is easier to pack and carry when traveling. You just place the ring on its small protruding notch and it gets fully charged in a maximum of 2 hours’ time. One charge of the 8mAh cell lasts a week of normal use – the developers specify that at 50 activations per day – or 2 hours of constant use. Because it has been so much fun to fiddle with the spinning ring, and to check the bright, blue lights glow in the dark, the Ring Clock I reviewed has consistently lasted me a day; but then again, that is with a fair bit of fiddling and toying around.
Because there are no plugs or buttons, the time on the Ring Clock can be set via the charger. It has two large, clicky buttons that allow you to quickly and easily adjust the time – when holding down one of the buttons, the indications on the ring speed up, so setting the ring up takes but a few moments. Press and hold the two buttons simultaneously and you can switch between the two minute indication modes that I mentioned above – one where only one indicator lights up and another mode where all down to the last 5 minute markers are illuminated.
I was going to say, “well, this is a tricky one” – but it actually isn’t. I have never worn a ring in my life and probably won’t – until absolutely necessary. Yet, I still to this day enjoy rocking the Ring Clock a few days a week, because it is a lot of fun, it is unique, and it works as a great conversation starter – although those who know me well also know that shutting my pie hole often is a bigger struggle for me than to get started.
It is tall because of the three tiers of indications, and it surely is a bit thicker than most normal rings. It is not at all unwearable or even remotely uncomfortable – I could get used to it quickly, and its height never kept me from performing any task. I could always move my ring and all other fingers perfectly freely, as though the ring wasn’t even there. Its low weight also improves wearability.
For those who prefer not to wear a watch, the Ring Clock will surely be the easiest way to check the time – on those very rare occasions when I opted not to wear a watch (just to see if I could ever develop the habit of checking the time on the ring), I found myself enjoying the convenience of not having to take my phone out of my pocket to find out the exact time. I just quickly spun the ring and could find it out easily and conveniently.
Despite the previously mentioned wobble – which, again, some may find distracting but I, along with the majority of others, found to be perfectly fine – the ring is solidly built and, thanks to its water-resistant construction and milled stainless steel case, I have never been worried about it not putting up with the elements of everyday life – namely bumps, knocks, and scratches, and cold or hot water.
The Ring Clock clearly isn’t for everyone, but then again, it doesn’t have to be. I feel that it objectively is a super cool and very impressive gadget and something that could work very well for a wide enough range of people. That should include those of you who enjoy wearing and accessorizing with rings and are open to modern designs (not that they could have wished for anything like this, as I’m not aware of any ring with comparable functionality), and also those who like watches and enjoy owning the coolest new concepts.
I still to this day find both the concept and especially the execution of the Ring Clock to be remarkable. It shows what a small group of extremely dedicated and sharp-minded people can get done if they persevere in not only finding the right suppliers but also in practicing great creativity in modifying the available technologies to suit their highly specialized needs. When you hold the Ring Clock in your hand or just wear it and use it on a day-to-day basis, you experience firsthand all that work and excellent engineering – boiled down into a small but high-tech package. What’s not to love about that? Price for the Ring Clock is $295. ringclock.net
>Brand: Ring Clock
>Model: Ring Clock Stainless Steel
>Size: Wide range, from 6.5US to 15US
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone into the latest and greatest gadgets and/or someone not into wearing a watch but looking for an alternative
>Best characteristic of watch: …Did I mention it’s a ring? Love the complex and uniquely designed technology crammed into such a small space.
>Worst characteristic of watch: May be a bit thick for some. Fonts for 0’s and 5’s should be easier to tell apart.