April 16, 2008
by Ariel Adams
You don’t have to think of yourself as “pretty girl” for wanting to adorn this awesome watch. For Basel 2007, Seiko unveiled this incredible watch bracelet to show off the power of what e-ink (electronic ink) will provide to watches in the near future. The demand for the watch resulted in a limited production of about 1000 priced at a stratospheric $5,000 (and above). Very few of these watches ever made it to the US. One of these Seiko Spectrum watches is available on eBay right now starting at $500. I am impressed.
I had an opportunity to play with one of these watches at a Macy’s Department Store here in San Francisco. The store clerk knew next to nothing about it, but that was ok, I knew what it was. He said that it was something special Seiko wanted the store to show off. It was actually tucked away. Seiko is a bit notorious for not giving great sales lectures to the people selling for them. Only in a perfect world, the people who sell watches as also people who love watches. I was instantly impressed by the watch. Think of the almost 360 degree screen as an etch-a-sketch on steroids. The watch constantly redraws itself in extremely detailed lettering. This pixels are tiny, so the lines appear fluid and organic, not like your typical LCD screen. The watch has a number of different functions, and most interestingly can reverse its contrast on the fly. Meaning it can go from light background with dark lettering, to dark background with light lettering with the push of a button. This is very cool to play with and I cannot wait to see it show up on more men’s watches.
E-ink is incredibly battery friendly because it only uses power when it redraws itself. There is no need for back-lighting or constant energy consumption. You can have it set to redraw only on each minute, which extends the battery life several years. The Seiko Spectrum is essentially an interesting concept watch in production form. It is beautiful, eye catching, and unexpected. The numbers are drawn in a fanciful cursive writing that takes some getting used to. The idea is not legibility, but rather a presentation of what e-ink can, and will continue to offer innovative watch makers such as Seiko.
See Seiko E-Ink watches on eBay here.See Seiko watches on Amazon here.