WatchUSeek Watch Forums banner

1 - 20 of 62 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

I have been reading this forum from time to time for a few years now, and I am happy that I finally have something to show to this community. Although I was not into watches before, I came up with idea to make a nixie watch, first true one.

For those who are not familiar with nixie tubes, those were indicating tubes manufactured between 1950 and 1970 and were used as first digital numerical displays.
Nixie tube - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anyway, this display is actually neon gas glowing in a shape of a number, which makes it very unique and retro. There has been a couple of designs in last decade which used old, unused, small nixie tubes. Those have usually two or one tube which than can show only two or one digits at once.

Anyway, 3 years ago I started to work on a design of a single nixie tube which can show 4 digits at once and which would be suitable for a watch. It started as a hobby but it turned out to be much more.
Now, three years later, after many prototypes, I am weeks close to manufacture a final prototype of the 4 digit nixie tube.
Photo attached is a current concept design of the watch case. However, the dimensions are real ones - 48mm diameter, 13mm thickness, 24mm strap width.

SS_CF_HI1.JPG

I am not a designer, but an engineer (electronics) so this design is a little minimalistic, but the digits actually look like this and usually are more bright.

I would like to hear some opinions on this watch concept - would you like to have a true neon glowing on your wrist?

I'll put some more details in if you are interested.
 

·
Mod. Russian, China Mech.
Joined
·
18,645 Posts
I think minimalist and nixie are a good match. Was the choice of a 48mm round case dictated by the hardware? And can you explain the device on the left side of the case. How does it work?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,963 Posts
I think it's a cool idea. There are loads of parts and electronics available out to build a clock but in watch format is great. I believe watch size may be dictated by hardware. I saw a nixie watch on YouTube but it was a monster. Rectangular and like 56mm, poss more, across. Depending on price I would be up for one of these. It's different and cool
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for your comments, guys.

The thing on the left side is a solution for a waterproof USB connector. See the image:

SS_CF_HI2.JPG

This watch needs to be recharged once a month since nixie tubes needs a lot of power. I am still thinking of using wireless charging but that might bring up the thickness too much.
There are two push buttons on the right side.

The dimensions are as minimal as possible, I worked hard to make the tube inside very small, and I can say it hits the limit.

Design of the case will probably be different - there is a possibility of using a rectangular case, but I never liked those too much. Anyway, even if it is rectangular it will have to be 45x45mm which is too much for a rectangular watch.
I recently purchased Vostok Europe Anchar so I can have a filling how is it to wear a big watch (48,5mm dia. 16mm thickness), and I actually enjoy it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
I'm loving this, I'd love to get my hands on one of your 'movements' so I could design and build a case for it, bronze would work and go down the steam punk route. please let us know if we could buy a movement when they go into production, I now have access to a very good 3D printer, I could make prototypes in a few hours now instead of CNCing aluminium all the time :)

I wish you good luck with this :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,963 Posts
So is this design project testing the water to turn it in to reality? @ mark Daniels, i really like the sound of a bronze case, I think it would work very well with the Nixies.
@ Vladimir, size on this would be everything. I think between 45 and 48 mm cam get away with that in a round case but square would just be a monster. Keep us posted on progress. Any ideas on possible price for a finished watch? And one more thing. The usb charging is sneaky and great. Fools the eye in to thinking it may be a slide activator. A brilliant blend of old meets new tech
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Production version of the tube inside will be finished soon, in a couple of weeks. I'll post some photos of assembled tubes when I finish.
@MarkDaniels, once the production starts I'll might give off some of the tubes to enthusiasts, for free. I am not afraid of stealing technology because it would be very hard to copy this technology, it took me 3 years to get where I am now, and it was not easy.
I'll hire a professional designer soon and he will design a new case and a dial with my constraints to have a better look. USB cover hand stays, maybe in a different style. Steampunk style is an option too, I'll probably make some a limited edition once the production starts. I have another project pending for a watch with 4 small real glass tubes arranged one beside the other. Crystal for that watch will be an elliptic tube all around those 4 tubes. Still working on mechanics, but that will be very suitable for a Steampunk design.

@stonehead I agree on the size, and I always liked round watches better. I have tried to narrow it down to 46mm diameter, but I needed space for hardware, it is very tricky.
I am still not sure about price. Making of the tube is very expensive process, completely developed from scratch, and the parts are expensive too. Just for parts to make the tube, I cooperate with more than 10 manufacturing companies from US, Europe, China and India. It will all depend on tube cost. For now, my target price is between $500 and $1500, but it might be more. I would like to hear your comments about that, how much money would people want to give for something like this, and how much people would like it in a first place? So far, custom made nixie watches with old tubes (Kopriso and CathodeCorner) were between $400 and $1200, but this will be a real watch manufactured hopefully in big series.

I'll probably start a Kickstarter campaign in a few months.

Appreciate the comments!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
254 Posts
Wow ! Loving the design and the idea. Hope it all goes well!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Production version of the tube inside will be finished soon, in a couple of weeks. I'll post some photos of assembled tubes when I finish.
@MarkDaniels, once the production starts I'll might give off some of the tubes to enthusiasts, for free. I am not afraid of stealing technology because it would be very hard to copy this technology, it took me 3 years to get where I am now, and it was not easy.
I'll hire a professional designer soon and he will design a new case and a dial with my constraints to have a better look. USB cover hand stays, maybe in a different style. Steampunk style is an option too, I'll probably make some a limited edition once the production starts. I have another project pending for a watch with 4 small real glass tubes arranged one beside the other. Crystal for that watch will be an elliptic tube all around those 4 tubes. Still working on mechanics, but that will be very suitable for a Steampunk design.
That would be fantastic, I would gladly pay for one :) I look forward to seeing the assembled tubes :)

I have a SevenFriday P2/01 and I think that shape and size case would suit your Nixie tube concept, maybe a collaboration to build a watch together using your concept, just a thought :)

I think hiring a pro designer is the way to go and also getting it on Kickstarter is a good way of getting it out there, more and more people are looking at it for 'the next best thing' I wish you luck :)

The 4 small tubes in line sounds interesting, I look forward to seeing some pics, sounds like your a busy man.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
491 Posts
Hi All,

I have been reading this forum from time to time for a few years now, and I am happy that I finally have something to show to this community.
Well talk about how to make an entrance! :-! I've been looking at the various Nixied offerings over the years and without fail they've reminded me of nothing so much as tarted up early 80s "Practical Electronics" projects. this is the first one I've seen that actually looks like a watch rather than a tech diver's Trimix monitor!

...first true one.
Quite so, at long last there is in existence a good looking, wearable Nixie watch.


Anyway, 3 years ago I started to work on a design of a single nixie tube which can show 4 digits at once and which would be suitable for a watch. It started as a hobby but it turned out to be much more.
Now, three years later, after many prototypes, I am weeks close to manufacture a final prototype of the 4 digit nixie tube.
Can't find what I need; pffft, OK then, I'll make my own!
A great appraoch to a problem so Kudos and a large helping of respect for sticking with it.


I am not a designer, but an engineer (electronics) so this design is a little minimalistic, but the digits actually look like this and usually are more bright.

I would like to hear some opinions on this watch concept - would you like to have a true neon glowing on your wrist?
Off the top of my head I can't recall if Nixies can be dimmed down. If that's possible then maybe a little interface GUI on the owner's laptop could allow the user to play with the brightness? You really don't want it glowing like a torch on your bedside table as you're trying to fall asleep. The ability to knock back the brightness (especially given the current drain) would be an important feature. How about a pusher that operates like one of those table lamps that will dim down through 4 or 5 different levels before it turns off. If there's no room for a pusher could it incorporate a tap switch/accelerometer to perform the dimming function. Or allow the user to program in a 'night mode' which turns it down at 11 o'clock or whatever.

Is there any indication of running seconds? Maybe one of the digits could be set to pulse at 1s intervals?

As an aside Mark Daniels' mention of a steam punk iteration could have a switchable 'random flicker' effect? Nixies really lend themselves to that meme much better than LEDs and LCD displays. To my mind they transport the ethos of steam punk into the realms of the post apocalypse cyber-punk. the rectangular digits don't work stylistically, the Nixie's rounded numerals would.

I'll put some more details in if you are interested.
Ho yes! :p a few caseback pics and definitely a few of the internals..and those all important wrist/money shots arrive when?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
Very cool! And super impressive that you made your own mini Nixie tubes. Amazing
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Guvnah,

Thanks for your comments!

During my early work on this I realized that, ether I will make something that will just look like a watch with nixie tubes, or I will have to make the whole product from scratch. Since I am an engineer and I work on hardware development for many real products, I have decided to try to do it, and my nixie adventure had started.

When it comes to features of this watch there are many options but first constrain is that this watch can't glow all the time, just on trigger. Initially I have planned two buttons for that, pressing one will show time for a second or two and the other will show date. But I am planning to make it able to glow all the time while on charger. Nice idea for indicating seconds!
I will also add an accelerometer so triggers can be also simple move of your wrist to check the time or a tap.
The nixies can be dimmed by shorter duty-cycle of driven impulses or by lowering down the current. There will be an option to do that manually or through USB.

Also, once the prototype starts to work perfectly regarding electronics, hardware and the tube, any effect might be implemented, and I'll try to make it available for people to choose and set their watches as they want.

It is too early for me to publish the insides of the tubes, because it would reveal the technology solutions too much, but I'll post some pictures of the whole, sealed tube when I assemble it, probably a glowing one. It will be in a 2 weeks of so, I am waiting for my last part from India which should arrive around February 10th.
But to give you all one hint, my tubes are not made from glass, but from metal alloy. Tube is actually a hermetic metal package with glass window on top. You'll see soon.
All glass tubes were not suitable for small dimensions. I worked with those during the first year, but I had to back out because of some unsolvable technical problems in production.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
560 Posts
suggestion perhaps patent is do to protect your intellectual work and who knows perhaps you can make royalties from it as well,
so far so good I will be checking your work for sure not sold on the watch yet but who knows.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
491 Posts
suggestion perhaps patent is do to protect your intellectual work and who knows perhaps you can make royalties from it as well,
+1000

You absolutely MUST protect your I.P. Don't post pics at all in fact until you've got it nailed down. Registery and granting of patent rights is a complex process though so I understand and not without cost.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
I have a SevenFriday P2/01 and I think that shape and size case would suit your Nixie tube concept, maybe a collaboration to build a watch together using your concept, just a thought :)
When I first saw SevenFriday I started to think to use similar shape for my watch. But I could't fit rectangular shape to look good with my tube. Main reason is that the digits look too small comparing to the case size, but with round shape that problem somehow is not that big.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
+1000

You absolutely MUST protect your I.P. Don't post pics at all in fact until you've got it nailed down. Registery and granting of patent rights is a complex process though so I understand and not without cost.

I agree, and I am working on patent along the way. Although, there are so many details from so many different areas of expertise, when it comes to manufacturing of this tube, and because of that I am not too afraid.
Anyway, I'll apply for a patent soon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Hi all you "watchers".
Very interesting design VladimirVD. I am new on this forum, but i know allot about watches. I have very large collection of soviet watches. But i like this new "Nixie way" to count time. I like it. Its very very good, hope that all go well with producing and selling this beautiful revolutionary IONIX.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
+1000

You absolutely MUST protect your I.P. Don't post pics at all in fact until you've got it nailed down. Registery and granting of patent rights is a complex process though so I understand and not without cost.
I beg to differ. I've been making Nixie watches for 10 years, and have sold a thousand of them. No one has copied my work, even though I publish the schematics and source code for my watch on my website. The reason is most likely that it's not a thing that will make me rich, so it won't make anyone else rich.

Only two things are certain:
1) By paying lawyers a lot of money to do all that legal work, the lawyers will get richer and you will get poorer.
2) If someone in China or India copies your work, you will be powerless to stop them.
 
1 - 20 of 62 Posts
Top