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Science Meets Style In This Cathode Tube Watch

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the back-to-the-tubes dept.

Technology 190

scope-n-SHOUT writes "The Nixie Watch displays the time on nixie tubes, a cold-cathode tube filled with neon, a little mercury and argon at a small fraction of atmospheric pressure. Nixies were used in many early electronic desktop calculators, including the first: the vacuum tube-based Sumlock-Comptometer Anita Mk VII in 1961. This two-digit wristwatch is designed for everyday use, being water-resistant and rugged, not to mention looking really retro-future cool. The watch requires no button pushing to operate - it shows the hours, minutes and seconds in sequence at the flick of the wrist. For the hardcore code tweaker, a programming adapter allows the GPL'd PIC firmware running the watch to be hacked up at will. The Nixie Watch is being sold in very limited edition, with each piece individually numbered and engraved."

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MOD THE TROLL DOWN!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262241)

MOD THE TROLL DOWN!!!

MOD THE PARENT UP!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262287)

MOD THE PARENT UP!!!

MOD THE PARENT DOWN!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262321)

MOD THE PARENT DOWN!!!

MOD THE TROLL UP!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262332)

MOD THE TROLL UP!!!

Re:MOD THE OVERRATED UP!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262392)

MOD THE OVERRATED UP!!!

MOD THE UNDERRATED DOWN!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262413)

MOD THE UNDERRATED DOWN!!!

MOD THE REDUNDANT INFORMATIVE!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262424)

(n/t)








keke i lied

Mod Sam-Zen-Pus into oblivion!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262489)

Eeeeewww - Pus. Yuuck.

fp? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262246)

i bet i get pipped at the post.

Why a watch? (4, Insightful)

avalys (221114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262253)

It seems like a watch is the wrong form factor for this thing. The idea is really cool, and I think I might actually buy one if it was made as a desk clock, but I wouldn't want that enormous hockey-puck-sized-thing strapped to my wrist all day.

Re:Why a watch? (5, Informative)

Jerry Coffin (824726) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262305)

It seems like a watch is the wrong form factor for this thing. The idea is really cool, and I think I might actually buy one if it was made as a desk clock, but I wouldn't want that enormous hockey-puck-sized-thing strapped to my wrist all day.

Something like one of these [amug.org] or these [electricstuff.co.uk] ?

Re:Why a watch? (1)

Archon-X (264195) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262306)

Oh you mean like
http://www.hack.net/nixie/ [hack.net]

Keep it quiet, or the link will get front page'd .. again.. :-\

Re:Why a watch? (1)

deetsay (703600) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262481)

Ah, OK... I thought the numbers appearing inside the tube were pretty sci-fi, but looking at the big picture on that page, it seems there's actually 10 little tubes inside there, bent to the shape of numbers, and I guess it just picks one to light up. Apparently they hadn't come up with the idea of using just 7 segments yet. :-)

Can you bend cold cathode tubes (that people use to light up the insides of their computers) over a candle..?

Re:Why a watch? (1)

Archon-X (264195) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262556)

Not sure, sounds like a neat idea though.
The first thing that jumps into my head though, would be that you'd cook the fine balance of gas, but it is a sealed system..

Re:Why a watch? (1)

deetsay (703600) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262563)

Yeah.. Xenon schmenon!

No, its different. (3, Informative)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262743)

We have really old (and back then expensive) frequency counters here that use the same display technology.

Its basically a glow discharge tube like you can find them as gadgets sometimes (like a hearth, or a number or so glowing). The glow is around the kathode, which can be formed however you want.

So this tubes have 10 different kathodes in one tube, sorted by visibility (to but the "big" shapes back as to not hinder the view to other ones). All in all, you can see that they are in different planes (about 5-8mm or so, which makes neat effects for a frequency counter (as the digit seems to jump rapidly, seemingly randomly back and forth in 3d-space)).

Re:Why a watch? (1)

WalksOnDirt (704461) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262757)

A candle is not hot enough to soften most glass. If you do heat it enough, there is a near vacuum in the tube so it will collapse unless you were working under similar low pressure.

No joy...

Re:Why a watch? (2, Interesting)

Detritus (11846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14263042)

A 7-segment display needs a 7-segment decoder to drive the appropriate segments for each digit. That's a fair bit of extra circuitry and expense when your logic circuits are built from discrete components.

Some older equipment used displays that were like miniature slide projectors. Each digit had a small rear projection screen. Behind that screen was an assembly of miniature light bulbs and optical slides. When one of the light bulbs was turned on, its light passed through an optical slide that had an image of the desired digit. It produced a very readable display, better than Nixies or 7-segments. This display was designed and manufactured by Industrial Electronic Engineers, Inc. starting back in the late 1950s, and amazingly enough is still alive and in the display business.

Watch a Cathode Tube? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262399)

Um.. ok. I've seen plenty of cathodes on tubes -- even touched one or two in my lifetime (never intentionally), but why in Hell would anyone want to sit around and WATCH one?

Re:Why a watch? (1)

dancallaghan (890674) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262672)

It seems like a watch is the wrong form factor for this thing. The idea is really cool, and I think I might actually buy one if it was made as a desk clock, but I wouldn't want that enormous hockey-puck-sized-thing strapped to my wrist all day.

Although currently sold out, it seems the same guy [cathodecorner.com] has made some much [cathodecorner.com] cooler [cathodecorner.com] desk clocks in the past.

So its basically the complement of Slashdot (4, Funny)

ghoul (157158) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262254)

where Science meets a total lack of style ;)

Re:So its basically the complement of Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262289)

Check out the file name of the image on the main page (the one with the guy looking at the watch).

$395 too! (4, Interesting)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262722)

If I wanted to buy a watch that guaranteed I would never get laid, I certainly wouldn't have to spend [thinkgeek.com] that [thinkgeek.com] much [thinkgeek.com] on it.

What time is it? (4, Funny)

Bonker (243350) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262255)

*flick* *flick* *flick*

Dammit... too far.

*flick* *flick* *flick*

11... No, I'm sorry, that's the minutes.

*flick* *flick* *flick*

Something 11.

*flick*

And 15 seconds.

Old school hip (1)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262260)

Its simply amazing how what can be considered today as antique technology that would be sitting in some electronics museum to a "hip" new product. As Old Skewl goes, this is pretty geeky!

Bannanatree3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262558)

Um, yeah. You have got a lot of sit-down-and-think time in front of you if there were actually two other "Bananatree" users before you and you STILL chose to become number three. I'm not even including the stream-of-huh? statement you made.

Originality just isn't your strong suit, is it?

Not (4, Insightful)

DumbSwede (521261) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262264)

"...really retro-future cool" -- NOT

Maybe 4 smaller nixie tubes, but this first hours then minutes then seconds display on two digits looks more like a bad high school science project than a must have geek item.

Re:Not (1)

realbadjuju (870896) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262506)

This guy [amug.org] made one with 4 digits, and he's the fist thing to come up when you google "nixie watch". Oh, wait, it's the same guy. Don't know why he when from 4 to 2 digits.

Re:Not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262524)

Huh. You're right, it is the same guy (Forbes). WTF, that four-digit model was definitely cooler.

Re:Not (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262739)

Because the new one's only half as cool.

One small problem... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262265)

One small problem... it's fucking ENORMOUS! It looks like it weighs about 20 kilos. My wrist hurts just looking at it.

Thank you, Johnny Olsen. (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262277)

This fabulous Nixie Watch could be yours if... the price is right.

Re:Thank you, Johnny Olsen. (2, Insightful)

redheaded_stepchild (629363) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262502)

At 395 bucks I think I can say for sure, the price is not even close to right.

Re:Thank you, Johnny Olsen. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262627)

by redheaded_stepchild

I just don't get the dumbing down of "bastard son" to "red-headed stepchild."

I hear it more than I should. What is it? Lack of commitment to an idea? Laziness? Stupidity? Angst? Antipathy? A bastard is a bastard is a bastard is a bastard is a bastard is a bastard is a bastard is a bastard is a bastard no matter how you candy-coat it.

What's YOUR excuse? Oh, I forgot, YOU are a "redheaded stepchild" -- Oooohhhh! I'm soooooo impressed.

A real conversation with my wife (4, Funny)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262279)

Me: Hey, honey - take a look at this watch.

My Lovely Wife (MLW): Oh - uh, what is that?

Me: Cathode ray tube watch.

MLW: Oh. How much is it?

Me: About $400.

MLW: $400 for that?

Me: Yeah. And you know what?

MLW: What?

Me: That is the exactly opposite of what kind of a watch I want you to buy me for Giftmas someday.

MLW: Got it.

Re:A real conversation with my wife (2, Funny)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262401)

Exact opposite? So you're waiting for the anode version?

Re:A real conversation with my wife (1, Funny)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262442)

I thought he was waiting for the version that uses a positron-emitting cathode.

Re:A real conversation with my wife (1)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262468)

I'd like an anti-matter watch. I mean - at least then I wouldn't ever have to worry about telling time once I turned it on, right?

Re:A real conversation with my wife (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262614)

That's not just funny, that's ART!

While I'm at it, I love how they claim it's a limited edition and every watch has its own engraved serial. My Seiko has its own serial number engraved in the metal and, last time I checked, they didn't claim to be producing it in infinite quantities.
 

Re:A real conversation with my wife (1)

tomw576 (902251) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262637)

Ahhhhhh.... so she wants a really cheap one

Not the only one (4, Informative)

wkitchen (581276) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262281)

It's been done before. And with more digits [nyud.net] .

Re:Not the only one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262459)

Yeah, I was just gonna say I liked the older one better for having more digits (and the Krusty The Clown brand battery label). But you will notice there's a link to this watch's site on that page. :)

Too bad these weren't around in 1984... (2, Interesting)

Tsar (536185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262282)

Terry Gilliam would have loved to have had these in Brazil [imdb.com] !

Or how about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262610)

Having them in Fallout [nma-fallout.com] ? I think they'd make ane excellent adition to the post-nuclear-war-gizmo-mania-galore!

sTUPID aMERican Dream (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262284)

makes no sense at all... slashdot is getting stupidier by the minute

Re:sTUPID aMERican Dream (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262307)

what the fuck is a TUPIDMERD or a saicanream???!?!?!?!?!

Cost vs. Reward (3, Funny)

mister_llah (891540) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262285)

Cathode Tube Watch: $395
Tiger Print Suit: $2530
Authentic Aviator Goggles: $125

Realizing that you have the fashion sense of Helen Keller: Priceless

The Wind o' the Hawk (1)

kahei (466208) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262807)


Wow, it's the outfit Bob Calvert dreamed of but could never afford!

This Bob Calvert reference was brought to you by a stubborn desire to refer to the things that nobody else bothers to refer to. I would type more but I'd hate to give away too many clues to the sonic conspiracy.

It's so cheap too! (1)

DocOmega (876655) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262288)

"The nixie watch is in stock and costs $395 plus shipping."

Wow! /me pulls out plastic.

Really, this is just sad. It's ugly too: look. [cathodecorner.com]

Slashdotted already? (3, Funny)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262300)

What, are they running the webserver on Nixie tubes, too?

what site is this? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262302)

Did slashdot turn into Gizmodo all of a sudden?

No wait, the stuff on Giz is actually COOL. My bad.

Science Meets Style??? (2, Funny)

syousef (465911) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262312)

More like impracticality meets extravagance.

OR... (1)

ducati999 (938597) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262318)

You could cram a lot of PDA into that beast instead.

Retro-future cool (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262327)

aka
I'm a big faggot
My mouth is here for you
Ghluahlgahlguhalguhgluag

Re:Retro-future cool (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262485)

Oh so close to a haiku, better luck next time.

Re:Retro-future cool (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262622)

Oh so close to a haiku. Better luck next time. Winter smells like snow.

Re:Retro-future cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262776)

Fucking formatting.
'twas set to HTML.
I forgot the

's.

So when did /. become such an ad pusher? (2, Insightful)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262335)

Just wondering. Did you get any decent amount of money for that huge ad? I sure hope you did since this probably sent more traffic their way then anything else has in the past.

Re:So when did /. become such an ad pusher? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262501)

Just wondering. Did you get any decent amount of money for that huge ad?

OMG!!!! SLASHDOT is linking to an item FOR SALE!!!!
LIES CORRUPTION END OF THE WORLD!!!!

... or maybe it's just a link to a small company with a cool product. Stop acting so self-righteous and get over yourself.
Are you really suggesting that slashdot shouldn't link to any product or service that is offered for sale?

Re:So when did /. become such an ad pusher? (2, Insightful)

Total_Wimp (564548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262669)

Just wondering. Did you get any decent amount of money for that huge ad? I sure hope you did since this probably sent more traffic their way then anything else has in the past.

I don't understand how this got modded +5 "Insightful." I mean, were all the XBOX 360 articles somehow enlightening to geeks, but this one is all of a sudden an "advertisement" because some dude will (gasp!) make money off of the product?

I just checked the front page (3:35 am EST) and found that 4 of the 10 articles are about either for-profit companies or the products they sell. Until geeks stop liking to buy stuff, maybe you should save this kind of comment for Mother Jones magazine or something.

I don't mean to crack on you so hard but, damn, the product is nerdy ("news for nerds"). I might buy into your logic if the article was about scrub brushes or something.

TW

Re:So when did /. become such an ad pusher? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262765)

I don't understand how this got modded +5 "Insightful."

Same way Saddam Hussein got modded -1, Dangerous. Herd mentality...

Skip it, thanks... (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262344)

The "sold out" desk and wall clocks are MUCH cooler.

Re:Skip it, thanks... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262464)

I discovered the scope clock on my own some time ago. Now -that- thing is cool. It draws the numbers using vectors, not scanning and looks awesome. He's been sold out for quite some time but now that he's slashdotted, he oughta put the thing back on the market.

Re:Skip it, thanks... (0, Offtopic)

doubtless (267357) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262604)

but same can't be said about the "sell out" slashdot editor, sick.

This actually is a pretty cool watch... (5, Insightful)

John Miles (108215) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262352)

... if only for its homebrew-deco appeal. According to the .PDF copy of the user manual on the site, the software that runs it is GPL'ed and fully user-compilable/modifiable. The complete schematic is provided with a nifty discussion of the underlying circuit theory.

Aesthetically, yeah, it's hard to argue that it's not a piece of junk. The first thing you notice -- because your eye expects to see two more Nixie tubes -- is the huge battery next to the two that are present. That should have been a stack of heavy-duty lithium coin cells mounted out of sight. If they'd gone that route, then the housing could have accommodated three tubes... which 85% of the time is all you need, right?

It doesn't deserve the bashing it's getting on a "News for Nerds" site, at any rate. Everybody reading Slashdot has scarier stuff than this in their (psychic?) basements.

Re:This actually is a pretty cool watch... (1)

DeafByBeheading (881815) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262674)

If they'd gone that route, then the housing could have accommodated three tubes... which 85% of the time is all you need, right?


If this were giving time in hex, three tubes is all you'd need 100% of the time (assuming a twelve-hour clock).

...power is a problem... (3, Informative)

nickds (849306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262975)

He looked at lithium cells, but the supplier would not let him have samples, and the MOQ was in the order of 10,000 units (or $$, I can't remember), so the "common camera battery" route was taken... Again, it's a compromise. The reason the tilt-detector (a solid-state Analogue Devices unit) is used is that the HT converter is only activated whn the watch is at 45 degrees or so the the Earth. As you tilt the watch, you can just hear the HT boost converter starting (a very slight whstling) if you put your ear to the watch... Assuming the HT supply is 90% efficient (typical for this sort of unit), to get 180VDC at 3mA, you need about 200mA at 3V from the battery - Obviously you can't let that run continuously as any battery would be flat in a few hours, hence the tilt-detectors. Everything is a compromise... but it really does work... Nicko

WOW.... that watch is UGLY. (1)

atarione (601740) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262358)

that is one fucking painfully ugly watch.... I have yet to see on of these "nerd" watches I would actaully wear... as others said... this thing with hours/min..etc as a wall clock could be kewl... but as a watch it is only a good idea ...... if you find yourself constantly having to fight off the ladies with a stick and you are looking for sure fire sex repellant.

Re:WOW.... that watch is UGLY. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262866)

Trust me, it does not work. :( I still have to use white socks as a backup system.

Back in the day... (4, Interesting)

boomgopher (627124) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262394)

When I was in the military some years back, we were still using some test equipment with these tubes as displays. The subtle beauty of them is when the digits would cycle through a sequence, you'd notice the position/depth change as it changed to a new digit. Coupled with the fadeout of the deactivated digit, it was a fascinating to watch.

Re:Back in the day... (1)

rusty0101 (565565) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262520)

The last thing I remember seeing these in was a frequency counter. Nothing else really needed a numeric display, and the equipment that the frequency counter was being used on predated the nixi tubes anyway. (1950-1965 era military equipment.)

I don't think there was a maintenance tech in his right mind that would have suggested taking one of those frequency counters to the field.

Whether there were that many maintenance techs that were in their right mind to begin with is an entirely different question, which I won't even suggest persuing.

-Rusty

Re:Back in the day... (4, Funny)

cocotoni (594328) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262570)

You Sir are the last person I would like to have watching the countdown for an important defense missile:

10... 9... 8... 7... 6... ooh, shiny... 4... and look at the depth change...

Only kidding :)

Obligatory... (1)

siwelwerd (869956) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262725)

"1,2,5!"
"No, 3 sir!"
"3!!"

What I would like to see (1)

this great guy (922511) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262395)

is a watch like this one, but instead of using nixie tubes, it would use those green-blue displays also used in some old calculators. Does it exist ?

UG-LY (-1, Troll)

kuzb (724081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262402)

Damn, how the hell did this story get accepted? That is by far the UGLIEST thing I've ever seen. What's next, is slashdot going to try to bring back 80's hairstyles?

Re:UG-LY (1, Funny)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262582)

how the hell did this story get accepted? That is by far the UGLIEST thing I've ever seen.
It was probably accepted as a test to separate the nerds from the non-nerds. This is the "News for Nerds" site, after all.

Everyone complaining about it being ugly is clearly not a nerd, since a nerd doesn't care whether a watch is ugly.

Somebody say 80's hairstyles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262763)

Arnold, who never had a cool hairstyle in his life, just killed the guy who was sporting this fro [wikipedia.org] in the early 80s....

Meh, if it was trully geek (3, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262420)

it would tell time in hex :P

DIY (1)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262827)

...it would tell time in hex

According to the .PDF copy of the user manual on the site, the software that runs it is GPL'ed and fully user-compilable/modifiable.

Go for it!

Re:DIY (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#14263041)

Nixie tubes had/have ten filaments for the digits 0-9. Seven segment displays were invented later.

time to get a new arm model (1)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262477)

1. slap retro-futuristic watch on skinny, hairy model 2. ?? 3. profit

geek application (1)

acslat3r (848858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262491)

Just imagine if this was hacked to display text two letters at a time. With rhythmic motions of the wrist it could output pornographic text. This would me a stellar stocking stuffer.

Re:geek application (1)

cocotoni (594328) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262574)

Nixies have a limited set of symbols they display - they are not your average 7 segment display. Normaly they would have only digits 0-9, as you see each digit is a separate fillament in the tube. So they are not used for displayin text.

Slashdot meets... (0, Offtopic)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262495)

... cheap advertising. All that was missing was a "step right up" intro.

Two digits! (1)

ydra2 (821713) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262542)

Woo Hoo!! I can tell what hour of the day it is now without looking at the sun. This is really cool ancient technology, especially since I can't find a reasonably priced watch that can tell me what time it is. I'm tired of watches that give me weather reports and time zone data and underwater depth readings and everything but the time of day. This is the one for me. Not very granular, but at least a step in the right direction.

Re:Two digits! (1)

terciops (892942) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262573)

Yes but it doesn't show the 22g wires running up his arm to the battery pack on his back. It is guaranteed for life - if it fails it electrocutes you ...

Geeky? No. Pricey? Yes (1)

layer3switch (783864) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262595)

For $29.99, I rather get this time keeper.
http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/watches/6e72/ [thinkgeek.com]

Just look at those gorgeous layout and colors... It's just too bad, it's not on sales any more...

Science Meets Style (3, Informative)

marcushnk (90744) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262613)

Science Meets Style... and Style walks away with a bloody nose.

Seriously people.. this does not look cool, neat, retro, funky or any thing other than an ugly lump on the end of an appendage.

Options? (1)

uberdave (526529) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262638)

Does it come with an optional B-battery carrying case?

Not for me (1)

Zog The Undeniable (632031) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262658)

Apart from the bulk, battery life is "a few months" - reminiscent of the first digital watches which used LEDs, so the display had to be turned on to read the time. Still, an unsubtle but doubtless effective bit of late product p1mpage in time for Christmas ;-)

Much cooler version (2, Informative)

wrmrxxx (696969) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262659)

There's been a very impressive Nixie wristwatch at http://www.amug.org/~jthomas/watch.html [amug.org] for quite a while now - he made it in 2001. The fact that it doesn't even use a microcontroller makes it that much cooler. Less flexible because you can't re-program it, but far more in keeping with the theme of the project.

Science meets style? (3, Interesting)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262660)

Obsolete engineering meets design disaster area.

Seriously, years ago I actually encountered a Geiger counter (don't ask) which used transistors to drive Nixie tubes. In those days there were no high voltage transistors, so it worked around the idea that the Nixies turned off at a certain voltage, therefore the VEBO of the transistors did not need to exceed the difference between the high voltage rail and the Nixie cutoff voltage.

Did you notice the words "Geiger counter" there? Yes. Of course, if the radiation reached a level sufficient to ionise the gas in the tubes, they stayed conducting. So turning a small gamma source on the tubes themselves blew all the output transistors.

It's not that simple... (5, Informative)

nickds (849306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262814)

Making a nixie watch is enormously complicated - the power issues are complex - the tubes need 180VDC at a few mA to strike, but the batteries must last for 6 months or so. Each watch is hand made and uses lots of SMD components - the tubes are indeed not the smallest available as they are not made any more, so you can only use "common tubes" - the earlier 4-tube watch mentioned used JAN7009/4998 tubes which are extremely rare (the builder found a one-off small batch at a hamfest), and can't be used for commercial construction. It's not ideal, using these tubes, but it does work. Other common small tubes, like the Russian IN-17s have other problems (they are too deep). I actually have one of these watches (a prototype), and it attracts nothing but admiration, even from my wife & daughter. You do need big wrists, though (I'm 6' 4" tall and 103kg)... David only did this as a bit of fun - he deserves credit for producing something that's fun, with little profit (if any) for an awful lot of hard work. Nicko

some more... (1)

sheimers (151991) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262913)

http://www.electricstuff.co.uk/nixiegallery.html [electricstuff.co.uk]

http://www.stefankneller.de/elektronik/nixiegaleri e.html [stefankneller.de]

And the very best, a digital clock where the whole logic, not only the display, is built with tubes:

http://www.jogis-roehrenbude.de/Leserbriefe/Bruegm ann-Digital-Roehren-Clock/Digital-Roehrenuhr.htm [jogis-roehrenbude.de]

Holy mother of von Neumann (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14262972)

That last dude... holy shit. He is a HARDCASE.

I bow in his general direction.

The only problem... (2, Funny)

squoozer (730327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14262931)

... after 3 weeks of wearing this watch your hand goes black and drops off.

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