The Gadgets Page

December 5, 2015

DoubleTime strap for Apple and Mechanical Watches

Filed under: Watches — Matthew Strebe @ 8:32 am

Full disclosure: The author of this article is the inventor of the strap.

The DoubleTime strap is the only watch strap in the world that lets you keep the classic look and functionality of your favorite watch and add all the useful wizardry of the Apple Watch. You no longer have to choose between the classic elegance of your traditional watch or the notifications and apps you’re addicted to from your Apple Watch. With the DoubleTime, you can just have both all the time.

Double Time Front View from The Gadgets Page

In the photos above and below, you can see the DoubleTime strap on a Yacht Timer with a 38mm space grey Apple Sport Watch with black buckle and lugs. Also shown is a World Timer with a 44mm stainless steel Apple Watch and silver buckles and lugs.

Double Time Back View from The Gadgets Page

The DoubleTime strap puts your classic watch right where you’ve always had it in the normal wristwatch position, where you can check the time in a meeting without having to wake it up, and where people will notice your style. It puts your Apple Watch level with the flat bottom of your wrist.

All of the activity monitoring, pulse, and other health monitoring features work perfectly, and it wakes up when you rotate your wrist to look at it just as you’d expect. Better yet, your notifications remain private. In meetings with my hands on the table, nobody else could see my watch wake up and display notifications.

Double Time Watch Band Mechanical Face

Available in many sizes, The DoubleTime strap places both watches perfectly on the wrist for maximum comfort and ease of use. And there’s no need to worry about scratches: Apple Watches are incredibly hard. In six months of nearly constant testing, including using it while typing on an aluminum laptop, my aluminum and gorilla glass Apple Watch Sport has never acquired a blemish. The Watch and Watch Edition models are both even harder than that.

Double Time Watch Band Apple Face

The DoubleTime is subtle. In six months of prototyping and public testing, the only time people noticed the Apple Watch was when I deliberately pointed it out or they caught me taking a notification on it. At no time did it appear to be too showy. A black Apple Watch is nearly invisible with the black strap.

Double Time Watch Band Side View

The DoubleTime Strap is built with the traditional look and style of a classic leather watchband, and comes with lugs to instantly attach your Apple Watch. You can switch your Apple Watch amongst any number of DoubleTime straps so you can wear it with your entire watch collection, and you can swap the original Apple Watch bands right back on when you want to wear the Apple Watch alone.

The DoubleTime strap is especially discreet when worn with the smaller (38mm) space grey aluminum or black stainless Apple Watches, but it works perfectly well with the 42mm Apple Watch as well. The straps come with smaller 38mm lugs which match the 38mm watches and keep the strap centered in the larger 42mm Apple watches. Lugs are available in black, grey, and silver.

The DoubleTime strap is no more expensive than Apple’s straps. Our Kickstarter is coming soon, and the DoubleTime will be priced at $50 each for those in the Kickstarter campaign. After the campaign completes, the DoubleTime strap will be available from www.doubletimestrap.com for $80 each.

Sizing the Double time for perfect is complicated because the center strap has to match the size of the wrist and both watches. To size it correctly, the website asks you for your wrist circumference, Apple Watch size, and the distance between the lugs on your top-watch. The site will then determine exactly which strap segments you need and ship them.

For questions about the DoubleTime strap, please email info@doubletimestrap.com.

September 5, 2015

What the Apple Watch Could Learn From a Digital Watch

Filed under: Watches — Michael Moncur @ 10:08 pm

When Apple introduced the Apple Watch it presented it as the heir to the tradition of classic luxury mechanical watches. It has a Digital Crown. It has Complications. It’s relatively expensive, depending on which version you buy, and you can spend $400 or more on a band for it.

But one thing Apple never mentions is that the history of watches also includes the digital watches that first appeared in the 70s and gained real traction in the 80s with LCD displays. I grew up during this time and between ages 5 and 30 I owned only one analog watch (Mickey Mouse, of course) but about 30 digital ones, ranging from simple time displays to calculators and world time displays and even a Casio Databank that could store my contacts and phone numbers.

I love my Apple Watch and after owning it for a while I rely on it daily, but there are a few things I miss from those classic digital watches. Here are some ideas, some of which I’m hopeful will appear in future versions of the Apple Watch, others merely dreams…

Buttons That Change Displays

The very first LCD watches had a large display with only four digits and a punctuation mark. They usually displayed the time, but you could press a button and temporarily switch to the date, or even in some cases a display of seconds.

Some of the Apple Watch display options are just as limited as those early watches: the Motion, X-Large, and Photo displays can only display the time, and a couple of others (Solar, Astronomy) add a date to that.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a button that could alternate that time display with a date, or the stopwatch, or your heart rate? I have just the button in mind–that little square one below the crown that pulls up a list of contacts that I never use. If that button could change displays I could use some of those nice photo display options–instead, I stick with Modular because I want lots of information.

Buttons That Change Modes

Here’s another idea for that button on the side of the watch. On the more complicated digital watches that appeared later in the 80s, you could use a button to switch modes–for example stopwatch mode, countdown timer, or alarm settings. The Apple watch already has different modes–apps and glances. What if you could configure a list of your favorite glances or apps, and have the button cycle between them? I only use two or three apps regularly so this would work great for me.

I know Apple likes to avoid features like this-–buttons that change functions depending on which mode you are in, or depending on your settings–but on a watch with a limited number of buttons, it would make the watch’s many different apps and glances much easier to access.

More Buttons

I’m hopeful that Apple might add the features above–they could even avoid using the button, since currently swiping left and right on the display don’t do anything. But now let’s talk about some things that are less likely to happen–areas where my old Casio calculator watch will still have the advantage for a long time.

First, what if there were more buttons? I don’t need the full calculator, but the usual 4 buttons of an 80s digital watch would be great. Especially if I could configure them myself. I’d have a workout button and a heart rate button, and maybe a calculator button, and I wouldn’t need to use the on-screen menu at all.

Longer Battery Life

Continuing to dream the impossible… My digital watches had ridiculously long battery life. Forget charging every day, they could last for years. In fact, I usually bought a new watch before I replaced the battery. I realize that Bluetooth and the colored display make this one unlikely, but I’d love it if they could make a future model with a battery that at least lasted a few days. As it is, if I forget to charge the watch at night, I have to take it off for an hour to charge during the day.

Always-on Display

LED WatchOne final dream for a future Apple Watch. The one thing my digital watches of the 80s and the classic analog watches had in common is that the display was always visible. Due to the constraints of current technology, Apple has recreated one aspect of the earliest LED digital watches of the 1970s: the display isn’t turned on until you ask for it. This is why I don’t use any of the attractive watch faces, sticking with the information-filled Modular display instead–I can’t impress anyone with my watch face if all they see is a black square on my wrist.

Conclusion

I love the Apple Watch. To me it’s the natural successor not to the classic automatic watches, but to my late-80s calculator watch. It gives me lots of information and lets me do lots of things. I hope, either with software or hardware updates, it eventually reaches the point where the only thing I miss from those old digital watches is their sense of style.

May 17, 2015

One Month with my Apple Watch

Filed under: Watches — Laura Moncur @ 11:05 am

One Month with my Apple Watch from the Gadgets PageIt has been almost one month since I received my Apple Watch and I would like to give an update. I’ve made no qualms about how disappointed I have been with the watch designers of the world. Nearly ten years ago, I wrote an entry listing the things I wanted.

Here is what I wanted:

  • A beautiful watch
  • Women’s watch
  • Digital
  • Metal case and band
  • Time and Date on the display at the same time
  • Stopwatch
  • Countdown Timer
  • Light
  • I would also like Dual Time, but I’m willing to give that up

The Apple Watch has given me all that I asked for (except I opted for the silicone band and am still waiting for third party aluminum bands to make it onto the market). In addition to that, I have had added functionality that I never knew that I would like.

Text Messaging

I adore the messaging features on the Apple Watch. I love that I can easily see my texts and easily answer them. The dictation on the watch is amazing and I hardly ever have to cancel and start over. The silly messaging that only works between Apple Watches hasn’t been useful, but the text messaging has.

Answer the phone

I can LITERALLY answer my phone on my watch. Two days ago, I was sitting outside, reading, and my watch went off saying I had a call. My phone was in the house and I would have never made it in time, but I just answered with my watch and had an entire conversation. It was a phone call that I would have definitely missed had I not had my Apple Watch. I don’t want to talk into my watch all the time like Dick Tracy, but I do enjoy the option when I’m separated from my phone.

Time to stand

One Month with my Apple Watch from the Gadgets PageI LOVE the reminders telling me to stand. I know some people have complained about them, but my job is VERY sedentary. I NEED something to remind me to walk around for a bit so all the blood in my body doesn’t pool in my butt. In the past, I used to have a reminder on my computer, but I would just dismiss it and keep working. On the Apple Watch, there is a circle dedicated to standing every hour. I get a tiny reward every time I do it. Somehow, the goal of closing in that circle is enough to get me to get out of my chair every hour. It’s amazing that it works, but I have been faithfully walking around a little bit every hour.

I LOVE my Apple Watch

All I wanted when I bought the Apple Watch was that customizable watch face that would have whatever I wanted on it. I got that and so much more that other things don’t seem important. That blue watch band? I don’t care what color it is as long as I have this watch. That lack of a metal band? I don’t care as long as I have this watch. I love the fact that I don’t need to wear TWO watches (i.e. a Swatch and a FitBit) anymore. I love the extra features that I didn’t even know I needed. I love my Apple Watch just as much as I love my iPhone.

March 5, 2015

NO, NO! Bad Swatch!! Try Again!

Filed under: Watches — Laura Moncur @ 12:33 pm

Swatch Touch Zero from The Gadgets PageSwatch made an announcement a few weeks ago saying that they were going to enter the wearable tech market. THIS is what they are releasing.

New Swatch Touch Zero One combines design & cool new Beach Volley functions for players and fans – Step Counter, Power Hits and Power Claps.

So basically, they are giving us an ugly Fitbit Charge.

I am a HUGE fan of Swatch, as I have said in the past, but they have been WASTING their time. Almost TEN years ago, I lamented about the pathetic choice in digital watches and they are STILL blowing it.

Let’s stack it up to my “I Hate The Watch Designers of the World” List: (Continue Reading…)

February 5, 2015

Sorry, Swatch. Too Little. Too Late.

Filed under: Watches — Laura Moncur @ 3:45 pm

Sir Swatch from The Gadgets PageThis article about The Swatch Group’s announcement to release a smart watch to compete with the Apple Watch just makes my blood BOIL.

I am a HUGE Swatch fan. I have a ton of Swatch watches and a huge site dedicated to them:

Yet, when that Apple Watch is available for pre-order, I am going to be RIGHT there, refreshing my computer over and over until I can get mine. I have been screaming into the wind for nearly a DECADE about the incredible suckitude of high-end watches.

They did not listen to me TEN years ago when I complained about their watches. They didn’t try to design something prettier than a Casio or more functional than a watch with ONE complication.

Sorry, Swatch. Too little. Too Late.

December 27, 2010

Skagen Disney Watch

Filed under: Watches — Michael Moncur @ 12:07 pm

I picked up this Skagen watch at Disneyland. It looks just like their normal 3-dial watch, but with two of the dials moved in to touch the third, forming a “hidden mickey”. It’s about the most subtle Mickey Mouse watch I’ve ever seen.

Disney Skagen Watch

March 19, 2010

Swatch Colour Codes

Filed under: Watches — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Swatch Watches. I’ve written about them many times (even when I’m not writing about watches):

I originally fell in love with Swatch during the Eighties, so you can imagine my delight when the newest collection for Spring 2010 harkens back to those days. Here’s a commercial showing them off.

Benneton Ad EightiesThe models in this commercial look a lot like an old Benneton advert. The photo to the right was the closest I could find in my old advertisement collections. I didn’t realize how much I missed that sort of experimentation and daring with makeup and color until I saw it again in these Swatch ads. After years of bland neutrals, these exciting colors are enough to make me want to experiment with makeup again!

I heard about these Swatches back in February and I immediately wanted them:

I had to wait a full month before I was able to get my butt to Vegas and buy as many as I had saved up money for. Here are some photos after the break: (Continue Reading…)

December 23, 2009

A Beautiful Digital Watch

Filed under: Watches — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

1979 Sears Christmas Catalog P170 by Wishbook from FlickrRemember when digital watches tried to be beautiful?

They actually came pretty close to it. This photo is from the 1979 Sears Christmas catalog. Back then, they were doing their darndest to make digital watches look good.

Now, they have the technology and ability to make digital watches beautiful, but they DON’T. The digital watch has been relegated to the sport watch category. Sure, Kenneth Cole, Diesel and Fossil have a couple of nods to the beautiful digital watch category, but only for men and the watches they’ve made available are USELESS. They take up the same amount of space as a fully functional heart rate monitor, yet they just show the time. Some of them show you the date, but you can’t depend on it.

Dear watchmakers of the world: I’m ready for my beautiful digital watch now!!

May 27, 2009

Watch Drawer Hack

Filed under: Watches — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

If you haven’t noticed, I love watches and have too many to really keep nearby. My favorites were thrown in a drawer, which made it difficult to find them and easy to scratch their crystals. I decided to create a watch drawer so I could easily store my favorite watches. Here are the results.

Watch Drawer Hack by LauraMoncur from Flickr

This is a fairly easy project and the watch holders can also be used for bracelets. It took me one day to complete the project from start to finish.

Watch Drawer Hack by LauraMoncur from FlickrTools and Materials:

  • PVC Pipe (cut to the proper length at the home improvement store)
  • Foam Pipe Insulation
  • Scissors to cut the insulation
  • Closet bar holders (one for each watch holder you want)
  • Screwdriver with a short handle (to fit in the drawer)
  • SHORT screws that will fit in the closet bar holders (the ones that come with them are WAY too long)

Directions:

  • Measure the inner width of your drawer so you know the length of PVC pipes you need. Decide how many watch holders you want. I filled my entire drawer with them, but you can a few or many as you want.

  • At the home improvement store, buy a length of PVC pipe that is enough for as many watch holders you want. They can cut the pipe for you at the store and I HIGHLY recommend that you use that service. At first, I tried to cut the pipe with a hack saw. It worked, but the edges were so rough that it wasn’t pretty, so I went back to the store and bought some MORE pipe and let them cut it for me. The edges are much cleaner.

  • I used 1″ diameter PVC pipe and the corresponding 1″ insulation, which was the perfect diameter for my watches, but you might want a slightly larger diameter if you are a man or prefer your watches to be loose on your wrist.

  • The foam pipe insulation should be in the plumbing aisle as well. Choose the insulation that is the same pipe size as your PVC pipe. It is meant to be slit open so it can be fitted over existing piping, but you shouldn’t cut along that mark. If you keep it intact, it will look very nice when it is slid onto the PVC pipe.

  • The closet bar holders were in the closet section. You can get them in plastic or wood. Since my PVC pipe was white, the plastic matched very well. The watches aren’t going to be heavy, so you don’t have to worry about getting something that sturdy.

  • When I got back home, I cut the foam insulation to be almost as long as the PVC pipe (see photo above) and slid the pre-cut pipes into the insulation.

  • Make sure you measure where you’re going to put your watch holders carefully. If you notice, I have an extra hole in my drawer where I screwed up the first time and didn’t leave enough room for the watch holder AND the watch. I measured about an inch below the top of the drawer, so there would be room for the watches to fit when the drawer is closed. If you are going to have more than one watch holder, make sure you leave at least one inch between them as well.

  • Attach half of the closet rod holder onto the side of the drawer. I had to buy short screws that would fit in the closet bar holder holes because the ones that came with it were LONG and made to hold up a closet rod, not a light watch holder.

Watch Drawer Hack by LauraMoncur from Flickr

  • On the the other side of the drawer, I attached the other closet rod holder. Screwing in the screws was difficult for me because my drawer was so narrow that my normal screwdriver wouldn’t fit. I had to go back to the home improvement store to buy a stubby little screwdriver to use instead.

Watch Drawer Hack by LauraMoncur from Flickr

  • Add watches and place the watch holders into the drawer.

Watch Drawer Hack by LauraMoncur from Flickr

This set up has made it SO much easier for me to choose a watch each day. I hope it helps you as well.

March 18, 2009

How To Set the Swatch Luar Moon Phase Watch

Filed under: Watches — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

How To Set the Swatch Luar Moon Phase Watch by LauraMoncur from FlickrSometimes I realize that I’m writing an entry that only a SMALL number of people on the planet have any interest in, but when I’m one of those people, it makes it worth it to me. Last week, I finally got my Luar Swatch from Squiggly. The Luar is a VERY rare watch that is only sold the Swatch Luxury Store on the Via Della Spiga in Milano and on the Place Vendome in Paris. It is also the first Swatch with a moon phase.

Setting it was a bitch…

Since it keeps track of day of the week, month, date, time and moon phase, you can understand why it might be difficult to set a watch like this with only one crown. I scanned in the directions, but even with their help, it took Mike and I about ten minutes to figure out how to set the watch.

How To Set the Swatch Luar Moon Phase Watch by LauraMoncur from Flickr

The crown has three positions. The A position is when it’s pushed all the way in. You can’t set anything in this position. The C position is when it’s pulled all the way out. The B position is the click between all the way in and all the way out. My biggest problem is that I read the directions to mean that there were FOUR positions. I didn’t realize A was all the way in. I thought there were three pulled out positions.

To set the day of the week (Sun, Mon, etc.):

Pull the crown all the way out (position C) and turn the time to just after midnight. The setting will click to the next day. To advance it an additional day, you don’t have to turn the hands another twenty four hours. You can turn the hands backward to before midnight (you will see the day of the week setting click a little, but not go backwards), then turn the hands past midnight again.

I recommend setting the day of the week setting to YESTERDAY. You’ll see why later.

To set the date:

How To Set the Swatch Luar Moon Phase Watch by LauraMoncur from FlickrPull the crown one click out (position B) and turn the crown away from you (clockwise). This will advance the day indicator (it looks like a second hand). To set the month, you have to keep turning until you get past an entire year. There is no separate way to set the month. To make the correct month show, you must keep turning the crown past every day of the year until you get to the correct day.

I recommend setting the date to YESTERDAY. I’ll explain why later.

To set the moon phase:

Pull the crown one click out (position B) and turn the crown toward you (counter clockwise). To find out what phase the moon is currently in, here are a couple of websites:

Once again, set it to the moon phase for YESTERDAY.

To set the time:

Pull the crown all the way out (position C) and turn the crown either away or towards you to set the time. Keep turning the time away from you (clockwise) until you get past midnight. Once you get past midnight, ALL the settings should change (day of the week, date and moon phase). Now you KNOW you’re on today’s date at just after midnight. Set the correct time and your Luar watch is ready to go!

Review

How To Set the Swatch Luar Moon Phase Watch by LauraMoncur from FlickrMany of the Swatch enthusiasts were disappointed that the Luar is a battery powered watch instead of an automatic. With a price tag of approximately $450, it’s a little much to expect an automatic with a real moon phase. I’ve talked at length about what I desire in a watch here:

My desires have changed a lot since that day nearly four years ago when I went looking for the perfect watch. I still haven’t found it, but the Luar was able to do more than any other beautiful watch. Here were my criteria and how the Luar stands up to it:

How To Set the Swatch Luar Moon Phase Watch by LauraMoncur from Flickr

  • A beautiful watch: The Luar is definitely beautiful. It’s the moon phase and the simplicity of one crown that make the Luar look so good to me.
  • Women’s watch: The Luar is too big for my wrist. It’s a man’s watch, but I’ve given up on having a women’s watch with a day/date/month feature. If I ever find one, I’ll let you know.
  • Digital: I had to give up digital. NO ONE makes beautiful digital watches. I’ll just have to finally learn how to tell time with an analog watch.
  • Metal case and band: The Luar has that.
  • Time and Date on the display at the same time: This is one of the best features of the Luar.
  • Stopwatch: There is no stopwatch (chronograph), but I run with my iPod and Nike+ all the time now. Not only does it log my workout times, but it uploads them to my computer automatically. I don’t need a stopwatch on my wrist anymore.
  • Countdown Timer: There is no countdown timer, but my iPhone has taken the place of my need for one on my wrist.
  • Light: There is no light, but the hands are glow in the dark. That doesn’t help me at two in the morning when the glow has worn off, however.
  • Dual Time: I had to give this up as well.

So, with a rating of three features out of nine desires, the Luar looks like it just doesn’t stack up, but it’s the ONLY watch that has come this close. Keep trying, watch designers of the world. You just might make a watch specifically for me.

Update 04-29-13: Thank goodness I wrote this entry. The battery finally died on my watch and I had to reset it. The whole process was MUCH easier this time because of what I had written. On another note, I still ADORE this watch, but I have gone blind and can’t read the month or day of the week without reading glasses, so it’s less useful to me than some other watches I have. Doesn’t stop me from wearing it, though. If I REALLY need to know that info, I can pull out my phone.

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