Ransū – A Puzzling Watch Design

Design submitted by Matt from Canada.

Matt says: “This is Ransū, which mean “random numbers” in Japanese. The idea is to have a grid of numbers and hide the time inside it.

There is a hidden mode and a normal mode. The hidden mode consists of using 6 segments instead of 7 by having only the junction (T, L and I shaped) and extremity of the digit visible.


The normal mode has “full rectangle” digits, or could be a conventional 7 segments.

The useless numbers change to a random number when the time, on that column or row, change. Or can be previous/next digits. The 1st model consists of a 6×3 grid with the exact time on the 2nd row.

The 2nd model consists of a 4×4 grid with the exact time positioned as a column. This one also include the month and date, which fully take the 1st or 4th row.

Peoples who like Sudoku, or any other logic-based, combinatorial number-placement puzzle, are the target market. Here are some examples of the time in different modes:”


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17 Responses to “Ransū – A Puzzling Watch Design”

  1. avatar Patrick says:

    A bit complicated for me, but 5 * / Yes for research.

  2. avatar Heather says:

    If it’s LCD, you can’t really have all those modes. I’d say stick with only the “Hidden Mode” 4×4. The rest are not as good IMHO. But I really do like that one. :) The shape of the display is better for the size of the watch, and less useless info. I do like the random number idea to fill in the extra digits on the sides – tricky, tricky. Very creative. 5* for the Hidden Mode 4×4. (I should mention though, that it is not 6 segments – you need 8 segments to distinguish the 0 from the 8)

    • avatar Heather says:

      it made a smiley with sunglasses, but it was supposed to say “distinguish the 0 from the 8″. lol.

    • avatar Makkovik says:

      TY Heather.

      I also prefer the Hidden mode. If it was possible to put multiple mode, the others could be used for practice. I made the 4×4 after the 6×3 because I like to have the month-date always on & the watch is less wide.

      But I like the previous/next possibility of the 6×3. (I also didn’t want to send multiple submission)

      You don’t need 8 segments to distinguish the 0 & 8: For the 0, the two segments in the middle go like this | |. For the 8 they go like this |- -|. (the |- are connected)

    • avatar Makkovik says:

      The “Maze” is LCD & have 2 mode !

  3. avatar Pete says:

    Looks complicated at first glance but is pretty simple when you know which digits are doing the work.
    I would like the other unessesary digits to also mean something too (not neseserilly the time) just so they have more purpose than just camoflauge. (subjective thing) Nice work Matt! I support it but is not for me. 5/N Best of luck sir! :D

    • avatar Makkovik says:

      A nice comment ending with 5 no = ouch. (probably a typo)

      For the 6×3: The purpose of adding useless number was to have a grid & not a normal 6 digits on a row. This is why I made 2 previous/next mode. On the 4×4, they are used for symmetry. But a “T” or an “anchor” could work.

      The Hidden mode was made to look complex with all the small rectangle/dotted lines.

      Ty for your support.

      • avatar Pete says:

        Sorry for the no Makko! Not all designs will suit everyone unfortunately. But I think the concept has merit and is definitely support worthy just doesn’t get me hot under the collar for some reason. I think the 6×3 version with previous and next digit appeals the most to me as the extra numbers have a reason for being and should give the seconds plenty of animation. Hopefully it will get others more excited and get the ratings it deserves! :D

        • avatar Makkovik says:

          “Not all designs will suit everyone unfortunately.” That’s ok. & ty for sharing it on fb.

          The seconds animation should be nice. (I haven’t tried it)

          What do you think of this: adding a 4th row to the 6×3 for the month-date-year or 2 digits weekday-month-date.

        • avatar Pete says:

          I think an extra row would make the design more complicated looking personally. I would be more tempted to have a date mode rather than complicating the display further. I think it would be nice to add three distinct sections to the lens, facets if you like which would add clarity and stylie feature. :D

        • avatar Makkovik says:

          One of the trial had continuous lines between each number, but I wasn’t satisfied.

          For the 6×3 : I could try to have continuous lines between each row. Another trial had month-date under it but I wasn’t satisfied with the result, because it had 4 digits, not 6. Having a faceted lens would work, but I didn’t know how to make a lens. ( now I know how & it’s being used for the next model )

        • avatar Makkovik says:

          A date mode using previous/next would work. It could use the 3rd button. ( top/right)

  4. avatar Makkovik says:

    Ty TF for posting it.

  5. avatar Matthew says:

    I love this design. At first it seemed to me that it would be challenging to figure out the time, but it is pretty simple. I really like the idea of having the time “hidden” within random digits.

  6. avatar Samukun says:

    The hidden mode would be my choice. The others look too traditional for me. Stacking all informative numbers together is not a too bad idea. I thought about such just for fun before I knew there was Tokyoflash hehe. But how it could be made purchase-worthy? For me personally it’s just numbers, just more numbers than normal. No aesthetic twist, no artistic theme. I know, applying a theme could turn the watch into a cheesy geek toy. But this would be Tokyoflash’s route and they would take this risk rather than goind mainstream or traditional I think. That’s why I prefer the hidden mode. It looks new/strange/unidentifyable at the first moment. That would make people go wtf when they first see it on your wrist xD That’s what watches can do these days – not being mere time tellers but telling a little story or being a communication starter. Well keep it up Matt. Enjoy the creative process and good luck!

    • avatar Makkovik says:

      I understand your point about theme because I had a few idea similar to TF “maze” without the maze theme so I never did them.

      Personally, The hidden is my favorite because the 16/18 digits are slashed in many tiny rectangles.
      I like the “normal” mode because it’s like the “maze”, but still vertical rectangles.
      The “7 segments” where planed at the last minutes.

      For the case, I prefer a sober look, like the Adjust/Logo/Maze/Optical illusion/Oto/Upload/X. The links could be divided by 3, but again I prefer a simpler look.

      A note about the size : my models are 42x33mm for the 6×3 & 30×42 for the 4×4. ( – 2mm per side for the case ) This mean that the “Time examples” are a bit smaller than reality. Each digits are 4x7mm & each spaces are 2mm wide.

  7. avatar José says:

    Great job and a very interesting concept.
    My support. Good luck Matt