‘Deflection’ analog watch uses optical distortion to tell the time

Design submitted by Peter from the UK.

Peter says: Back in August 2012 I submitted a design called “Grid” which displayed the time in a very simple analogue format using a projected grid onto slightly 3D looking hands or discs. This gave the watch a retro futuristic look but would have been tricky to make due to the projection element.

This design called “Deflection” gets around this issue but retains the retro futuristic look.

The time is told in an analogue format just like “Grid” using either conventional hands or discs.

The simple trick in this case is that the hands or discs are made of transparent plastic and simply distort an image on the face of the watch. This “deflection” of the light gives the watch its name. The shape and size of the hands determines the type of distortion. The design on the face could be anything from stripes or swirls to a grid or a picture. The image could be interchangeable so the wearer could add their own personality to the watch. The face could also be backlit for poor light or added effect.

The watch has a retro futuristic feel combined with a art like qualities. The face could sport various designs allowing it to appeal to a wider audience, from retro gamers to designers and architects.

The light bending transparent hands combined with groovy face designs could potentially set this design apart from others.

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'Deflection' analog watch uses optical distortion to tell the time, 3.0 out of 5 based on 72 ratings

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45 Responses to “‘Deflection’ analog watch uses optical distortion to tell the time”

  1. avatar logan says:

    Very nice idea. Looks great with the grid background. Perhaps, add a small mark on one of the hands, to better distinguish them?

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    • avatar Pete says:

      Hey Logan, cheers for liking! Yeah one of the hands like you say could have a marking. Or one could be longer or shorter or the profile could be a different shape to get a more contrasting distortion from the other. I did try one inverted but the limitations of my rendering package couldn’t give a satisfactory result. Cheers for the feedback sir! :D

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      • avatar william says:

        I don t mind the design in this case, and I only look at the concept idea, which I find really interesting.

        I only wonder about one thing. For this concept to work fine, if not in contact with the background, both of the “cylindar” lenses should not be in a kind of very close distance from the background? Because for me it appears that only one of the 2 lenses is close enough to the background and the second is one-”lens thickness” away from it… I really wonder about this detail? But I may be wrong to wonder about this… Anyway, very clever and very creative!

        PS: I would also tried a background with small dots.

        Voted 5y! one of the most innovative concept I have seen lately.

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        • avatar Pete says:

          Cheers for the thoughtful feedback sir. The images you see show the “theoretical” result of the two lenses, one above the other. So in theory (according to the computer it does work) I imagine than the shape and thickness of the lenses could be played around with compensate for the distance etc. I agree that the greater the distance from the background image the less distortion would be seen.
          Regards the styling of the case and background, these are merely examples to demonstrate the principle, I’m am not overly attached to either. I’m sure there are more optimised schemes to be discovered. Your dots one sounds nice, any geometric pattern would work in theory. Fingers crossed TF have a play around with the idea! Cheers :D

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  2. avatar Pete says:

    Cheers TF for adding this design to the blog! :D

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  3. avatar william says:

    very creative! I really like this concept.
    Best of luck!

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  4. avatar dzign555 says:

    I like the look of the clear one with silver face!

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    • avatar Pete says:

      Thanks a lot DZ,
      I’m surprised you like the least colourful example! You usually go for the most colourful!
      What have you done with the real DZ you imposter! lol ;)

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      • avatar dzign555 says:

        Yeah, this is DZ’s alter ego…the one who doesn’t go for the coloured designs!! :)

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  5. avatar Patrick says:

    Yes Pete, I understand some of the technical questions (quite legitimate), but what matters the most, in my opinion, is the idea! And TF has peerless technicians to solve technical problems.
    As the idea is great, the vote is up!
    5 * / Yes, of course.

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  6. avatar william says:

    I find the vote rather tough. I fear that the people who have voted against this project, only have considered the design aspect and may have forgotten to consider the potential of this simple and efficient concept. I hope that Tokyo Flash will consider this when they check the result of the vote…

    Good Luck Pete…

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    • avatar Pete says:

      Thanks a lot William.

      I take the ratings with a pinch of salt these days, there is an element of down-rating that occurs on the blog unfortunately. For reasons that only make sense to the down-raters themselves.
      You only have to look at my “Hayabusa” post that’s live at the moment, its has loads of positive comments, many likes and shares and has appeared on external blogs/sites, yet that is a mid 3 score.

      That plus some people will take one glance and see the first image that might not be to their taste and take an instant dislike and miss the idea behind it.

      I’m glad you saw past my images and saw the idea and its potential. Hopefully a few others (TF included) will too x^^x

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      • avatar Berenice says:

        Hi!
        Indeed the vote system has some kind of weaknesses… I cannot figure out how it can happen that some projects get over 200 votes with a rate at 4,7 or above when many projects only got an average of 30-40 votes!?!?! Some artificial boost?!?!
        I hope that TF has a critical analysis considering the results
        Cheers
        B.

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        • avatar Pete says:

          Hi Berenice,
          Unfortunately the rating can be manipulated either positively or negatively.
          Luckily TF have a more diverse criteria than just the rating, they take the comments, shares, feedback, external blog interest and their own personal opinions and research into account too. Many of the fan based designs lucky enough to be made didn’t get especially high ratings. “Blade” which was based my P-Zero submission only scored 4.0. TF can also see what is genuine ratings and what is manipulated so can take it all onto account. Fingers crossed they see the potential in this concept! :D

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  7. avatar José says:

    just a question master
    How it looks when the hour and minute hands are in the same place?
    Example: 03:15
    Congrats. Best of luck Pete

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  8. avatar Nev says:

    Great design, Pete.
    When I first looked at this, I was going to ask about the appearance when both hands were at the same place, but Jose has asked and you’ve shown that. If TF designers can get around the “issue” the William raises, it will be a “must have” watch. The pattern on the background will be the clincher – I like your blue/black design best, but look forward to seeing the designs TF produce.
    Certainly gets my vote – 5*/Y.

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    • avatar Pete says:

      Yeah the background design could make or break the deal for most people. In an ideal world this would be interchangeable so the wearer could choose or even design their own. How easy that would be to achieve is another matter. Would be nice if there could be a slot in the side if the watch between the face and hands where you could insert a “background” would just be a circle with a slot to go around the hands. This system would also work well on a e-paper/analogue hybrid, the wearer could then upload backgrounds digitally. Or like you say TF could come up with a selection of designs that suit a range of people. Any way enough waffle from me. Cheers for the support and feedback sir! :D

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  9. avatar Anders S says:

    Simple, clean and effective… Nicely done, but I see a couple of potential issues, some of which have been mentioned already. The biggest nit I have to pick is that it might be a little bit tricky to see the difference between the hour and the minute hand. One thing I thought of which might help with this would be to tint the respective hands subtly, to add an additional difference between them. How effective it’d be would depend a lot on the background of course…
    Anyways; nice work mate, good luck! =)

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    • avatar Pete says:

      Yeah a tint might work, or different lengths or profiles. A roundish one for minutes, a squarer one or triangular one etc for hours perhaps. I think there are ways around it either way. Lets hope TF think there is enough mileage in the concept to warrant working out the kinks :) Cheers for the support and feedback sir! :D

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  10. avatar gordon says:

    your idea is very clever and well illustrated! Sometimes it takes me a while to digest these new concepts but this one is growing on me. Some people here have givin you some good tips. Good job sir!!!

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    • avatar Pete says:

      Thanks for giving the concept time to grow on you. Yeah some good suggestions have been posted. Lets hope TF see the potential ;) Cheers for the feedback sir! :D

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  11. avatar xian says:

    What a great idea, Cracy Pete! The simpler a design the better, I say, and this fits the bill. Don’t worry about the rating, some voters here are just d!cks. Don’t know if this was your approach with the hands, but you could have the hands be two extruded half-circles–that would allow a thinner case, would it not? Maybe that would just behave like a magnifier, perhaps not enough distortion though. 5* my friend, and YES!

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    • avatar Pete says:

      Hi Xian, cheers for the feedback sir! The hands currently are two half circles/diameters extruded on the top if discs. So they are relatively thin. The reason for the disc part is so that there aren’t any visible edges to the hand. I wanted them to appear as invisible as possible so you just see the distortion and not the hands (that’s the theory anyway ;) ) The hands could be flat side of the disc to flat side of the disc (so they make a full diameter when over each other. This would be the most compact way I imagine. I don’t no if the upside down one would give as good a distortion effect as the other but may save a little height. I think we are on the same wave length but it’s difficult to explain in words lol. Cheers again for the feedback and support! :D

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  12. avatar Pete says:

    Crikey its been some time since I had a rating below 3* O_O

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    • avatar xian says:

      I’m telling you, TF needs to disable anonymous votes.

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      • avatar Pete says:

        It would certainly help, or at least a no comment no vote policy. A 1* vote means nothing without a reason.
        If people really do dislike something they should say why at the very least.

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  13. avatar Samukun says:

    Yes, the idea isn’t too bad sir. I find it hard to tell the time though sometimes. It’s too much focusing or changing the perspective. But even then, it can be easily made and it’s such a simple idea, it should be done at a good price! Supportive 5* sir and good luck :)

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    • avatar Pete says:

      I think there is plenty of scope for improvement here, but I think the basic idea works. Fingers crossed TF see enough potential to develop it into something special! Cheers :D

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  14. avatar Makkovik says:

    After comparing it to the original, I like the grid. Maybe it’s only the distance between 2 lines that make a lot of difference! But I just realized that the transparent hands will make it too hard for me to tell the time. (anyway, this type of analog watches aren’t my cup of tea)

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    • avatar Makkovik says:

      but the totally hidden hands would be a conversation starter for sure.

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      • avatar Pete says:

        yeah the intention is that you would just see distortion the pattern on the face rather than seeing the hands.
        So if the distortion can be made really obvious without making the hands obvious that would be cool. The patterns themselves are merely examples of what could be done. There may well be more optimum and attractive patterns or images. Fingers crossed TF see enough potential to develop and improve, the finished article may win you over ;)

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