Sunadokei LED watch is a digital hourglass

Design submitted by Justin from the UK.

Justin says: I wanted to create a vibrant and bright LED timepiece and also something that gave a nod to the timepieces of old…so I chose the hourglass. A nice juxtapostion of new and old technology.

I call it…Sunadokei.

The LED’s are housed in a toughened clear plastic lens. Each LED column represents a different value of time. Hours, 1 mins, 5 mins and 20 mins are all counted by the number of LED’s lit up. Only one “corner” is used for time, the rest is aesthetic.

Anybody who likes to be different. people who love the bright and vibrant technology. Music fans will like the graphic equalizer feel so clubbers should like this.

There aren’t any watches like this on TokyoFlash as far as I can see. I hope people will be drawn to its easy and unique time telling yet cryptic look and feel.

26 thoughts on “Sunadokei LED watch is a digital hourglass

  1. Hi there people…

    This is my very first blog submission so please be gentle. Im not a great graphic designer but ive been learning and improving whever possible so please take these diagrams and animations with a pinch of imagination.

    A huge thanks to Tokyoflash for posting my watch and furthermore I hope you guys like the design.



  2. well done, no apology necesary. I like how you depicted the hour glass with out being to literal. welcome to the blog


  3. Hi Justin, welcome to the blog!

    This concept looks a bit similar to other concepts of this kind (if you google hourglass watch) but this bit mostly comes from being developed from the same inspiration – the hour glass. Same inspiration, different outcome. I’m just not sur eif someone screams when the distincitve shape of the case is used later.

    Aside from these concerns I like the digital representation of an hour glass. I can imagine the time appearing in a cool animation. Assuming the watch is off from the start (saving energy) the upper half should appear and then flow down, forming the time. Using both halves is ok but you don’t gain new information. Keeping the hourglass topic up – by emptying the upper half and filling the lower one – would be consequent.

    The time telling method as it is works fine with the 20,5,1 minute steps. I wish it would look more like a pile in the end, not this fractioned. You know, sticking with the hourglass topic. I think there could be a way keeping all elements attached to the middle LEDs and expanding from there.

    So there is a huge potential of a cool watch. Good luck with it 🙂


  4. Hi Gordon and Samukun…

    Thanks for your feedback, all is very welcome.

    So glad you like the design. The reason for the style of animation I chose is that you don’t really need any new information other than what you see there. I believe there to be enough in the lights as not to over exaggerate things and end up making it confusing.
    There is an hourglass/sand animation and that could be used to light up every so often just to catch attention and to keep with the hourglass theme.

    I never really considered other information being displayed on it (month date etc) as I really only wanted it to be a timepiece. Saying that…I guess it wouldn’t harm for it to include this feature and maybe add another animation mode like you said, just so you know that whichever animation you see, a different piece of information will follow.

    Up and down for time, spread from the middle for date.


  5. I like the idea of the sand animation forming the time. I suppose this could flow down from the top and then leave only the lower half illuminated, similar to my original ideas but so it leans more towards the sands of time theme.


  6. Love this watch it says new yet with old style time keeping bringing the watch upto date and speed and will be a certain talking point whilst out and wearing it I know many people would love this and buy it as im one of them pelly ur a genius.


  7. Hi Pelly, Congrats on your first submission hitting the blog!, welcome!
    Sam has made most of the points I would have made regrading the hour-glass shape and its being used before, although not directly on the blog. This is the one shape I have shy’d away from using due to those other concepts, which is kind of a shame because there is much potential here.
    I think your version is distictly different from others not to attract any negative attention, hopefully.
    I like Sam’s suggestion of the flowing sand like animation, Could be pretty sweet if realised!
    Best of luck sir! 😀


  8. Hi, Pelly! Have you considered instead of time indicators reading vertically, having them read horizontally, in striations. Obviously this would mean increasing the resolution to allow a meaningful number of ‘layers’ at the bottom. Kick the resolution way up and have 60 lines at each end of the hourglass, so you could see each layer fan out every second, of every minute. You could have each hour represented like you already do vertically, but have each hour occupy a unit in the middle that measures 5 pixels tall, so eventually all 12 hours could fit at the bottom of the hourglass. Some things to think about anyway. I don’t remember the other hourglass entries, I’ll search for them now. Good luck!


  9. Howdy chaps…it’s a pleasure to finally be a part of something I have read and looked at for so long. Thanks for the warm welcome and thanks for your feedback, I don’t consider it good or bad as all feedback is taken onboard and now the cogs are turning lol.

    I had no idea that the hourglass shape/form was so widely used. That being said, there aren’t any of it’s kind on TF so hopefully there will be a place for it here.

    I have taken into consideration the horizontal method of lines building up and maybe in the future I will redesign an hourglass style watch based on that method. But for now I think there would be too much of a drastic change in the styling for it to resemble anything like it does right now.

    I do appreciate the feedback though and in glad to be part of the discussion rather than an observer from afar.


  10. A wacky but traditional concept! Both simple and complex in its design. In my opinion would be a great addition to existing products.


  11. Hi Kevin, take a look at the second picture down. Hours are the vertical bar in the centre, 1 minute is next to that, followed by 5 mins then 20 mins. Each block that is lit up represents one of these increments of time. Simply by adding these together can give you the accurate time.

    Hope this helps.


  12. Classic inspiration there, and I like the pixelly, almost tetris-esque look of it. I agree with Sam about using the display to mimic the flow of actual sand more closely, but that’s only one of several possible display modes, and other people might disagree…
    One detail that doesn’t quite agree with me is the shape of the case; the narrow waist is a bit too much in my opinion. My idea would be to make it rectangular, but with squares (like removed blocks to echo the pixel display) that step down from the edge of the display to the edge of the case (making the case vaguely V-shaped seen from the side, if you see what I mean)… anyway, just my $0.02, best of luck, and welcome!


  13. Really nice design and something that I would quite happily wear. There is only one thing that needs to be said. I LIKE TRAINS!


  14. Hi Anders thanks for your comment….

    Funny you should mention the shape of the case as in my initial sketchings it started out as a solid rectangle but with LED’s in the same shape they are in now.

    I think in keeping with the spirit of the hourglass theme for the LED readout, when telling the time, have the animation flow like in the first gif (see above) but rather than having the animation stop when the bottom of the “glass” is full, simply have it trickle away but leaving the lit time.

    What do you think?


  15. Well it’s been a good couple of days for my design so far and all I can say is a big thank you to all who voted and posted up to now.
    The feedback has been great and the welcome has been warm.

    Hopefully my other designs, if posted will be more popular and be well received like this has.


  16. Hi guys Pelly again…

    I have just created some better renderings of this design should you wish to see a much more accurate representation of this watch.

    Hope you like…



  17. I like the overall look. The time-reading method take some time to understand but is easy when you know the trick. I like that there’s 2 20min blocks. I like that 3 colors are used for a decorative purpose only. I would prefer if the hour would go from 1 side to the other & not divided between the top & bottom sides. I was going to suggest to re-arrange the minutes order but I’ve just realized that we can used any corner we want. (for me, it would be the top-left)


    • Hi Makkovik thanks for sharing your views. Glad you like my first design. The hours are set that way to enhance the overall spread of lights and to provide a symmetrical look but I can understand how it might be easier to count them if they were all together.

      Glad you appreciate the 4 corners usage…for me it would be the bottom right…I don’t know why, I’m just drawn to it for time telling, but I guess that’s what is nice about this configuration, people can easily adapt to it.

      Thanks for your feedback. Feel free to check out my other designs. Circuit…Octavius & Grid.


      • I forgot to say why I would use the top-left corner for the minute & why I like that the 4 corners show the same digits: It depend on how someone like to do algebra.


  18. This is more a graphic equaliser I think, but that’s no bad thing, it’s still a cool looking watch. Even Clubland on Facebook advertised it!!
    It reminds me of the successful Shinshoku watch from TF, similar way of telling the time I think. I feel that some watches in the museum either need to be sold again for nostalgias sake or maybe create new and refreshing versions of them like this.


    • Cheers Debbie, I think Shinshoku was part of the inspiration for this as I have that watch! I saw the Clubland re-post too, I was very humbled lol


  19. Well guys it’s been a nice little first submission for me, got some good feedback and a nice rating too. Thank you so much to all who left a comment, rated, thumbs upped etc. I guess this now falls into the blog vault…

    So long peeps!


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