Design submitted by Anders from Sweden & Peter from the UK.
Anders & Peter say: Time, they say, is constant … linear … consistent ~ well, everyone but theoretical physicists anyway. But the way we experience or perceive time can be anything but consistent.
When we are enjoying ourselves time is said to fly by, when we are bored time seems to slow down and drag.
“Relativity” is a watch concept that hopes to make this subjective perception of time visible.
There are many ways that this perception of time could be displayed, our original thought was to have an LCD or e-paper display showing the time in an analogue format. There were a number of more or less crazy ideas flying back and forth; the hands could get longer or shorter or could be on an elliptical path again to exaggerate this effect. The hands could speed up, slow down or stop all together. Also icons could be used like play, fast forward, rewind pause etc, again to exaggerate the effect. Finally we landed in a somewhat less outlandish concept that still made use of our core ideas; When the watch detects reduced movement/activity (perhaps using an accelerometer) or body temp sensor or is pre-set by the user (between the hours of 9-5 for example), the numbers/markers of the display spread out, get smaller or further away from the centre of the display, making the gaps in between seem bigger and longer as if to suggest time is travelling slowly.
When more activity is detected the numbers bunch up to suggest time is moving more quickly.
To keep the watch intuitive and hopefully also attractive we came up with a simple array of (LED/LCD) tracks, a circular grid if you will, to display the time.
The minutes and hours are displayed by two animated ‘snakes’ differentiated by colour or intensity that can follow smaller or larger rings (changing at the hour positions) as the watch senses the wearer’s activity levels or mood.
This movement between the different sizes of rings creates a castellated shape which we have echoed throughout the design.
It also creates natural markers at the twelve analogue positions.
The larger the path the snakes are traveling the slower the perception of time is as the hours look longer, the smaller the paths the faster time seems to be travelling.
To exaggerate this effect further the two snakes could pulse or animate faster or slower. Or if you were a complete sadist could even start going backwards and display a counter-clockwise time display. If colour-changing LEDs were used the colours of the snakes could also change to enhance the effect even more. Green to red via amber seems an intuitive transition.
The time telling method/display style would lend itself to a multitude of materials, finishes and case styles. We have gone for an industrial look which would probably appeal mostly to the chaps but there’s no reason a unisex or feminine look could also be achieved. A turned or brushed metal look on the face does a great job of camouflaging the tracks/rings, letting them hide in plain sight. A glossy tinted lens could give the design a techy mysterious look. A leather strap could add a little class to the proceedings allowing the watch to be worn with more formal attire too. Alternatively a plastic strap could give a more sporty look.
The unusual time telling combined with the watch’s ability to sense the wearers’ perception of time and communicate that back to the wearer sets this design apart from others. Though the relatively straightforward time-telling probably won’t appeal very much to the hard-core ‘crypt-fiends’, the display pattern and its purpose should act to give the concept a certain level of mystique and interest beyond the obvious.
UPDATE: In reference to feedback from the blog Anders has done a new image with a wider leather strap. Peter has made an animated gif showing the same time on two watch faces, one when time is perceived to be travelling slowly (little activity) and one showing time travelling quicker.