Japan watchmaker Tokyoflash loves to confuse us with its eccentric, maddening timepieces that are nearly impossible to use. But its latest wrist accessory is decidedly simpler, even medieval, and may actually be usable. The Kisai Broke is being billed as "a new way to read time that's almost like a regular clock." Wow.
The $169 Broke features "shattered timing" on its church-window face, a mosaic of LEDs under a mineral crystal lens that's set in a brushed stainless steel case. When you push a button on the side, the LEDs start to blink to tell the time. This only lasts for seven seconds, so you'd better be good with colors and shapes.
In typically unusual fashion, the time is indicated by the concentric rings of LED shapes that "break" the mosaic as they blink. The outer ring represents the hour, the middle ring the five-minute time block, and the central group the minute from 1 to 4.
It's actually rather intuitive, except for the central group of single-minute LEDs, which have the 1 in green at the bottom, followed by 2 in orange on top of it, and then 3 and 4 in blue. Clear as mud?
The watch is the Kisai series' first USB-rechargeable timepiece. It runs on an li-ion LIR2032 battery, which you recharge by inserting a USB cable connected to your computer. Recharging takes up to 3.5 hours. It's unclear how long a charge would last, but the battery has a lifetime of about 300 charges.
The Broke also has a shattering animation feature that can illuminate its face every 15 minutes. This is only possible between 6 p.m. and midnight, even if you're in a dark room at daytime.
I can imagine the Broke getting pretty frustrating if you're late for a meeting and checking the time repeatedly. You just might be tempted to follow that old ditty and yell, "Stop, Hammer time!"