#338: Timeline

It seems there is an almost insatiable desire to create novel wristwatches. I can’t imagine that any of these ever sells more than a few wristfuls in total but, since novelty is at such a premium in this area, I thought I’d give it a whirl too…

Today’s invention is a digital watch display which consists solely of a straight line joining what would be the endpoints of the minute and hour hands (on an analogue watchface).


I obviously mean the ‘pointy’ endpoints -near the numerals, not the central axis).

As time passes, the length and orientation of this line changes. Our experience of the movement of conventional hands allows us to determine when we need to run for that train or grab lunch.

It might be a nice, geeky touch to update the display only when the time corresponds with endpoints lying at exact pixel locations. I’ve just had a request in fact for one of these with the end of the second hand forming a triangle with the other two ends.


  1. Now, I’d buy that!

    A nice steampunk version could have a mechanical watch with magnetic tips behind the face, and a magnetic elastic line floats on the visible face, apparently changing by magic alone. The line would be the same as your digi version.

  2. I guess it might take the form of a bolt-on to an existing watch…remove the glass, add two magnets to the hands, add a double-glazed watch glass containing ferrofluid layer. The magnetic particles would mostly align themselves between the 2 magnets…?

  3. Regarding the nifty retro-fit idea of Patrick, I foresee a problem. An analogue watches will stop when its mechanism is subjected to a magnetic field of more than a few Gauss. (In my experience they restart when the magnetic field is removed.)

  4. I meant: “An analogue watch…”

  5. My father used to routinely stop digital wristwatches when wearing them…not sure if that was a magnetic effect though -maybe just the uri geller effect.

    Actually, it might be a lot easier to make this in the form of a simple spring (or two telescoping sections of tube, one attached to the end of each hand).

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