Thinking Smaller. No, smaller than that. Wristwatches!

I recently got very excited about wristwatches, probably due to subliminal youtube marketing. It got me wondering, if you’re the sort of person who builds their own PC, builds their own laptop, probably tweaks their OS, and generally takes everything apart… What are you wearing on your wrist??

(I picked up a little DIY kit, but I’m legitimately curious what else, if anything, is popular in the geek crowd.)


“Takes everything apart” hoo boy. Vintage watch restoration is a hobby I would be all over if I had the starting capital, and some of the more popular designs like older Omegas are really timeless and I’d absolutely wear one daily. Unfortunately more popular is also more expensive, and I’m not yet situated to buy a broken watch for the price of a Framework, not to mention all the specialty tools. It does seem to be the endgame of assembly/disassembly hobbies to me though.

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I used to mod my automatic Seiko 5 watch to make it look prettier, and it was challenging at times. Repairing modern phones/electronics recently are getting harder because of how small it is, not sure if it will be really tough or painful to repair.

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My daily wear is a Fossil hybrid smartwatch: traditional 'analog ’ face with a step counter. The ‘smart’ aspect pairs to a phone via Bluetooth to allow notifications (it vibrates and moves the hands to preset positions to alert on incoming messages) and play/pause audio control. That’s it: no screen, no camera, just a slightly augmented traditional watch. Not for everyone, but I really like that it’s a watch first with some extra functionally rather than a satellite sensor for my phone that incidentally tells time.


PineTime. Because nothing beats open source firmware :slight_smile:


Honestly modern electronics could take a tip from the Swiss watch movement. It’s a great example of something really tiny that was engineered for constant servicing by trained professionals, and companies initially became popular for their stance towards that servicing (Rolex still stocks parts for ancient models and they’re arguably the best known brand today).

Not to mention that it became a widely adopted, nearly universal design. I don’t know enough about what the forces were behind its universal adoption among manufacturers, but it probably had something to do with supporting watchmakers by letting them only need to train on one type of movement to be able to repair nearly all of them.

At this moment, I have on the right, a Fitbit Charge 4 and a Seiko SKX011.

On the left, a Samsung Active 2, and a Seiko Orange Monster Look-a-like.

mild weightlifting.

I just recently learned about the Watchy E-ink watch, open source and hackable! I haven’t done too much customization for it, but I made my own watch band, and I want to learn Arduino coding to make my own custom software eventually! The E-ink screen gives me a nice always-on display that lets the battery last for a week at least!

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PineTime and a Casio when I want to disconnect

When I still had iPhones, Apple Watch Series 3.

I use Android phones now, and since Apple won’t make their smartwatches work with anything outside of iPhones, I went back to a Casio GW-M500A, which “charges” off a 1600 lumen LED light bulb on a cheap IKEA floor light.

I just picked up a super cheap ($13) fitness tracking watch from Temu, because I’m really hard on them, break them, etc. It’s not open, has a required crappy app, etc so boo on me lol

But if I was willing to spend more coin, the bangle.js 2 might get my vote. I’d need to compare more careful against the PineTime and Watchy though.

I really can’t stand watches, fitness bands, etc that charge from proprietary cables, docks, etc. Why there are so few good ones that charge straight from USB-C, or PMA/QI compliant wireless charging is beyond me…

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I’ve got a Pinetime (added it on @ $27 (!!!) to a pinecil order so that the shipping cost didn’t hurt so much!) but I wasn’t aware of Watchy ---- that is incredible and now it’s on my Christmas list!

You can get the Pinetime sealed but if you want to play around with the hardware there’s an unsealed developers kits at the same price that give you full access to all the pins.


I just bought an old Pebble Time Round and replaced the battery, and it’s now good as new. It’s proved to be a really fun platform for hacking around on, and looks really sleek as a bonus (most people are surprised when they find out it’s a smartwatch!)

You wear four devices?? Is it for the aesthetics?

The Seiko’s are both mechanical self winding, so I wear them to keep them gear train functioning.

The Fitbit is gets me some benefits from work.

The Samsung Smartwatch allows a quick review of messages and notifications from the phone.
I am a little annoyed about it though, as it seems that Samsung has removed functionality that it previously had.

George Orwell’s 1984 is coming true, just not in the way he imagined.

When Uber started, years ago, when I had my Galaxy S4, I noticed an app called Uber being updated one day.
I had never requested said app to be installed. Did Samsung do it with a firmware update? or did Google do it, somehow.

Microsoft installs stuff on my PC’s that I don’t ask for either. What was the People app good for?

We don’t own our stuff anymore.
Makes me not want to buy a new connected car.
Hopefully my old one will still be repairable for a long while.

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