Gnomon Watch Design – A Sundial With A Twist

Design submitted by Anders from Sweden.

Anders says: “Inspired by a few other sun-dial designs on this blog, I was hit with the idea to make an actual sun-dial watch, but substituting LEDs orbiting the watch face for the sun. Some sketching resulted in this design; Gnomon; two layered faces , a center gnomon and cleverly shuttered LEDs.

Telling the time is exceedingly easy, it’s basically a standard analog watch, but with shadows cast on the face instead of hands. For larks I also swapped the hour and minute hands, so the outer shadow denotes hours, and the inner denotes minutes.

The target for this concept would be those interested in the history of time-keeping, while the modern styling will attract the fashion-conscious. It’s easy to read but with a twist, and would I believe fit very well into the Tokyoflash range.

Gnomon is deceptively simple. Clever use of existing technology yields a fresh result. Standard ‘bulb’ LEDs works wonderfully with this concept. Since it produces nearly a point of light it casts a very sharp shadow. A luminescent pattern on the face aids reading by subtly pointing to the hour markers.”


19 thoughts on “Gnomon Watch Design – A Sundial With A Twist”

  1. Damn you had the same idea with the gnomon like me…. I am just too slow ;) I like it like it like it! Really clever, that you use real light and shadow instead of a digital display to show the shadow! The watch itself is pretty cool. I like your usage of chrome and colored metal. The watch looks like traditionally assembled but in a modern way – just like the display. Very good. Some people might not like the shapes and the color, so maybe a less expressive appearance has to be found – maaayyybeee. The upper strap needs more holes (more intersteps), thats the only technical issue. The light and shadow things work (please, they must work, please) You get 5*/y and I bow with respect :D


    1. They do say that great minds think alike…=)
      I’m glad you like the simplicity of it, I didn’t want to complicate it needlessly…

      Yeah, colour seems to be my achilles’ heel… I just find chrome/black/grey watches a little bit boring… It could be made in a number of hues, of course, I was just too lazy to render it with different materials…=)

      One technical issue that I forgot to address in my text is that the glass would have to be tinted in order to let light out but not in, to avoid having the actual sun wash out the shadows when it’s worn outside…

      Thanks for the comment Sam! Your criticism is always thoughtful, which is nice… =)


      1. Oh I thought about the mean sunlight. I didn’t mention, hehehe. If the sun is too bright for the display, shade it with a hand and voilá, you can read it. I even have to do it with my LED watches, so your watch is fine that way. Oh but I forgot to mention: I would swap hours and minutes, so the hours are on the gnomon like on a traditional sun dial. But hey, that’s picky of me. Man, I can’t look away O.O


      2. Using a hand for shade works, of course, but it’d be cooler if you didn’t have to…=) While on the subject, geekydiva’s idea in the comment below might be a way around it, and damn cool too…

        Hehehe, I’ll take your attention as a compliment…=)


  2. First time I’ve been moved to reply on this blog! I *love* this new twist on old tech. I don’t know if the physics of this variation would work, but… What if the center pillar was, say, clear cobalt blue and the lights were white, so you get a color change to the beam rather than a shadow? Just a thought after I started to type.


    1. Thanks for the comment!

      That’s a really cool idea! An extra advantage might be (depending on how well it works) that you could still tell the time even in the sunlight… I wish I’d thought of it…=)


  3. It looks like jed stone watch. The hybrid sundial mechanism is brilliant, I like it so much. SERIOUSLY this concept should becomes a reality. If I’m a teacher and teach science I would buy a bulk of them for my student. Should be sold at think-geek too. The strap is better with steel and would add the quality looks entirely. I’ve hit 5×3 and yes but the rate is hardly increase, there were force that cut severe injury on the rating, darn it. If this watch is not underrated, the other watches were just overrated. Goodluck Anders!


    1. Thanks for voting! Though there’s probably a script somewhere that keeps people from voting more than once…=)


  4. To promote idea of sundials it is better to design qwartz watch that shows real sun time (with eot) for given longtitude or true time-zone time, or whatsever. The indication may be the same as on vertical south dials. Funny, that the declination and hour lines used only for design. Cool in any case.


  5. Just great! I start with what I dont like: the extravagant straps. They are a little too much. But the case and the time mechanism are brilliant. I wish, this watch gets made in some manner. This is an example of an overwhelming watch for me.


  6. Hi Fridaus, this is a great idea, must admit that i didnt know what gnomon was until now so thanks for teaching me :) i really like the sense of depth you’ve created, i think the orbiting leds might need a bit more engineering which might make it a bit chunkier but still its very original, personally like the kinky looking strap, thats as long as its just as comfortable as a normal 1.


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