KAKU watch uses Kanji strokes to tell time

Design submitted by Sam from Germany

Sam says: KAKU is a 12-5-9 concept that uses kanji with different stroke counts instead of numbers. The inspiration came when looking up a kanji in a dictionary. The kanji were sorted by components, reading and also the amount of stokes, that are required to write them.

The interesting thing when learning to write kanji is, the stroke count is not always obvious. 口 for example has three strokes, not four since the upper and right one are written in a single movement.

This watch is for people who are interested in Japanese and Chinese language. If you have studied kanji already, that’s definitely an advantage. But don’t despair, even japanese don’t know the stroke order of every kanji. To help interpreting the kanji, I am suggesting an animation that builds up the time display stroke by stroke. Knowing the stroke order and the stroke count is needed to write kanji properly and to understand KAKU’s display.

For aesthetical reasons, I only chose symmetrical kanji for this vertical display. It looks more stylish and interesting. I wonder, if any of these kanji compositions are actual terms in japanese or Chinese. It would be interesting to figure them out to give the display a deeper meaning. Right now, every number is represented by a random kanji of the according stroke count.
Here are some symmetrical kanji examples for each number:
1 一
2 二人十
3 三口土大山工干
4 中六天夫文日木父王
5 且凸凹出半古囚央未末本甘田由甲申皿目穴只旦
6 交全共合吉回因早曲米羊圭
7 亜呈困束来言谷貝車辛里串杏芙
8 具典卒固宜実幸昔東画舎苗金昌茉
9 冒品宣某査美茶草革
10 員宰害容益真華貢栗晋
11 曹異菓責黄黒爽菖菫
12 傘善富普晶替森業畳童貫貴買量喜
Zero is represented by a ・ which is not a stroke but a center dot and a commonly used character in Japanese.

Depending on the way, the kanji are pixelated, there can be found more symmetrical ones to create a bigger diversion or to really find existing kanji compositions.

27 thoughts on “KAKU watch uses Kanji strokes to tell time”

  1. Looks very nice Sam and not too difficult to get the hang of even for slow learners like me. I think if the number of kanji are limited you would soon associate them with the numbers without the need to count the strokes. 5/Y best of luck sir. Also your number/kanji chart would make a cool tempory tattoo to put on your arm during the learning period! lol


  2. Hi Sam, this watch is very nice, but I wear it for its design and look very harmonious character graphically, but before they can read the time, it is better that I am referring to the sun?
    5 * / Yes for your imagination and your technique.
    Sam, bin ich immer an Ihrer Arbeit beeindruckt.


      1. Hey Sam, but you speak French better than me?
        The style is there, the idea is great, but I’m not well versed to quickly understand the reading time, that’s all.
        This is a watch for people with culture Kanji, I did not unfortunately.
        5 */Yes, this work deserve still better!


  3. diriku kaku apabila melihat rekaanmu ini. sungguh ajaib! cara baik memanifestasikan elemen-elemen tradisi dalam rekaan moden. syabas!


  4. the look of it is really, really nice, but for me, i prefer a quicker to read time-telling method. 5* anyway – you have my full support! :)


  5. That design is beautiful, the way the kanjis are enlightened and the way they are build, these old-school-futuristic square dots, the way it animates, the hi-tech look, plus the minimal case… just really cool.


    1. Thanks for your insight! Actually it’s not numbers, it’s stroke counts. The actual difficulty is to count them right. The number 5 can be shown in different ways, so remembering would be very hard.


  6. Ok I’d be flattered if the rating up there would be correct but I think it’s overrated. I’m the last who devaluates my work but a sober sense of mistrust is appropriate I think. I know that this concept is really ‘special’ and definitely not mainstream and I’m totally fine with it. Whoever manages to rate this much, please stay fair. Maybe I’m wrong. In that case: alrrrrrighty then!


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