IOD shows time inside-out

Design submitted by Sam from Germany.

Sam says: When working on inside-out-displays I thought, what about letting the number segments themselves be interlaced? For IOD I chose a single classical 7-segment digit and gave it the dense information of three digits.

I like the cryptic, yet familiar look of the inside-out-digit. It might take it’s time do decrypt it at first. Therefore I suggest a one-by-one mode that shows each digit after another and then all together. This improves the quick reading skills. There is a little digit 1 for two-digit hours. There is also a similar looking pm indicator.

I gave the case and the straps simple appearance with some nice 45˚ angles, to adopt the style of the numbers.

The IOD mixes retro with future by taking a well known display element and enhancing it in favour of a cryptic look.

31 thoughts on “IOD shows time inside-out”

  1. Thank you Toky for posting this concept :)

    Thank you Gordon and Geek for your comments!

    Everybody keep in mind, I would want to have a one-by-one mode for an easier reading whenever needed ;)


  2. Looks great Sam, just when you thought all the stacked digit possibilities had been done! ;) for me have the hours on the outside and the mins on the inside feels more intuitive. Maybe both inside out and outside in would be possible as modes the wearer can choose. Worthy 5/Y :D


    1. Hi Pete, thanks for the thoughts and the support! Yeah, this time it’s a pretty literal translation of the interlacing digits topic. I chose to have the hours as the thinnest digits so the indicators (the small 1 and the PM indicator) that are giving additional information to the hours, are the same thickness as the hours. Aside from this I see what you mean :) Having selectable modes just rocks ^^


  3. I dig it! How did you resist posting other colors, Sam? Can you render one using the green like the LED Apple uses in their MacBook charge cords (closer to Kelly than most greens I see in TK Blog renderings)?


    1. Hehe sometimes I’m all in for a minimalistic monochrome presentation. I would’ve gone for a magenta and a yellow, but any color would work of course. Come show me the green you mean. When I google, I can’t find satisfying results. Then I try to implement this special green :)


  4. The renderings are great and the animations are awesome! However, there is the same problem with this design as with the infinity concept: it is very hard to read, even after practice. Anyway, thank you Sam for taking this challenge!


    1. Hehe, thanks Pawel for the comment. Yeah you are right about the difficulty. I thought, using the most simple numbers on earth might help, but the interlacing isquite a task :)


  5. Hi Sam from Germany,

    That’s the first time I’m writing a comment,

    I realized some times ago that all the design I really like on the tokyoflash blog, mainly are coming from you, Peter from the UK and Firdaus from Malaysia. And this design doesn’t except this rule :)

    A really interesting design. The only problem is the difficulty to read such an interlacing,

    3 colors would be easier to read keeping the same disposition, just the inner part in red, outeer in blue and mid in green (that’s just an example of colors)

    Well, That’s what I tought first, but after reading the comment, I saw that you would like a monochrome presentation. three colors is not so much fitting this will, but there is other possible closer : only two colors, with the one from the inner and outer parts identical, just the mid one being differents.

    But the best solution to keep a single color, and get different colors at the same time would be a “shades” mode. I mean by shades that the inner part would be brighter than the mid part, that would be also brighter than the outer part of the segments. (or the reversed brightness).
    What do you think of that ?
    I could draw a pictures to show what I mean if you want.

    Thank you for all your designs.


    1. First of all thank you Shana for your detailed comment! Nice compliment and practical thought!

      I played with colors before and it looked too busy, but still it’s an option if I give it more thoughts. The idea about the shades is very interesting Shana! I think I know what you mean. I will give these ideas a try and see what happens…

      Thanks again :D


      1. Hi ! There is a while this I didn’t came. You’re welcome for my detailled comment.

        I don’t know if you have tried yet the shades, but please let me know the result when you will !

        PS : I just thought about using patriotic colors, letting the users decide the color to be to is country flag, but the black color for germany for example, is a little bit anoying :)


  6. Hey Sam, This looks epic! Really like the level of minimalism you get from the same colour, but it is hard to read for me at first. The animation is great, showing how the numbers pop up separately for a split second – like a subliminal message, this would make it really quick to learn. Potentially maybe, it would be possible to read the time faster than ever??? Mind Blown! :D


    1. Hehe faster time telling… interesting perspective! It’s cool how you see this concept. Cool but hard to read. Yep, I can live with that :D Thank you Keiron!


  7. Friggin great idea, shows a great deal of thought, its a revamp of the original digital watch that came out in the 70’s, my father had one. I would like to see this one in brush aluminium and /or stainless steel, not just black. You need to have a slow animation for learners to get used to the mode of telling time, maybe 3 speed settings for the animation. I think in retrospect that the permanent display mode should show all three elements but when the wearer actually wants to know the time, they press a button to activate the animation which breaks the elements up sequentially for easy interpetation. Hrs 1st, then 10’s, then minute units.


    1. Hi supa! Thank you for nice comment! Yeah, it’s going back to the LCD roots and going another way then. Good idea about the slower animation that shows when pressing a button. Pretty user friendly. A permanent display would be great. A silverish case would be a welcome alternative :D


  8. Sam, I feel I ought to say something. Obviously you’re much better at graphics than me, :) but this is almost identical to one of my very first designs called TSUMU (stacked). Since then I’ve seen several other designers using this idea of stacking numbers on top of each other in this way, but I’ve let it go. This time the idea is SO similar I felt I couldn’t let it go. I think you should at least have credited me and/or asked for permission to use the idea.


    1. I agree to the similarity. But that’s it then. I have to admit, I didn’t have a bad conscience because I didn’t have you in mind when I worked on finishing this idea. You didn’t credit Andy back then although your idea was similar to his. Probably you didn’t intend to look similar. You probably tried everything to look different when working on the same base idea. If we allow the idea >letting all digits use the “same” space but doing something little to them to make them distinguishable< to be common property, then any interpretations are allowed too. If we say, this idea is not common property, then neither you and I can work on such displays. Even the one who showed them first on here in the blog might not be the first who ever had this idea. Although I think Logan did a very creative job back then in 2010. As for the interpretation of the display, you see it as stacked on top of each other, I see it as interleaved since the bigger digits are hollow (and stay hollow if no smaller digit is around), you have 4 digits in different colors, I have three digits in different shapes, you use an own style of numbers, I take my inspiration from the classic 7-segment-digits. I would say, Tokyoflash should make such a display and I want to encourage them to do it with what I think would look yummy. But without the voices of the people, it's nothing. I'm willing to let it go too, if the best concept of this kind gets a chance. Thanks for the compliment Lloyd. I'm impressed by your 2D skills, you need to know that. I hope the people stay open minded for everyone's concepts, no matter the style they are shown in. Wish us luck :)


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