I've spent the last two weeks sporting one of the new e-ink world time digital watches from Phosphor. Watch displays are being rethought in the digital era, and as a watch nerd, I love that that's happening. Your next watch might use e-ink to display the time, or even other information.
The Phosphor watches uses the same e-ink technology used on devices like Amazon's Kindle. It's not LCD, which many of us grew up with, but an entirely different, and low-power, tech. And on a watch face, it works.
I prefer analog watches, but I also like the digital face on the Phosphor. There's no backlight, but you don't really need one. Like an analog watch, you simply glance and know what time it is. Sure, I found myself hunting for flickers of light so I could see the time, but as an analog watch wearer I'm used to that.
But it's not just about function; the watches look good too. I got as many comments from nerds about the e-ink as I did from people mentioning the stylishness. The watch I wore had a leather band, though metal and plastic bands are available. Go for the leather, it works with anything (just call me Tim Gunn).
The watch face has a rocker button. Hold it down on the left and it goes from black-on-white to white-on-black for a formal look. The right cycles though various modes, including a world time feature so you can always know what time it is in London.
There are other new types of watches out there, including the wacky, but they all ask you to learn their unique methods of telling time. The Phosphor watches use the trusty old methods you know. That, coupled with the affordable price (the world time watch goes for between $150 and $195, depending on the band), make them a winner.
The only gripe I have is that the watch only has a digital face. In my perfect, Matt-Hickey-rules-everything universe, the face would have an analog-type option, as well. Digital watches make me feel like I'm in grade school, but analog, or traditional, faces make me feel like a grown-up. Hopefully the next version will have such an option.
One thing to note: Phosphor is giving away a watch a week through the holidays. Maybe you'll get lucky?