Sunday, 31 October 2004

Radio-controlled atomic watches/clocks rule!

Summer time livin's easy - with self-setting timepieces. Accurate to milliseconds or better, adjusting themselves to the right time daily as set by an atomic clock by picking up a radio signal - why aren't they used by everyone?

Come summer time, or winter, the way they automatically change themselves to deal with daylight savings time is a huge timesaver. No more putting clocks back or forward laboriously. If only my boiler timer and other timers did the same.

I have had an Oregon Scientific radio-controlled alarm clock for years and couldn't live without it (there are now newer versions available). Like today, for instance. An extra hour's snooze without having to do a thing to my alarm clock - bliss! I have several radio-controlled clocks too.

So why aren't radio-controlled watches more popular? One possible reason: there aren't any on sale anymore which show the day and the date on the face all the time, without you having to push any buttons (an essential for any watch, as far as I'm concerned; I can just about remember the day of the week, well mostly anyway, but the only way I know what date it is is by looking at my watch. Really.)

The very first radio-controlled watch ever made, the Junghans Mega One, did show the day and date - but they seem fragile things. I've had two and they both died on me one way or another (including refusing to recognise the radio signal to set the time after a battery change). Plus, there was no way you could backlight the face temporarily, e.g. if you were checking the time in a darkened cinema.

I've also heard that many people want watches with hands, not a digital display - but frankly, these days so many watches have them, and they seem to sell fine.

So, one of my top wish list items is a radio-controlled wristwatch which shows the date (day and month both) constantly, and can be backlit with one button press (if anyone knows of one on sale like that, I'd be eternally grateful!). Even better if the band can be shortened for those with slim wrists without damaging the antenna (yes, the Mega One has the antenna in the wristband), and if the battery can be changed by a normal watch battery seller without specialist knowledge without scuppering the mechanism, not that a mere battery change ought to do that.

Then, maybe sales of radio-controlled watches will take off.

[Edit: Found a great radio-controlled atomic wristwatch now! See this post.]

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