One of the things I struggle with as a watch reviewer is how to discuss a watch that I don’t dislike, and there is nothing wrong with it, but it is just not for me. However, it may be perfect for other readers of the site. After all, I do not represent every watch buyer, I probably don’t even represent the average watch buyer. And the Cognitime Classic watch is exactly the type of watch I struggle to review. I like the construction, it wears well, and it presents time in a unique way, but it ultimately is not the watch for me. It may be for you though.
The watch is a hybrid of an analog watch using digital technology, presenting the time with a type of jumping hour display. There are 24 one hour digital segments arranged in a figure 8 pattern in the middle of the watch. The unlit hour segment represents the range of xx:00 to xx:59. The way I have mine set, the upper right segment where the 8 loops over itself is 12:00 midnight, so the segment immediately right and above center (counterclockwise) represents 12:00 to 12:59 AM.
At 1:00, the next segment goes blank, and so on, until it get to 5:59 AM at the top of the watch. From there, time keeps running counterclockwise, and the segments continue down and around the upper loop of the figure 8 pattern until noon, when the time from 12:00 to 11:59 PM runs clockwise in the bottom loop of the watch.
At midnight, it loops back around on itself and runs counterclockwise on the upper loop again. The minute hand is a conventional 60 segment circle on the outer end of the watch, with segments turning off from the top of the hour around as the minutes pass. A second hand is shown as a single segment within the minute loop that reverses from what it would be to tell the number of minutes.
Since the display is unconventional, you can set it to read how you like. I played around with a couple of alternatives and settled on this one, which is the way that the company recommends. If you are more a morning person, you might want the AM hours represented on the bottom of the watch. It might be interesting if the watch had an option to run the segments in the opposite direction, so the upper loop ran clockwise and the lower loop ran counterclockwise.
Also, I would have found it a little more straight ahead for me if the hour segments were on the actual hours themselves, not the bar that spanned the hour. So instead of the 6:00 PM segment being the one just after the bottom of the hour, align it so that it is straight down, moving 3:00 and 9:00 to the horizontal positions and the center segment a single square that functions for both loops. For me, this would be a better representation of the jumping hour concept.
The watch itself is rectangular, 54mm tall and 39mm across. The case is water resistant to 5 ATM and has two buttons, the top one for entering the adjust mode and the bottom for setting the watch in that mode and also turning on the very effective LED backlight for night time reading.
The watch comes with a very comfortable silicon strap. The lugs are turned down from the case, and that, along with the way the strap is connected, force the strap into a good curve, so the watch sits close to the wrist even with the length of the case. An alarm function is also included. There are four options, with green or blue displays in either a stainless steel or black IP stainless.
With any digital display, one concern is how well it reads in bright light, and I have not had any issues with the watch. Similar to e-ink found in various readers on the market, the lit segments here show up very clear against both the unlit segments and the black colors. Of course, at night, the watch is very easy to read with the push of a button, illuminating the segments with a LED backlight. cognitime.no
- Brand & Model: Cognitime Original
- Price: $150 – $175
- Who’s it for?: Someone who sees time a bit differently
- Would I wear it?: Although comfortable, it is not something I would normally wear.
- What I’d change: Move the display segments to orient with the compass points and give the option of running backward.
- The best thing about it: Very readable for a digital display.