When it comes to affordable, quirky, watches, you have no shortage of options. Sure, you can go trolling the ‘bay to find something that seems like it’s about to fall apart, or you could head to a variety of catalogs to get something that is wildly overpriced. Fortunately, those are not the only options. TokyoFlash has been putting together affordable pieces that bend our concept of how time can be told. To that end, they recently released a rather organic-looking piece, the TokyoFlash Japan Kisai Online Wood.
When it comes to TokyoFlash time displays, these are generally the most unique portion of the watch. In the past (especially with the ones I’ve done hands-on reviews with) you either have a display that is always showing the time (and you decipher it) or you need to press a button to get the watch to show the time. Here, with the TokyoFlash Japan Kisai Online Wood, there is a new trick hiding in the wooden case – an accelerometer (new as compared to our review of the original Online)
What this means is that the display will be in “pretty picture mode” until you bring the watch up to read the time. The accelerometer picks up that movement, and switches to the time-reading display. While this is not the easiest display to decipher I have seen from the brand, it is by no means the most difficult either. In some ways, it reminds me of Nixie tubes in how the readout looks. Which is a bit odd, because my initial impression was that it looked more like vines or flowing water.
That first impression probably fits a bit better, given as the TokyoFlash Japan Kisai Online Wood comes with a wooden case and bracelet. Along with the choice in LCD color (red, blue, or natural), you can have the wooden bits in one of two finishes – either a two-tone maple, or a dark sandalwood. Even with the somewhat organic display, the juxtaposition of high-tech (LCD) and nature (wood) is an interesting one. Aside from aesthetics, it has a practical application as well – the use of wood makes for a much lighter watch than if it had been metal.
Now, if you have not worn a wooden watch before, you do need to adjust your expectations. Yes, it has a warmer “feel” on the wrist, but it just moves around differently as you wear it, and the bracelet will be a tad looser feeling as well. Not that it’s about to fall apart, but simply that wood cannot offer the same tolerances as, say, steel, so the bits come together a bit more loosely. Then again, at an asking price of $99, you generally expect to make some concessions to fit and finish; at least here you have a good reason for why things are the way they are.
In terms of digital watches, the TokyoFlash Japan Kisai Online Wood offers a nice bit of variety. Along with all the standard functions (date, time, and alarm) you have the added benefit of an animation mode on top of the unique display. As I have said before, this is not going to be the sort of watch that is handed down the generations. What it is, however – a watch with a particularly unique look – is well-executed. While this particular model is not my personal cup of tea, I think TokyoFlash has made a point of creating unique and affordable watches, and the TokyoFlash Japan Kisai Online Wood fits neatly into that mold. tokyoflash.com
- Brand & Model: TokyoFlash Japan Kisai Online Wood
- Price: $99
- Who we think it might be for: You’re a SciFi fan who likes spending time out in nature
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: No – this particular model really did not capture my attention like some others have
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: A LED backlight that kicks on with the accelerometer as well
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: How they managed to combine electronics and organics in a fairly seamless package