NIWA’s nixie tube timepiece merges past and present with retro technology enclosed in a sleek aluminum case. already renown for their nixie tube clocks and iPhone docking stations, NIWA have downsized their delicate components into an eye-catching watch that measure just 55mm in diameter. 

niwa nixie tubes watch 03-06-2016 designboom
the NIWA watch houses nixie tubes to display the time

 

 

nixie tubes, which NIWA employ to form the face of the watch, are an old electronic device used to show digits. the tubes work in a similar way to the neon signs that they closely resemble. each tube contains ten decimal digits made out of negatively charged wire. these are arranged in a stack, one in front of the other, and enclosed inside a sealed glass bulb filled with neon gas. 

niwa nixie tubes watch 03-06-2016 designboom
the wire numbers give off a warm orange glow, much like a neon sign

 

 

each tube also contains a positively charged wire mesh. when electricity is applied to each number, the wire lights up, producing a soft orange glow reminiscent of a neon sign you might find outside an 80’s diner. unlike most digital displays, the wire numbers are typographically designed and shaped for perfect legibility. 

 

each wire number is designed to be as easy to read as possible 

 

 

the delicate tubes are enclosed within solid, andonized cases made from aircraft aluminum. the watch has two reed buttons, and comes with a magnet which must be used to set the time. it’s not all old-school mechanics however, since NIWA use a gyro sensor to save power. this means that the watch lights up only when you move your arm to check the time

 

the movement of your arm triggers the numbers to light up 

 

 

the tubes produce no noise or heat, and use very little energy. should the battery run down, the timepiece comes with its own USB-powered docking station for charging. given its delicate chemical components, NIWA has granted a lifetime warranty for the watch and all its pieces.

niwa nixie tubes watch 03-06-2016 designboom   
the watch is available in grey and black colors with anodized aluminium cases

niwa nixie tubes watch 03-06-2016 designboom
the retro technology is enclosed in the watch face which measures just 55mm in diameter

 

NIWA have downsized the nixie tubes from their retro clocks into a wearable

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