Wristwatch options for the visually impaired have long been limited. There are talking watches, which can be disruptive and don’t protect privacy. There are watches whose wearers can touch the hands to read time, but that puts them one finger-slip away from accidentally altering the hour. To date, no one has mastered a sleek, useful watch suitable for the blind.
Perhaps until now. To improve on these old designs, one company made a simple modification to traditional quartz watches: They replaced the watch hands with two moving magnetic balls. The change made a big difference, and their design enables users to read the time through touch. More important, the magnets always go back to the right position, even if you accidentally move one. Check out the video above to learn more about how it works.
Eone says they’ve sold more than 40,000 of the watches—dubbed the “Bradley”—since launching the product about four years ago. The watch is named after Paralympic gold medalist Bradley Snyder, who became blind while serving as a bomb diffuser in Afghanistan.
Ironically, 95% of Eone’s customers are sighted people, but co-founder Tim Fleschner is fine with that. He says the idea was not to create something specifically targeting the blind—to some extent this is still inexplicit discrimination—but to design products that are inclusive, period.