Ana-digi design issues and possible solution
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Thread: Ana-digi design issues and possible solution

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  1. #1
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    Ana-digi design issues and possible solution

    I'm a fan of ana-digi combo watches. One near universal problem is the hands move above the digital display on the face and at times obscure parts of it. One solution is to make the hands sweep area smaller and have a separate digital display area, like these:

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    One issue with those solutions is it makes the total watch face larger than it needs to be, and the separate hands and digi display smaller and less legible.

    After getting a smartwatch last year I played with a face design tool and came up with a layout with a circular digital display in the center and the hands sweeping under it, visible around the edges. Simulating a floating digital display surface in the center that's always visible . Here's the result:

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    Obviously I'm not a sophisticated designer, but that should show the concept. What I would like to see in a mechanical watch is a central raised "island" where the digital display would always be totally visible, with analog hands around the outside. It could also have room for both digital time and day/date, and still allow the total face size to be optimized. I can't think of any technical reason why that couldn't be done, and it could be a unique and appealing design.

    Hope that inspires some real designers, or posts of examples I'm unaware of where it's been done. Comments welcome.
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  2. #2
    Member Karriope's Avatar
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    Re: Ana-digi design issues and possible solution

    I likewise don't imagine a reason it cannot be physically possible, apart from the concern of connecting both the digital display and the motor drive in the middle. I suppose a plausible method I can think of is that the hands are not connected to the middle but instead on rails surrounding the central disc and perhaps driven by magnets or other means.

    As for your concept, you might be interested to know that some recent model year cars have a similar sort of look where the tach/speedo as your smartwatch layout - digital needles that can be overlaid with information.

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  3. #3
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    Re: Ana-digi design issues and possible solution

    Quote Originally Posted by Karriope View Post
    I likewise don't imagine a reason it cannot be physically possible, apart from the concern of connecting both the digital display and the motor drive in the middle. I suppose a plausible method I can think of is that the hands are not connected to the middle but instead on rails surrounding the central disc and perhaps driven by magnets or other means.

    As for your concept, you might be interested to know that some recent model year cars have a similar sort of look where the tach/speedo as your smartwatch layout - digital needles that can be overlaid with information.
    I haven't thought about how the hands mechanism is designed, but imagining it I assume it's concentric circles at the base, and either tubes or posts that stick up at different heights to which the hands are attached. I think the digital display "table" in the center could be on a central tube that supports the display and allows wiring to run up its center. Then the normal concentric arrangement of turning supports for the hands could be used. No special attachments on the outside would be necessary. The digital display surface would hide the mechanisms so could free up how that's constructed. No doubt there are numerous other solutions, like the one you describe, but I wouldn't think they'd be required.

    Don't recall seeing the car displays, but once I started working on a watch face layout it seemed pretty obvious, so I've no doubt many others have thought of it. Only seems a bit odd that I've never seen it on a watch.

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  5. #4
    Mod. Russian, China Mech. Chascomm's Avatar
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    Re: Ana-digi design issues and possible solution

    It really depends on the intended use of the watch, what information is to be displayed and the overall styling. I think your design is an excellent one for a smartwatch, GPS watch or any other larger-diameter, feature-rich tool-watch. However I see nothing 'wrong' with the 1980s Seiko pictured above. It is a slim, discreet dress watch drawing on 1920s vintage motifs while leveraging some of the extended functionality offered by quartz technology. It does all that very well.

    Getting back to your idea, I can't think of anything that exactly matches but I can vaguely recall a couple of historic examples that attempt to address similar issues. I'm sure I've seen a late 1970s or early 1980s all-LCD ana-digi (possibly Citizen?) with the analogue part around the perimeter. Also, I think Casio made a watch that had the LCD panel in the crystal above the hands and dial. The LCD could be turned off (made transparent).

    One challenge with placing the digital display above the hands is minimizing the thickness of the overall mechanism. Perhaps the hands could be mounted on ring gear so that the digital part is embedded within the analogue part, rather than above it.
    casey70 likes this.
    Chascomm
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    Re: Ana-digi design issues and possible solution

    The thickness issue would need to be worked out. I really don't like wearing a biscuit on my wrist, which is one big reason I've switched back from smartwatch to traditional. There have been many LCD analog simulations, but they're not nearly as visually satisfying to me as well crafted physical parts. The LCD in the crystal in interesting. I know virtually nothing about watch mechanisms, but have seen numerous solutions to analog hand movement, so am confident it can be done. I like your final suggestion. Thanks for the comments.
    Chascomm likes this.

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