Back to Basics, with a Binary Watch?

Alasdair Allan
2 min readJul 9, 2018


In the age of smart watches sometimes it’s nice to go back to back to basics. For some that means a classic analog timepiece. For others that might mean something rather different, and perhaps a little bit geeky, like a binary watch.

A Rechargeable Binary Watch. (📷: Subsystems)

There are two ways to build a binary watch; binary-coded decimal clocks have one column to represent each digit, while binary-coded sexagesimal clocks have a single column each for hours, minutes, and seconds. Generally, the later are harder to read quickly, even if you’re used to reading binary.

The Subsystems watch takes the more common decimal route, although either for space saving, or more probably power saving, reasons it drops off the last two columns representing the seconds.

“The first two green columns read the hour and the second two yellow columns read the minute. A press of the button displays the current time in binary for about 4 seconds. The watch will last for weeks on a charge.”

How to count in binary, on your watch. (📷: Subsystems)

This obviously isn’t the first, nor will it be the last, binary watch I’ve seen. But it’s cute, and actually looks like it’d be at least moderately wearable, without looking like it came out of a factory production line somewhere.

The Subsystems binary watch is available on Tindie for $29 fully assembled, with free shipping. Unfortunately, shipping is restricted to the United States due to the pre-installed rechargeable battery. So any binary watch fanatics outside the continental U.S. are going to have to look elsewhere for their fix.