TECH SPOT: Kisai Optical Illusion


Staring at the inner intricacies of a movement might be enough to make you go cross-eyed, but Kisai’s Optical Illusion watch puts it right on the front of its LED display, making every time check a puzzle to be solved.

At first you might mistake Kisai’s Optical Illusion watch as a men’s accessory, maybe even an on-trend tribal-inspired bracelet.

But closer inspection – which, in fact, it needs to even work – reveals that it is a watch with a hidden message. Harking back to the classic Magic Eye pictures that used to feature in the Sunday newspapers, the Optical Illusion timepiece takes the very eye bending nature of an optical illusion and puts it right on the front of the watch.

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The rectangular 32mm by 52mm stainless steel watch may take a moment to understand but, Kisai says, once you have trained your eyes, reading the time will be easy enough. Although challenging others to read it is, of course, all part of its appeal.

The Japanese brand spent more than a year developing the design, which has been custom-made at each step. Its intricateLCD panel display has more than 1,500 segments that together form various lines, making up the digits that are revealed once your eyes have adjusted.

Kisai says it is the most complex LCD watch it has made to date, describing it as an “engineering feat”, sitting amongst its other creations that have included a watch that looks as though the digits are 3D and others that have LCD displays that look at though they have been stencilled on to the dial.

The Optical Illusion’s digital dial differs, however, with a display that is made to interact with your brain on a subconscious level. As your eyes and brain process the lines, the digits that display the time in hours and minutes start to appear.

The watch also has touch-screen technology that depicts four hot zones – the time, date, alarm and a backlight. By sliding a finger across the dial you can operate each of the functions, while the backlight helps make the display easier to read.

As a brand that likes to get creative with the technology, colour and modern designs associated with Japanese electronics and watches in particular, naturally the Optical Illusion has a playful side. Kisai has created a special animation mode within the watch that when activated will automatically transition from puzzle mode to digital time mode every 20 seconds. The brand says this is a “very useful” function that allows the wearer to see the time at regular intervals and will similarly catch the attention of passers-by or admirers, as the LCD display pulses in and out of its optical mode and a mode showing the time clearly.

And if the wearer wants to keep an air of mystery to the Optical Illusion but still wants a sneaky way of checking the time, the brand has in-built a reveal button on the touch-screen display; even better if you don’t want to admit that you can’t actually tell the time on it at all.

Run: Limited edition
Functions: Time, date, alarm, touch-screen technology
Dials: Natural or green LCD
Case: Stainless steel
Strap: Stainless steel
Battery: CR2025 (replaceable)
Price: £128

This article was taken from the May 2012 issue of WatchPro magazine, out now. To view a digital version of the magazine click here.



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