The Bradley looks like no watch you have ever seen, but its creation is not down to some mere design whim. Created for the blind – with a stylish appearance we reckon is no less appealing to the sighted – the tactile timepiece features two ball bearings connected by magnets to an underlying Swiss quartz movement. The ball that goes around the side indicates the hours, while the ball moving around the dial indicates the minutes.
If these ball bearings are dislodged, a quick shake restores them to their right positions. This feature puts the Bradley one up on current tactile-watch options for the blind, which typically require the user to lift a dial cover and feel the watch hands; and the latter can be dislocated easily.
Plus, the Bradley’s tactility makes it more discreet than talking digital watches. Creator Hyungsoo Kim recalls a visually impaired classmate once quietly asking him for the time in a graduate class at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, even though he was wearing a talking watch. Says Kim: “My classmate explained that it’s audibly disruptive and embarrassing to use in public, like during meetings.”
Named after Paralympic swimmer Brad Snyder, who lost his sight while serving with the US Navy in Afghanistan, the watch might have been Kim’s response to the dearth of time-telling options for the blind. But, with its futuristic-looking titanium body, the watch makes a sleek style statement for just about anyone.
Users of crowdfunding website Kickstarter clearly agree. At the time of printing, the Bradley had surpassed its original funding goal of US$40,000 (S$51,000) more than tenfold. The watch will be commercially available in January next year.