Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tokyoflash Seven

Movie props. I love them. Particularly those from science fiction movies.

It's hard, of course, acquire genuine props, so I keep a keen eye out for good quality replicas. It's handy if they're low cost, too.

I often think of the Playmates Star Trek toys - which were toys, but sufficiently detailed and 'working' as to make them closer to props than some of the wood and rubber mockups often used in filming the TV episodes.

In that vein of owning a nearly-prop from an instantly identifiable movie franchise, I leapt at the chance of picking up one of the latest creations from the freaky watchmaker, Tokyoflash.

You see, they've only gone and made the Tron watch. Only it's called the Kisai Seven, down to the obvious licensing restrictions.

Amazingly, the watch is the result of a design submitted last year, and had such positive feedback that Tokyoflash took the concept and made it real.

But show anyone (ok, any geek) this timepiece doing its thing, and they'll say Tron watch, so good is this non-prop. (They'll also say 'Er, so what time is it?' More on that later.)

It's so 1982

Don't be put off by the plastic casing as it's actually of very high quality. In fact, the whole construction of the piece is very good, comprising of smoked inserts on the face, metal side panels and buttons to the right. The Kisai logo is laser etched on the clasp as well as the lefthand case panel.

The plastic part of the case curves halfway around the wrist and while this may sound cumbersome, it really isn't. I have those thin wrists that demand a regular leather watch strap be pulled to the last but one hole most of the time. But the rigid bracelet offered here seems just right. The strap length is altered by literally snipping off any excess material and refitting the clasp components.

While I had one, worrisome,  shot at doing this, I managed a snug, comfortable fit with little movement up and down the wrist. The lightweight nature of the watch helps here. Tokyoflash do state that if you botch up the strap fitting they'll send you another strap free of charge.

Getting back to the bracelet style watch face, there's a very good reason why the case extends around the wrist in the way it does. It's because it contains part of the timekeeping display.

Behind the smoky circular lenses are arrangements of LEDs - the inner ring showing the hour, the outer ring the minutes in groups of five, with the actual minutes counted off on the LEDs in the bracelet.

The effect is great. It's straight out of Tron. It's Sam (or Kevin, depending which generation you're from) Flynn's watch, and he's right there, on the grid.

Echoing the functionality from their earlier Pimp watches, Tokyoflash have added the facility to have the watch glow selectable from 5 and 30 second, or 5 minute intervals.

This feature can be quickly turned off and on via a button combo, and to be honest it's something I don't use that often. I prefer the old school press a button to light up approach. Actually - for a Tokyoflash piece - this watch keeps relatively good time.

The watch is powered by a Lithium Ion cell, which allegedly allows it to run for 30 days. Tokyoflash's neat solution to charging is done by undoing a tiny screw, then plugging the watch into a USB port. The charging process is shown on the LEDs within the strap. 

Where the designers have misstepped slightly is in readability of the time. Nothing to do with how the time is represented - that's straightforward enough - it's the lack of distinction of the LEDs through the lens that is the problem here. A little brain training does the job as is usually the case with watches from Tokyoflash.

The time is, er, 12:17?
Produced also with blue LEDs, the Tokyoflash Seven makes a highly distinctive and unique timepiece.

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the Kisai Seven is listed as sold out on the Tokyoflash site - probably due a limited initial production run.

But it's worth checking in from time to time (no pun intended) to see if this cool non-prop is back in stock.