Wearables

The Division Furtive Type 50 shines light on tired timepieces

The Type 50 displays the time on the front and instructions for use on the back
The Type 50 displays the time on the front and instructions for use on the back
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The front face of the Type 50 displays the time via two banks of white LEDs
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The front face of the Type 50 displays the time via two banks of white LEDs
The rear of the Type 50 displays instructions on how to use this unique watch from Design Furtive
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The rear of the Type 50 displays instructions on how to use this unique watch from Design Furtive
The Type 50 displays the time on the front and instructions for use on the back
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The Type 50 displays the time on the front and instructions for use on the back
The time on the Type 50 is set using light pulses emitted via the Design Furtive website
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The time on the Type 50 is set using light pulses emitted via the Design Furtive website
The back of the Design Furtive Type 50 features instructions on how to operate it
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The back of the Design Furtive Type 50 features instructions on how to operate it
The two banks of LEDs as seen in the dark
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The two banks of LEDs as seen in the dark
The Type 50 from Design Furtive employs a unique design to differentiate it from the crowd
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The Type 50 from Design Furtive employs a unique design to differentiate it from the crowd
The Type 50 from Design Furtive features a flashlight mode which illuminates all of the LEDs at once
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The Type 50 from Design Furtive features a flashlight mode which illuminates all of the LEDs at once

To the timepiece layman such as myself, most wristwatches are bland, uninspiring tools that do one job. They do that one job extremely well, of course, but they all – with the exception of innovative watches from companies such as TokyoFlash – meld into one inglorious whole. They do exactly the same thing, and do it in exactly the same way. Which all conspires to make it very easy for the Division Furtive Type 50 to stand out from the crowd.

The Type 50 from Division Furtive operates using two banks of white LEDs, the top row keeping track of the hours, the bottom row keeping track of the minutes. The relevant LEDs flash to indicate the time, with the display only lighting up when you flick your wrist. This preserves battery life, which means the single AAA battery that powers the Type 50 lasts for up to two years.

Why is the Type 50 powered by a standard AAA battery? Because Gabriel Ménard, the man behind Canadian company Division Furtive, seeks to create watches "immune to obsolescence." Using such a common battery that can easily be replaced by the owner is one way of achieving that goal. Some of the design sensibilities of the Type 50 can also be explained away by the desire to create a timepiece that is "not wearable technology, but a technological art form."

The back of the Design Furtive Type 50 features instructions on how to operate it
The back of the Design Furtive Type 50 features instructions on how to operate it

The Design Furtive Type 50 has no buttons, relying instead on the user tapping the screen to scroll between functions. The time is set rather differently than on most watches ... Design Furtive's website emits light pulses which set the time on the Type 50 when it's held up to the screen of your smartphone, tablet, or computer. The whole operation takes approximately 10 seconds.

Functions other than keeping the time include a calendar, travel time (for both east and west), a chronometer, and a flashlight mode which illuminates all of LEDs at the same time. The face of the watch is 50 mm (1.97 inches) in diameter, and 16 mm (0.63 in) thick, while the whole thing weighs in at 115 grams (4.06 oz). The strap is made from a mix of silicone and leather, with the face boasting brass, stainless steel, and zinc elements.

Design Furtive is currently crowdfunding the Type 50 through Kickstarter, with a pledge of CAD$295 (about US$263) being rewarded with one of the 1,000 units (hopefully) being produced. The video below shows the Type 50 in action, as well as showing Ménard talking briefly about what drove him to create such a unique timepiece.

Source: Division Furtive, Kickstarter

3 comments
Mel Tisdale
If I need to put my glasses on to tell the time, I don't want one, thanks. Also, if it contains an AAA battery, then it is going to be far too bulky for my liking.
Bill Bennett
Sorry, don't want a AAA battery on my wrist. I will stick with my weird watches from Tokyoflash. yeah I have four of them.
Riaanh
It is quite a nice design, interesting UI, giving access to advanced functionality, like the travel option, which in a normal watch could be a challenge. Only thing concerning me is the idea of being designed as "immune to obsolescence", but then needing a web-site to set the time. Hopefully there is another way of setting the time as well, in case the web-site should cease to exist.