Masters of obfuscated timepieces Tokyo Flash have always (well, since 2010) been open to consumer ideas for watch displays that are at first glance baffling but easy to read once you know the knack. With its fan-conceived Kisai Stencil LCD watch, Tokyo Flash has repeated the track with a watch that requires its wearer to read between the lines.

The new design exploits the idea of negative space. If at first glance your focus is drawn to the seemingly abstract arrangement of narrow lines then the watch might be difficult to interpret. Once you realize that the trick is to focus on the background, and the large, LCD screen-filling numerals that fill the screen in a two by two grid, it's as easy as pi.

The design was submitted by watch designer Heather Sable - one of many concepts she says she has submitted to the Tokyo Flash blog. "I found that I had a knack for creating read-at-a-glance designs with cryptic looking, yet easy to read digits," Sable told Tokyo Flash. "I designed the digits for this concept by starting with rectangular shapes, and cutting out unnecessary pieces using line segments and dots. By arranging them into four quadrants with some connecting lines, the display appears to be just a bunch of stenciled in lines and dots, while if you read the background, you can see the digits clearly."

In addition to displaying the time, the Kisai Stencil LCD will display the date in similar fashion, and includes an alarm mode. The watch itself is stainless steel, and the leather strap (niftily embossed with numerals mimicking the stencil numerals of the display) comes in either black or white.

The LCD display can be had in one of five colors (red, pink, green, blue or mirrored), and there's a backlight built in for nocturnal watch-reading. Go easy with this feature and the battery should last at least a year, according to its makers.

At 50 grams (1.8 ounces), Tokyo Flash claims the Kisai Stencil LCD watch is one of their lightest. It costs US$99, and you can see a video of the watch in, er, action in the usual place.

Product page: Tokyo Flash via Engadget

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