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Ask Slashdot: What's The Most Useful 'Nerd Watch' Today? 232

He's worn the same watch for two decades, but now Slashdot reader students wants a new one. For about 20 years I've used Casio Databank 150 watches. They were handy because they kept track of my schedule and the current time. They were very cheap. They required very little maintenance, since the battery lasts more than a year and the bands last even longer. Since they were waterproof, I don't even have to take them off (or remember where I put them!) They were completely immune to malicious software, surveillance, and advertising. However, their waterproof gaskets have worn out so they no longer work for me. Casio no longer makes them or any comparable product (their website is out of date).
Today's watches include everything from heart rate monitors to TV remote controls, and Casio even plans to release a new version of their Android Wear watch with a low-power GPS chip and mapping software. But what's your best suggestion? "I don't want a watch that duplicates the function of my cell phone or computer," adds the original submission -- so leave your best answers in the comments. What's the most useful nerd watch today?
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Ask Slashdot: What's The Most Useful 'Nerd Watch' Today?

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  • by Tokolosh ( 1256448 ) on Sunday January 08, 2017 @03:39PM (#53629635)

    Star Trek sites?
    Pornhub? /.?

    • Yeah, that's what I thought, too--your title says it all. For me, Big Bang Theory serves as an adequate weekly dose.

  • by Nyder ( 754090 ) on Sunday January 08, 2017 @03:40PM (#53629645) Journal

    With having a cellphone, I haven't bothered to buy a watch in about 2 decades.

    But I did buy a Texas Instruments eZ430-Chronos Development Tool.

    It's a watch based development system for MSP430 chips.

    Sort of the father of some of the wearable devices, in it's own way.

    But this is the ultimate Nerd Ware. You program it to be useful. No one else did. (kidding, there are some programs peeps wrote)

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      The fact that it could not keep time and therefore failed horribly at a watch was also a big part of that.

      That and TI's API library was written by morons and the "free" Dev environment could not compile the demo....

      Yeah, it had potential.. but it was a huge failure just like the MSP430

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The Chronos isn't bad, but I prefer the Data Link USB. It was released in 2003, but is overall more useful than the Chronos. []

      As the name suggests, it uses USB to connect to the PC, and it lacks the wireless functions of the Chronos. The watch functions as a USB HID, so the official Windows software works on everything from Windows 98 to Windows 10. Timex released the official specifications of the communications protocol, so there is also an open source Linux implementation.


  • Old school...I'm in my 50's. Had one of the pulsar watches back in the 70's. Those cheap non smart casio digital wave-ceptors are good enough for me. I never understood the whole smart watch thing anyway. Too expensive for what it does.
    • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Sunday January 08, 2017 @03:52PM (#53629703) Journal
      I tried an Apple Watch for a while, to find out what the fuss is about (a more or less work related activity). They are useful for certain things, convenient for others, but in the end I found the bother of having to wear it (and charge it every night) to outweigh its usefulness. But that's just me. I wouldn't call them too expensive for what they do, but too expensive for their expected lifetime. If they'd commit to one or a few case form factors, sell a variety of cases ranging from cheap to luxurious, and let us swap out the electronics every few years for a modest price, then they'd make more sense financially.
    • by hambone142 ( 2551854 ) on Sunday January 08, 2017 @04:21PM (#53629829)

      I use an easy to read analog watch. I don't have to press any buttons to find the time and I can do it quickly.

      I've found that analog watches give me a spatial representation of time. Seeing the minute hand on the 10, for example gives me a gut fell regarding how long it'll be when the hour is reached. I don't get that from digital time pieces.

      Keep it simple.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Go to your local Wal-Mart (or equivalent). Buy one of their digital watches. It'll probably be in the $10-$20 range. It'll tell time just fine. It'll likely also tell the date. It's even rare to find low-end digital watches without alarm and stopwatch functionality. It'll likely be water resistant to a reasonable depth, too.

    There's no need for modern "smart watches" and all of the nonsensical features they include. Why the hell would I want a step-counting watch that ends up being off by a factor of 3 to 5

    • The cheapest watches around are the only sensible option.

      Unless you like nicer watches. I've been wearing a Casio AWG100 every work day for seven years, I spent $80, it's very durable, hasn't required any maintenance.

  • Apple Watch (Score:4, Interesting)

    by haemish ( 28576 ) on Sunday January 08, 2017 @03:44PM (#53629667)

    I know, I know. It makes me sound like a fanboy. But the feature that pushed me over the edge was the Auto Unlock feature. Now I have a strong password on all my computers that I don't have to type. Totally life changing.

    • by cruff ( 171569 )
      Does auto unlock disable itself if the watch is removed from contact with your arm or if your pulse stops?
    • by allo ( 1728082 )

      Every device with bluetooth can do this. It's called blueproximity and you need to know if you think it's secure enough for your needs.

  • Can't make your own gasket? Hand your card in at the door.

  • Casio F-91W (Score:5, Informative)

    by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Sunday January 08, 2017 @03:48PM (#53629685)
  • I had an S2 smartwatch for while. I kept trying to justify it. I kept telling myself it was justified. After a couple of months I conceded that, overwhelmingly, that the most used feature I got out of it was the flashlight function. I could carry on with my critique, but what's the point. It was nothing but a status symbol, and an ugly one at that. I am currently using one of these and am very happy with it:

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08, 2017 @03:58PM (#53629735)

    Latest model has a built-in digital compass (magnetometer), barometer, thermometer, and altimeter, plus for every locale: tides, moon phases, sunrise/sunset times. It also sets itself to atomic clock radio transmissions once a day. Great fit for the outdoorsy nerd, at any rate...

    • I have an older model, but I agree. Never having to set the watch and never having to worry about a new battery has been the nicest thing ever. Selecting time zones easily is a plus as well. As for the rest of the bells and whistles - well they're cute, but the other features are really the best for me. If you're out climbing you don't have to worry about getting a phone out to see the time and worrying that it will drop someplace inaccessible or just fall on something hard and break. I'll grant that phones
    • by Ksevio ( 865461 )
      But does it have bluetooth?
    • by ( 4475953 )

      Seconded. I'm using the Tough Solar Protrek, steel version. It doesn't have moon phases, sunrise/sunset and atomic clock radion reception, but it's water proof to 200m (important for me, since I like to swim without getting my watch stolen), analog/digital and has all the sensors. It's a great watch, I can only recommend it! (On a side note, as a European I bought it over Ebay from a NY watch store, which even after import taxes was still way cheaper than any shop in Europe!)

      I'd love to get my hands on the

  • I'm interested to see the results of this, too. The idea that a watch needs to be charged daily (or nearly daily) is utterly ridiculous. Like my Palm Pilot 500 which can run for weeks or months on a pair of AAA batteries, I'd rather have something simple that requires little effort than something with a thousand features which requires constant attention, software updates and charging.

    The only watch I currently own is a Casio G-Shock which syncs time via WWVB and keeps the battery charged via solar. The battery still needs to be replaced every seven years or so, though. Once I can replace the battery with a supercapacitor, I'd never have to open the watch for any reason, and I'd be happy.

    There should be more computing which focuses on doing certain things exceedingly well instead of trying to do everything.

    • As soon as you give it some kind of wireless, the battery starts draining fast.
    • by Ksevio ( 865461 )
      Once you get in the habit of charging every night, it's really not a big deal. I just plop my phone and watch on their wireless chargers and by the time I wake up they're ready to go
  • Pebble, no really (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The Pebble Time does pretty much all the cool things, without a fiddly touchscreen, and with a battery that lasts longer than all other smart watches I've looked at. A shame, then, that the price must have gone through the roof since the Fitbit buyout.

    • ^ That. Pebble does all the things people *actually* do with other super-powered battery-hog smartwatches (notifications, canned replies, a couple apps), but you get what you paid for (in money and charging worries). It doesn't duplicate smartphone functions - instead, it uses the smartphone's GPS, internet access and powerful CPU to do the heavy-lifting - the best apps are often "terminal-style" accessors for the powerful devices we have at our pockets but can't usually reach when wearing gloves, riding a

    • Yep, a couple of months ago I'd have said the Pebble or Pebble 2, but it's kind of hard to recommend them now.
      That said, I think most of the people who would want a Pebble, have already bought one.
      I'm going to keep wearing my Pebble2 until it stops working though. For me it hits the sweet spot between usefulness, battery life and price.
  • by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Sunday January 08, 2017 @04:22PM (#53629833)

    I'm already carrying it, and there's absolutely nothing of value that a watch will do that it doesn't. Bonus- no wearing something uncomfortable on your wrist that's just prone to hit things and pull out your arm hair. I threw mine out the day I bought my first dumbphone, and I wouldn't wear a new one if you bought it and paid me.

    • by pr100 ( 653298 )

      I don't wear a watch most of the time, but I do use a gps watch for running and cycling. A small gizmo strapped to your wrist (or to your handlebars) is more convenient than a phone for this.

    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      "there's absolutely nothing of value that a watch will do that it doesn't."

      My watch will function for years with no maintenance other than wearing it (light powered). It will work anywhere in the world. It's waterproof and shockproof for all practical purposes. It's small, light, unobtrusive.

      I might be able to keep my phone going for a few days at most without charging it, and it doesn't keep very good time in places without coverage. It's easily damaged by either shock or water, and is inconvenient to
    • by Minupla ( 62455 )

      I wear an android watch so that I have a "Hey, look at your phone" or "Hey, get to your next meeting" reminder that's not disruptive. The fact that my time is on my wrist is a nice side effect, but mostly it avoids me having to take my phone out of my pocket in social and business situations where it would be disruptive or frowned upon.

      Looking at your watch is a LOT more socially acceptable in certain circumstances then pulling your phone out.

  • Watch repair (Score:4, Informative)

    by holophrastic ( 221104 ) on Sunday January 08, 2017 @04:31PM (#53629853)

    You shouldn't have any trouble finding a watchmaker to repair your existing watch. A waterproof gasket is an easy fix. I wouldn't suggest doing it yourself only because tiny parts tend to fall out when you don't know how to open it.

    • I've taken them apart several times to change the battery. I don't think these are standard gaskets.

  • by supersteve1440 ( 652591 ) on Sunday January 08, 2017 @04:32PM (#53629869) Journal

    Casio G-SHOCK GWM5610-1 []

    Multi-Band Atomic Timekeeping (US, UK, Germany, Japan, China)
    Receives time calibration radio signals which keep the displayed time accurate
    Auto receive function (up to 6 times per day/up to 5 times per day for China)
    Manual receive function
    Signal: US WWVB, UK MSF, Germany DCF77, Japan JJY40/JJY60, China BPC Frequency: US 60kHz, UK 60kHz, Germany 77.5kHz, Japan 40/60kHz, China BPC 68.5kHz
    Tough Solar Power
    Shock Resistant
    200M Water Resistant
    Full Auto EL Backlight with Afterglow
    World Time
    29 times zones (48 cities + UTC), city code display, daylight saving on/off
    4 Daily alarms and 1 Snooze Alarm
    Hourly time signal
    1/100 second stopwatch
    Measuring capacity: 23:59'59.99"
    Measuring mode: Elapsed time, split time, 1st-2nd place times
    Countdown Timer
    Measuring unit: 1 second
    Input range: 1 minute to 24 hours (1-minute incremants and 1-hour increments)
    Full auto-calendar (pre-programmed until the year 2099)
    12/24 hour formats
    Button operation tone on/off
    Accuracy: +/- 15 seconds per month (with no signal calibration)
    Battery power indicator
    Power-saving function
    Storage battery: Solar rechargeable battery
    Approx. battery life: 10 months on full charge (without further exposure to light)
    Module: 3159
    Size of case/total weight
    GWM5610 46.7 x 43.2 x 12.7mm/51.7g

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Sunday January 08, 2017 @04:46PM (#53629931)

    Is that like DistroWatch [], but where people track and rank nerds?

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Sunday January 08, 2017 @04:51PM (#53629961) Homepage

    I use: []

    It just tells time. I wear it as a thing of beauty. It is expensive, but it attracts attention. People I am with have literally grabbed my hand and said "What is that?"

  • by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Sunday January 08, 2017 @05:01PM (#53630007) Homepage

    So, this is a bit of a repeat, but I'll answer as I did last time. I have a Citizen Eco-Drive Skyhawk: []

    Mine's a little different as I bought it as Service Merchandise which closed in 2002. I think I got it the year that they closed and paid $300 or $400 for it. It's still my watch.

    It doesn't run Android or anything. But it has a slide rule around the bezel and is actually made for making some aviation calculations simple. It also handles all time zones, shows utc on the face at all times, has a couple of alarms, a countdown timer, and a stopwatch. It's solar powered and I've never replaced the battery. It's also water-resistant. I've never had trouble with the watch. I just now realized that it's 15+ years old, and has lasted far longer than any other watch that I've owned.

    I know there are some amazing computerized watches out there, but a slide rule is the ultimate nerd accessory, right? Also, show me your second generation Apple Watch in 15 years.

    • I have to second the recommendation for Citizen watches in terns of durability and longevity. I've eyed that model for years, but could never really justify the cost. I bought a much simpler analog Citizen watch close to 15 years ago too (just clockface with date), but for me the essential feature has been solar power. I used to buy a new cheap watch every couple years when the battery died (since it was often more of a hassle to change a battery than to just buy a new watch). But I finally decided to g

    • The Skyhawk may not be to OP's liking as it's a bit Flava Flav-esque, but don't let that dissuade you from Citizen Eco-Drive. I've been rocking a titanium Citizen for fifteen years now as well. [] is an image of one of its brothers. They're built like a tank, never need a battery replacement (though eventually the rechargeable will need changing, but that is possible), and this one has the benefit of having a countdown timer in the digital portion of it.

      If you want to go all-o

  • After what happened with the Pebble a bunch of r/pebblers put together a list of smart watch alternatives []. Might be a good place to start looking into options. I've been looking into the Garmin Fenix smart watches ( possibly the newer announced Fenix 5 ) myself as aside from looks they seem to have what I want in a smart watch. Sounds like Fibit might be looking at doing a proper watch ( as opposed to their typical fitness trackers ) as well based on their purchase of Pebble's software division and some dis

  • Up to about 6 months ago, I used to wear of those cheap digital watches that Walmart peddles for ~$10. They'd last about a year, and I'd just go buy another one.. The last one I bought about 6 months ago, lasted about a month when I decided my phone shows the time, so why on earth do I need a watch? Haven't missed it..

    My sister in law gave me a white box for Christmas that said "SmartWatch" on the label. Sure enough it contained one of the "smartwatches" that Walmart sells for $79, reduced from $139.. The t

  • by ericlondaits ( 32714 ) on Sunday January 08, 2017 @05:29PM (#53630097) Homepage

    I have an Apple Watch and love it, but won't try to convince anyone here that it's the best (which I wouldn't know) but rather want to share how I use it:

    - I bought it because I work at cafes and was tired of taking my phone out of my pocket to check notifications. It serves that purpose rather well.
    - I use it a lot to set reminders with Siri. "Hey Siri, remind me to hang the clothes to dry in two hours", etc. I now try to avoid having to keep track of small things doing it "the cyborg way". In fact I just used it to set a timer for my tea. Siri supports some more surprising things (while listening to a podcast interview I said "Hey Siri, show me pictures of X (the person being interviewed)" and the face appeared on the watch) but I don't always realize I can use it for those.
    - I often use voice dictation to reply to messages when walking around. I even picked up phone calls Dick Tracy style a couple of times when the phone was a couple of meters away.
    - I use it to navigate with the maps when walking. I don't drive, but it's possibly useful that way as well. When walking long distances it's better to have the notification to turn around the corner on the wrist than on the phone in your pocket.
    - I use it to track my hearbeat during trainings. It has a podometer function as well that stores the distance walked in the health app on iOS.
    - I have the current temperature on the watch's face and tapping on that opens the forecast. I use that a lot.
    - I didn't expect this feature, but it suggests standing up and moving around a bit for at least a minute every hour... and I love it. It's a very small thing, but helpful for us who work sitting down.
    - When you charge it and set it on its side it becomes a bedside clock. I use that to wake up in the morning.
    - The flashiest thing it does is acting as a remote of the iPhone camera, with a live video feed and all... it's handy to get group shots without setting the timer and running away into place.

    • The above use cases pretty much mirror mine (as someone who does a lot of cooking, brewing, and woodworking, I find "Hey Siri, set a timer for _____" particularly useful when my hands are covered in _____). Thanks for the show-me-pictures-of tip — didn't know about that one. I also use the Wallet app several times a day for loyalty and membership cards. You can create your own for places that don't offer an app or Wallet integration (YMCA, Biggby, etc.) using PassSource []. Works like a charm, and if you
      • The tip about PassSource is very good... I live in Argentina so very few things have Wallet integration and I don't pay it much mind except when travelling... but with that I can create my own :-)

  • But they don't make them anymore. Here are some of these awe inspiring pieces of technological achievement:

    http://forum.pocketcalculators... []

    Seriosly, Casio, if you are reading this: Please, please, please produce another batch of stainless steel game watches. People are already paying $500 for a second hand watch like this one: []
  • []

    I was all set to pull the trigger on one of these but then went with the Apple Watch on an impulse. Either one is probably more than your budget but I did like the looks of the thing. I own/used its little brother, the STB-1000 and found it functional enough to justify buying a smart watch. Yes, it needs a phone for reminders and such, but it will do much of what a true smart watch will do and still be a pretty good stand alone device. And you're probably going to have your phone wi

  • Rolex originally marketed the Milgauss towards scientists and engineers who needed an antimagnetic watch. I have an Omega Seamaster >15'000 Gauss due to my need for higher levels of anti-magnetic resistence but a love of mechanical watches. The TAG my brother in law gave me for a wedding present wouldngain 2 minutes in the course of the day at work because of the EM from all the gear. Next one I go for is probably. A Breitling Navitimer; can't beat the useful nerdiness of a circular slide rule.

    I also do

  • "I don't want a watch that duplicates the function of my cell phone or computer," adds the original submission"
    Actually all watches duplicate smartphone functions, including the databank variants.
    With this in mind, 2 recommendations
    1. A classic automatic mechanical watch that is deeply engineered to nerdist level of detail, and a bit of a cult item amongst watch lovers: a Damasko DA36 or one of its DA3x siblings.
    Why? Because it has a difficult to scratch ice hardened case, an antimagnetic inner case fo
    • My phone is not waterproof, does not have a long battery life (>6 months) and it does not attach to my wrist.

  • When I started wearing one everyday, you had to wind it. Everyday. They had self winding ones.
    Later, they had LED models you had to press a button to see.
    I eventually had some kind of waterproof w/ alarm, stopwatch, countdown (casio or timex ironman).
    I tried the Timex Datalink (beam your calendar from outlook to your watch) and followed all the reverse engineering to get it working with Linux. After the case started getting eaten away, I switched back.

    Then my RSI started & my wrist would hurt so I to

  • But since you haven't gotten too many real answers to your question (which, if I understand correctly, is a request for a durable, long-lasting watch that just does what watches are supposed to do), I'll inform you of what I wear: the Casio G-Shock MT-G 900 []. I can't remember exactly when I got it, but it's been at least five years ago. It has an easy-to-read face with backlight, a steel band that doesn't get worn much with age, a radio receiver that syncs the time with the Fort Collins transmitter, and a

  • I still wear and use Casio Data Bank 150 calculator watch as well. I have not found a good replacement for it. :(

  • Casio Lineage Tough Solar Radio controlled MULTIBAND 6 LCW-M300D-1AJF

    Nice looking analog display + plus digital for a few things. The best feature is that the time never needs to be set (radio sync to NIST) plus never needs a new battery (solar). Super happy with this watch. Around $140.

  • I bought a Treehut watch made from wood. I find the woodworking fascinating, and the leather band very comfortable. Yes, it's not a nerd watch in the sense that it doesn't "do" anything nerdy; but I have a very nerdy phone in my pocket.
  • I haven't worn a timepiece since the 80s, so when I saw the headline, "What's The Best Nerd Watch", my reaction was: "Huh? It's not Slashdot? Dunno maybe ARS or stackexchange?"

  • I bought a Nixon Mission when it came out, and I've been extremely pleased with it: it runs Android Wear, meaning it integrates well with my phone; it's comfortable; its battery lasts a workday easily, and charges quickly for sleep tracking at night; it's waterproof down to a hundred meters, as well as being made with Gorilla Glass III, a high-impact chassis, and a stainless steel raised bezel, so it's pretty much indestructible (I've tested it with a thermal shock of 100C -> 20C and no problems); and ev

  • The problem with all these advanced (android wear, ...) smartwatches is the abysmal battery life. Typically a couple of days.
    Most of this power is used to replicate what your smartphone can do.

    Fitness trackers have features such as a very noticeable vibrator (can be used as a silent alarm clock), step/heart/sleep sensors, smart unlock for your phone, etc... Features that really add to what your phone can do without trying to do too much. As a result, these trackers are typically much cheaper and have a much

  • by sad_ ( 7868 )

    If i ever had to wear a nerdy watch, that would have been it.

  • It's an Apple watch for people who go outside.

    The battery lasts a month unless you're using the GPS then you'll have to charge it daily, but it charges very quickly in a magnetic USB cradle with pogo contacts.
    The normal kit comes with a heart rate chest strap and you can get cadence sensors, speed sensors, power meters, and such that link with it over radio.
    You can load different watch faces, widgets and even program your own.
    It has Bluetooth to link with your phone for notifications.
    One built-in widget is

  • "I don't want a watch that duplicates the function of my cell phone or computer,"

    That requirement alone pretty much leaves you buying a nice Swiss analogue watch and, as a nerd, marveling at the technical feat of engineering that went into creating something that can keep time (and date) without the use of any electrical components.

    Plus, it'll last a lifetime, the battery won't die out, can still be serviced many years from now, doesn't need to be charged every night, won't be rendered obsolete and will act

    • I was thinking something similar.

      At the beginning of the post, OP states that he used the Casio for scheduling.

      That is a duplication of functionality right there.

      So, analog time piece is really the only answer that makes sense.

  • I wore databanks for many years, ending in the ninetries, when I could not find them any more, even on business trips to Tokyo. There were registers where you could write short bits of text. I used these to store my car registrations, and a few phone numbers. This is the sort of thing you would have on your phone these days. However, if your phone goes flat, it is sometimes useful to have a duplicate. Alarms and Reminders. I had an app on my work computer but if I was not at my desk, I missed it. If I am no

  • I wear a 1955 Roamer Swiss mechanical watch on a cordovan leather strap. Manual winding, 17 jewels, 35mm case. I wouldn't have it any other way; wearing it makes me happy.
  • Unless you are one of the tiny subset of the population that both dives and needs to tell time while doing it there really isn't much point to them anymore. There are more accurate clocks everywhere, including on your phone.

    If you are going to wear something on your wrist go with a fitbit.

Never make anything simple and efficient when a way can be found to make it complex and wonderful.