Equitime
Is it 9:50 or 10 minutes before 10?
By Columnist
msnbc.com
updated 10/6/2006 2:57:08 PM ET 2006-10-06T18:57:08

Forget everything you know about digital wrist watches.

Digital watches look back at the past. They provide you with the number of minutes which have passed you by each hour. As I write this it is 8:43 — or 43 minutes after the hour.

Analog watches (the ones with hour and minute hands) look toward your future. It’s still 8:43 (I type fast). But when you read that on an analog watch the time becomes 17 minutes to 9.

OK, so what does that have to do with anything else on the planet? I’ve just discovered a digital watch that actually changes how I tell time.

The quadtec is a large hunk of digital architecture — big, square, heavy and conspicuous. I’ve actually had a number of people (men only) stop me in the street to ask me what kind of watch I was wearing.

The watch comes in a beautiful leatherette presentation box with three options to attach it to your wrist — a heavy, shiny (or satin finish) stainless steel link bracelet, a black leather and orange rubber straps.

The digital readout is quite large — 1.5-inch square. You can easily see it from a few feet away.

Quadtech
All three modes show the same time.  It's just how you look at it.
In the normal digital watch mode the quadtecs tell time like any other digital watch. But there are two other time-telling options. In the ES (elapsed segmented) mode your watch functions normally for the first 30 minutes of each hour. But from minute 30 through minute 59 — that actual minute readout is on the left side of the hour number. Think in terms of an analog watch — where the minute hand swings to the left side of the watch face for the second half of each hour.

The third option and my favorite is the: EF (elapsed forward). Beginning with the 30th minute of every hour, the watch changes and to counts down to the new hour. So, when it is 9:37 — the quadtec reads 13 minutes before 10.

OK. No big deal right? Wrong! When I heard about the quadtec I wasn’t sure what was so special. But once you put it on — wear and live with it for a few days — you begin to realize how cool it is.

I now find myself looking at the time on a digital watch and actually thinking that it’s 6 minutes to the hours or 18 minutes after the hour — depending on what time it actually is, of course.

I'll attempt to explain the benefits of these digital watch features:

  • People who are time-challenged — i.e., always late for work, racing to keep reservations, movies, dates and meetings, or otherwise crunching too much into a short period of time. Now you can count-down just how little time you actually have.
  • People have no concept of time, even when they wear a watch. Counting down to the new hour might just shake your sense of reality.
  • Geeks who know everything about technology. This low-tech watch will challenge your time-space relationship.

For those watch fans who are also musicians, quadtec provides you with the sheet music used by the watch’s alarm. The song is called “QUADTEC, Way t’ Go.”  The ridiculous lyrics are included in case you wish to sing along:

“Wake up now.  Take a look. 
Time has come to do your thing. 
No more wait.  Can’t be late. 
Soon be time to Rap n’ Rock. 
Love my time do’n Rock n’ Rap!”

quadtec in its presentation case

I found that the quadtec’s backlighting is kind of dim. It’s only helpful in a very dark room.  Although, if making the backlight brighter would affect overall battery life — then they’ve probably made the right decision. 

Otherwise, the watch is very clever and delivers what it promises — and that’s a good thing for any product these days.

quadtec retails for $490 and is available both online and in a select number of retail outlets.  I know that may seem like a lot of money to some — but it's not if you're in the market for a slick, collectable designer timepiece with three substantial watch bands.

quadtec comes with a 1-year warranty and the battery is estimated to last for 5 years.

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