“Bradley,” made by Eone, is a tactile watch that features two metal balls instead of traditional hands — governed by a magnet to prevent accidental dislocation — and no glass covering the face. Wearers can tell the time by feeling the position of the balls relative to raised lines on the face: the 12 is represented by a triangle, while the lines at 3, 6 and 9 are slightly larger than the rest.
I first heard about this product when working at Perkins School for the Blind, where many students lauded the product for its functionality. There wasn’t the disruption that often came with talking watches, and the interface was much sturdier than the traditional Braille analog.
But according to inventor Hyungsoo Kim, “Bradley” is not only for the blind. Its design appeals to sighted customers who like the idea of checking the time discreetly, especially in settings where it is rude to glance at a watch or phone.
The idea originated when Kim, a graduate student at MIT, noticed that his classmate was too embarrassed to check the time on his talking watch. Together, they started a crowd-funding campaign that surpassed their goal fifteen times over. The watches now sell for about $280 apiece.
According to Eone’s website, the watch embodies values of “inclusivity, accessibility, aesthetics, quality, giving back, sustainability, and diversity.”