The Enormous Nano-size Watch

When the sixth generation iPod nano came out, it took about four nanoseconds for most beholders of its skinny elegant square form and the classic-looking analogue clock screensaver to think, “Hmmm…that could make a nice watch if you stuck a band on it.”

An American designer called Scott Wilson (Minimal) got straight to work, designing a machined aluminium case with a strap, and pushed it out onto the Kickstarter funding network to see if the idea had legs.

It did. Legs like a millipede. He needed US$15 000 to go into production, and by the time the first round was over, pledges were at US$941,718. This was clearly a product people wanted.

Thinking the idea (and design concept) were awesome, I put in a pledge late last year. One should be careful Internet shopping with a couple of drinks on board… In February this year the Lunatik and Tik-Tok watches had gone through production and were shipping. All I needed was a Nano to put in it.

Since the 6th-gen Nano launched, a whole bunch of manufacturers have produced similar watch cases (roundup of five good ones here).

There are two main types of design – some are merely a strap with a backing plate the iPod Nano clips into, and some are a case that encloses and protects the Nano. I prefer the enclosure type cases – at R1 999 for a new 16GB Nano, a clumsy face-cracking wrist-slap against something hard and pointy would be saddening.

So if that’s the back-story, read on to find out the ups and downs of using the iPod Nano as watch after a few weeks – specifically with the fully enclosing US$80 Lunatik case I got (the US$40 TikTok is the clip-in alternative).

To put it together you undo the bolts on the side with the supplied hex keys, pull the halves apart, slip the Nano in, and refasten. Takes two minutes. All you have to do then is set the Nano to “time on wake”, and rotate the screen for your chosen “earphone socket up or down” orientation. Done.

The Good

  • This is a great conversation starter. Wow, what a cool watch! It’s not a watch, it’s my iPod Nano. Wow! That’s awesome! (Smugly) I know. (End of conversation.)
  • It’s really rather stylish. Wilson has done a good job of integrating the design of the case and strap with the Apple look.
  • It’s a convenient place to have your player with the cable running up your arm – with the downside that if you wear a short-sleeved shirt you may need to wear a tennis wrist-band to stop the wire flapping.
  • High-quality CNC-machined aluminium and silicon rubber strap

The Bad

  • The aforementioned wire-flapping. Now if Apple was to put Bluetooth into Nano… (until then, you could use a small dongle like the i10s )
  • It is a bit bulky if you’re not used to wearing monstrous Malema-sized carbuncles on your wrist.
  • The edges are quite sharp, so snagging on things is not uncommon.
  • You can’t simply glance down at it, the screen goes to sleep. You have to hit the button.
  • And the iPod Nano has an annoying two-second lag when you hit the wake button. Apple? Fix please?



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