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Crowdfunding criticism: A watch with no way of setting the time

Crowdfunding criticism: A watch with no way of setting the time

Hi. I rarely want to talk badly about a crowdfunding campaign. It’s just not fun or right to punch down when there are so many worthy targets to punch up at. But the point of a campaign is charging for something sensible, and then being able to deliver it.

The Solid State Watch campaign bills themselves as an art project “inviting us to think about consent within the context of electronic obsolescence.”

What this means is, they intentionally take a perfectly good $10 watch, take the guts out of the case, and cast it into a transparent resin case.

“Each one is unique, with its own imperfections,” they say. This could be heard as, “We don’t take the time to try and make them without imperfections, we just dump resin in a mold.”

As a part of the kickstarter, you have to tell them what time you wish it to be set to, and which timezone. Once it’s cast in its new case, there are no buttons, so it can’t be set ever again.

It also can’t be set when Daylight Saving Time rolls around. There’s no LED, because there are no buttons. There’s no using the alarm feature, because they’re no buttons. There’s no changing the battery, because it’s trapped in the resin.

This is what they mean by ‘commentary on electronic obsolescence’. Once it runs out, it’s done.

Why is there an orange dot over the LCD? They cover the date display of the watch. Why would they do this? Because the watch will get out of sync on the date due to leap years.

It’s curious that they don’t mind the watch getting out of sync for DST, but object to leap years. The justification is that over DST, it should eventually get back in sync, where the date never will.

Basically, they take a 3D printed case, drop in the movement from the Casio F-91W, and pour resin over it, followed by a UV cure stage.

The issues I see with this project, besides the absurdity of making a watch less useful as a statement on reliance on battery life, is that it has a lot of room for failure as a project. This is the 11th project of the two-person artist team, so they have that going for them.

Against them are the logistics problems. They have a $10 watch that they’re charging $160 for in a worse case, the time that it takes to print the new cases, pour resin, UV cure them, half the money goes to taxes, collecting all the surveys for timezones, 12/24 hour, etc., and then shipping them correctly to new owners. I suppose we can thank heavens they haven’t tried to over-complicate it with dial or strap choices.

383 backers have supported this thing so far, for a total of 64,915 USD. They set a goal of 8000, so they only needed 50 people to get funded. Pouring UV for 400 watches is a lot less fun than doing it for 50.

If you want a watch that’s correct only part of the year, that becomes a disposable lump when the battery dies, today is your day. For $160, check out kickstarter.com for the Solid State Watch project.

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