All About Japan

What Time? Kanji Time!

Shopping Design Learning Japanese Fashion

With the advent of cellphones, wristwatches have become less and less common, meaning makers have had to get more and more creative capture the attention of customers. One perfect example is this Japanese watch company that has started selling watches that use transforming metal kanji characters to tell the time!

The first question you might have is how on Earth does a watch like this work? Let’s walk through it step by step. Above is a watch with the kanji ai meaning, "love.” Every hour (as in, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, etc.), the kanji looks like this.

But every minute, the pieces that make up the kanji move more and more out of order, until it’s basically unrecognizable after thirty minutes. Then it slowly moves back together, until it’s returned to its normal form on the hour.

You may have a very important question at this point: doesn’t this make reading the time more complicated than it should be? Yes. Does that really matter? Of course not! If you want to read the time accurately, then stick with a cellphone. If you want to be the stylish talk of the town, then get yourself a kanji watch.

Now if you’ve been wondering this whole time where you can get a kanji watch of your own, we have good news and bad news. First, the good news is that they’re available for sale online right at the maker’s website. There’s a bunch of different kanji options, and you can request your own personalized ones as well.

Now, the bad news. Each watch is handcrafted by one man, so they cost anywhere from ¥100,000 to ¥180,000 (about US$800–$1,500). But that’s a small price to pay for the incredible fashion statement that you’ll make everywhere you go.

Ready to carry around the ultimate conversation piece on your wrist? Then check out Kanji Watch’s website and get one for yourself. Just do your best to ignore the sound of your bank account crying in pain.

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