It is a rare day that a watch comes in that we can easily describe as being “unique” in the manner in which it displays the time. At Watch Report we generally see a lot of 3 handed dive watches, quartz chronographs and multifunctions digitals, none of them being especially unique when it comes to physically pointing out the time. Thanks to Phosphor, who you all likely know well for their work with E-Ink based watches, we can safely claim we have something rather original to show you today. The Phosphor Appear is a quartz watch with a bejewelled and somewhat mechanical way of showing you the current time. Phosphor has really created something different in the Appear so lets take a closer look:
- 44 x 15.5mm
- 49.5mm (lug to lug)
- 22mm Lugs
- Dial adorned with Swarovski crystals
- M3D 7 Segment physical display
- 50m WR
- Black leather strap
- MSRP: $199
At first glance, especially in the “off mode” the Phosphor Appear looks like a silly fashion watch with too many gems on the dial (the dial is literally paved in Swarovski crystals). When the top pusher at two o’clock is pressed the Appear transitions to “time mode” and the display jumps to life. A magnetically actuated seven segment physical display swaps bejewelled areas for black segments that display the time in a readout that is familiar to anyone who has ever owned a digital alarm clock. As the time advances, the matrix of jewelled areas are progressively modified to show the time. This is all done using Phosphor’s M3D (Micro-Magnetic Mechanical Digital) technology that uses an electromagnetic field to change the positions of each cell, allowing them to create any number (0-9) in the contrast of the jewelled dial. This is almost impossible to describe in text so please, even if you are not interested after seeing the included photos, check out the attached video. The overall effect is definitely a party piece and it left even the most staunch objector with a sly smile on their face. In addition to the visual element of watching the display transition from time, to just seconds, to off and back on again there is an absolutely charming mechanical click as each segment falls in or out of its place. This is something you have to hear in the video, its my favourite part of this watch as it makes a sound something like a typewriter writing in morse code.
The rest of the case is a polished stainless steel that is of a fair grade for its price and is shiny enough to match the dial. There are options in both the men’s and the woman’s variants of the Appear for a jewelled bezel. The woman’s line can also be had with red or pink jewels in the time telling array for a flashy effect with additional contrast. The Appear comes mounted to a simple and soft black leather strap, very comfortable with subtle matched stitching that compliments the watch nicely. At 44mm wide and 15.5mm tall the Appear is in a larger category usually home to divers and chronographs, not fashion watches. That said it doesn’t wear overly large but will definitely get noticed given the blinged out dial.
Generally, when you hear “unique” in any review of a watch you should be reaching for your big-boy (or girl) wallet. In watchmaking, anything that is bespoke or custom produced will come with a fair but lofty price tag. Luckily, the Appear wont break the bank with its $199 price point. No, its not high end watch making nor is it really my style given the sparkle that comes from the dial but it is a fun watch that isn’t taking its self too seriously and I have become addicted to the sound of the movement.
Our thanks to Phosphor for providing a review sample.