Real Time War Time

A watch for Ukraine

Black & OD at 1107 PST

It’s been too long since my last post. But, hey, it was time for Spring Break and chores. I’m back with a special watch to talk about. There are many reasons to like this watch, and many layers to discuss about time and life.

At War

War is a human constant. It is all around us in the world. Sometimes we notice, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we participate, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we speak out, sometimes we don’t. As the world watches Putin’s Russia pound Ukraine into rubble, each of us decides personally or officially how much to engage. I have the option of looking away as I sit typing here about a watch. This month marks two years since Russia invaded Ukraine (again) in April 2022.

I have to wonder what I would do if I was an ordinary Ukrainian citizen who lived, or until recently lived, in a town that is now uninhabitable? What would I be doing if my home town, here in the USA, was being destroyed before my eyes, deprivation and death all around? Hopefully it will end soon and Ukraine can rebound towards normalcy. Hopefully the Russian people can find the strength to change out their maniacal regime. As I stated above, war is constant. Gaza has now interrupted our focus on Ukraine and begs the world’s attention.

Real Time

Real Time refers to taking in life, as it unfolds in front of you in real time. Noticing the moment in the real world, the passing of time with an analog watch. Zavod’s website states, “…The value of every moment and making wishes under the falling stars.” According to the designers, the watch also serves as a memento of how humans have used the stars to track time. The six versions of the Real Time watches each have on the back the name and coordinates of a Dark Sky spot (resort) in the world, and the date and time of an annual meteor shower. There is also a star map of the sky at that time. The six world spots are Isle of Møn, Denmark (the watch designer, Aleksej Iskos, is Ukrainian-born, living in Denmark), Uzhok Pass, Ukraine, Warrumbungles, Australia, San Pedro Mártir, Baja Mexico, Iriomote Ishigaki, Japan, and Cherry Springs, PA, USA.

Six Case/Dial combinations
Location, coordinates, time, star map

War Time

My watch is the War Time limited edition version with coordinates for Uzhok Pass, Ukraine. It is basically a Uzhok with additional markings and the unique green strap. That location is near the border with Poland. 220 of the War Time were made with money from sales going to purchase a drone for humanitarian de-mining purposes.

Limited Edition Serial No., WARTIME, and KICKSTARTER markings
Uzhok Pass near the border Google
Uzhok Pass, Ukraine, by Viacheslav Ulshyn– Jan 2017

A Watch Anyway

A war was not going to stop this project. Maybe it spurred intent to get it done? Zavod stared the Real Time watch project in 2020 with a planned launch of 2022. The invasion scattered the company employees as they attended to families, volunteering, military duty. For many reasons, they decided to carry on. The Real Time was designed in Ukraine and produced in Hong Kong. I got my War Time through a Kickstarter campaign, but it appears some are still available on the Zavod site. I made my pledge in July 2023. I think they made their funding goal that month and proceeded with production. I received my watch in March 2024.

case 8.75mm thick, 10mm with crystal dome

Minimalist Design

I suppose it is time to talk about the watches! Its a simple looking beast; 40mm puck shape with no lugs. its 10mm thick including a small curved crystal over the minute disc. Water Resistance is 30m, so its a style watch more than a spec watch., The War Time is a black watch on a dark olive fabric band. There are several looks available circular brushed stainless, pvd black, gold or silver as well as mesh metal or black leather straps. Each Dark Spot location has a different case finish, from there you can pair it with a strap you like.

Time is displayed by two rotating discs, the outer one for hours, the inner for minutes. No seconds tracking. There are no hands. There is no date complication. The movement is a Miyota 2036 quartz, and the flat case back is secured by four small screws. There is no luminant to assist you in the dark.

Time is determined by aligning the numbers on the clock-wise rotating discs to round indentations(dots) on the case top. Above the bottom, outer hour window is a small dot. Above the round, center, minutes window there is a bigger dot.

12:38

Now, I’ve never used a watch that keeps time like this, so it is a bit odd and hard to read at first. The hands aren’t moving, the dials are. Instead of hands moving over numbers, its numbers rotating past a dot. I end up determining what numbers the dots are between, i.e., lower dot between 12 and 1, so its after 12, then reading the minutes backwards (counter-clockwise), between 35 and 40 minute marks. There are 15 minute increment marks on the top of Hour disc window, but they are hard to see unless the watch is tilted away from you.

Can you see the 15-min. marks in lower window?

Like I said before, there are lots of reason to be interested in this watch. If you are a star gazer, study geography, travel, like unique wrist watch displays, want to support Ukraine, or just like minimalist modern design, this could be for you.

Normally I am not the black watch type (there are always exceptions), but I liked the idea of supporting the purchase of a de-mining drone, so I got the Uzhok/Wartime, all-black version. Each color combination is attractive. I particularly like the Iriomote Ishigaki with its muted gold case and white dials. Additionally, as a kid, I did live on Okinawa for a few years. Its about a 1 hr. flight from Okinawa to Ishigaki island next to Iriomote site. That might be the closest I have been to any of the Dark Sky spots? No, I guess I have passed through Philadelphia, which is closer to Cherry Springs than Okinawa is to Ishigaki. Still, the Iriomote Ishigaki would be my pick of another version.

11:05 on gravel

With the all-black Uzhok, the case seems to fade away more so than the gold or silver cases, there being no contrast between dials and case. When the dial contrasts with the case, the case becomes more noticeable as a disc/puck shape; a watch or bracelet. The Uzhok is definitely the stealthiest of the lot. Even the Isle of Møn, still black, but with white dials, has a very different presence than the Uzhok.

The watch is a conversation starter. The Uzhok would be the least noticeable while a gold or silver version with a white dial probably the most noticeable?

I’m not sure what I think about the Real Time as a watch? I suppose that because its design language is so unique and I have no category or history to assign to it, it is a sculpture and a new way of displaying time. To me, it is a memento of the Ukraine war. I will think about Ukraine when I see it, and the space between hour numbers on the disc.


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