Krzysztof J. Weblog

Indie game developement, pixel art, open source and linux

Tale of Smart Watches

January 14, 2017 — Krzysztof Jankowski


About a year ago I bought Pebble watch. It was cheap and interesting. First I wanted to just test if I really need wearable device. Then I discover it's superb SDK for making my own apps for it. Not long after that Pebble make another highly successful campaign about new, color watch. But they failed to deliver. And eventually bankrupt. No more Pebble watches, no more updates nor software to manage the watch.

How I use smart watch

After all that time I figure out that I only use this (smart)watch for few things. Most people check the time on (smart)phones. I don't even carry one with me all the time. So first and most obvious use is to check the time. And doing it just by looking at the watch. Not pressing to activate nor any other bullshit like gestures (I'm looking at you Apple). Just take a look. Only Pebble can do this as it have persistent display. It just show the time. Simple as that.

Time is not only hour of the day. Time is also a date of the month. I often check what day of the week will be at given date in the future using full screen calendar. It's super useful in so many situations. And much, much faster than on the (smart)phones. I have a hotkey for this on Pebble (calendar view).

Second most used use case is timer. I do lot of cooking. And cooking is mostly about timing. I destroy lot of pots before just by forgetting to turn off the stove. Now I just set the timer and the watch will gently vibrate to recall me. I can't cook without it. So I have another hotkey for this on Pebble.

And that's basically it. I don't do any thing more. I don't pare (Bluetooth) it with a smartphone. I don't use any other apps or games. I definitely do not want notifications and I don't want to control any IoT, HiFi, etc. Watch is a watch.


Pebble stats to fail lately. First there is a screen tearing problem. I need to hit the watch really hard to enable the screen to work. It's a know problem of generation one of Pebbles.

Second thing is the battery. It's getting worse and worse. And it's not user replaceable. Pebble is all glued.

The last thing is most absurd. User can not set a time on the watch. You. Can not. Set time. On a watch. If it's loose all power then it reset to the year 2000 and 12:00 AM. The only way to update the time is to connect to the (smart)phone app (Apple/Android only). And then it sets the time automatically. Not manual! And right now it failed to do even that by not counting daylight saving. So I have a wrong time. And whats even worse the app will work only till the end of 2017.

A new watch!

As much I love the Pebble it was time to buy a new watch. I searched for something that will have persistent screen, timer and calendar, long battery life, be waterproof and don't cost more that Pebble. Also needs to look retro nerdy. I don't like analog nor circled watches. I'm an engineer!

And I have found it :) It's almost perfect. It doesn't have calendar view (only today date). But as a bonus It have a little map with ability to see the time in many cities. It has clear screen. It has timer/stopper. And the best part: up to 10 years of battery life.

It's a CASIO AE-1200WH-1B. 2013 classic dumb watch. Looks cool, satisfy my needs and it's very solid. I couldn't be happier :)





  • C SDK to write own apps
  • application store with free apps
  • many watch faces to choose
  • persistent screen that is visible in the sunlight
  • waterproof
  • vibration instead of sound alarm
  • good price for smartwatch (~$80)


  • very poor battery life (still the best in smart watches)
  • known problems with screen
  • can't change the time without outside application
  • it's dead as.. dead



  • world time
  • extremely good battery life (up to 10 years)
  • solid but light construction
  • very good price (~$25)
  • I like the look


  • no calendar view
  • no vibration

Tags: watch