Tokyoflash Saishin Retsu LED Watch

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What criteria do you use when buying a wrist watch? Form over function, or function over form? If you are just in the market for a cheap time piece, Walmart always has a stash of plastic novelty watches for around $5. But if price isn’t a motivator and you want people to notice you, then you are probably the perfect customer for Tokyoflash. Located in Japan, this store has a unique variety of watches that entertain while also reporting the current time.

When Christian at Tokyoflash asked if I would like to review the smallest LED watch in the world, I didn’t hesitate in responding back to him.

A week or so later, a colorful box arrived at my post office. Oooh, dragons are my fave!

Inside the box was the Saishin Retsu Blue LED watch. Also available in a Green LED version, the body of this watch is very compact at 1 x 1.25 x .31 in (25 x 30 x 8 mm). It weighs in at just 40g and is powered by a CR1620 battery.

The body of the watch is made of a very solid chunk of metal (I’m assuming stainless steel), that has a slightly brushed appearance. Slots are cut into the top surface providing a contemporary minimal design. Along the right edge is a Black band. There are 10 LEDs located under this band.

On the left side is the time adjustment switch and the main time activation button. A black suede wrist band with a brushed silver buckle keeps the watch securely on your wrist.

Here you see the watch on my 5.5 inch wrist. This is one of the first LED watches that I’ve tried that does not swallow my whole arm due to the size. This makes the Retsu a perfect choice for female watch geeks. :o) The band can accommodate a wrist up to approximately 9 in (230mm).

Setting the watch is easy and just requires the use of a small pointy object to activate the adjustment switch. Since this watch only tells time and does not have date or AM/PM indicators, you can quickly set the time and start enjoying this watch right away.

Some of the LED watches that I’ve seen on the market, have wacky ways to display the time of day. You need to carry around an instruction sheet just to figure out what time it is! Thankfully, the Retsu isn’t difficult to read. When you press the button on the side, the row of LEDs will light up starting with the bottom LED and progressing up to the first digit in the current hour. Then the next digit in the hour will light up in the same manner. Then the first digit in the minute will light up and lastly the last digit in the minute will light up. It’s actually easier to see than explain. So watch the video clip below. The watch will display the time of 10:22.

See it in action…

Click on image to play the QuickTime video (29sec,
832kb). The video is encoded in the H.264 codec. You will need the latest version of
Quicktime to view it.
VLC is another free viewer.

The Saishin Retsu is a cool watch. I had several people ask me “what kind of watch is that?” while I was wearing it to work. I had fun pressing the button on the side and asking them if they could figure out the time. No one had a problem figuring it out.

The only problem I have with this watch is that it’s hard to just sneak a peek at the time. You know how it is, when someone comes up to talk to you and you want to see how long you’ve been standing around. With a regular watch, it’s easy to secretly sneak a peek without being rude. With this watch it’s pretty much impossible. But let’s not kid ourselves, no one is going to buy this watch with the primary purpose of telling time. Nope, they are going to buy it to be noticed. And that’s exactly what will happen.

Available directly from Toykoflash for ¥13900 (approximately $120).


Product Information

  • Compact
  • Unique
  • Fun
  • Doesn't show AM/PM or date

9 thoughts on “Tokyoflash Saishin Retsu LED Watch”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. Too bad they went with blue LEDs. What’s with blue LEDs on *everything* these days? Apart from being novel (because “hello gentlemen, finally we can do teh blue!”) they’re the worst color in the color spectrum to use. Even in the QT demo it’s hard to see whether the 1 or the 2 is lit.

    (Next to violet, blue light is the shortest wavelength and scatters the most in the atmosphere.)

    I for one will be glad when the blue fad is over and we return to red, which is the *proper* color for a LED.

    BTW, one of the cons listed is the lack of am/pm, but most analog watches don’t have this either. If you’re looking at your watch and you don’t know if it’s morning or night then you have a bigger problem than your watch not having am/pm!

  3. Julie,
    Like the review – seriously tempted to buy the watch. Is it a keeper?

    I was first introduced to Tokyoflash by Judie’s review of the Pimp Star Performer Watch. Bought the black version of the watch and its my main watch. Cool cool cool!

    By the way, this watch is not listed on the “More like this” section.

  4. Hellenek:

    The way the “More like this” section works is that it take the last 5 reviews in that category and lists them. The Pimp Star Performer Watch review is farther down in the list. If you want to see all the reviews for a category, you can click on the category title. 🙂

  5. dmccarty wrote:

    BTW, one of the cons listed is the lack of am/pm, but most analog watches don’t have this either. If you’re looking at your watch and you don’t know if it’s morning or night then you have a bigger problem than your watch not having am/pm!

    I know this was posted back on Dec. 1, but I just got here and wanted to comment on this.

    Just so everyone knows, there are several instances where one may not know whether it’s morning or night without an AM/PM function on their watch. Serving on a submarine is one…living in very high latitudes (both north and south) is another…also, flying long distances across many time zones, etc. I have a watch that has a 24-hour movement just for situations like this…the hands only rotate about the face once per day.


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