Phosphor Appear Black Crystal Watch with Black Gloss Leather Strap Review

I really like watches, especially unusual ones.  The Phosphor Appear Black Crystal Watch with Black Gloss Leather Strap is certainly unusual.  It reminds me of eInk screens in a way.  Instead of using LEDs to show the time, these watches turn over crystals to show a clear side or a colored side to create the digits.  When Phosphor offered a watch to The Gadgeteer, I asked if I could try a black one.  I thought the black would be more discreet than the red I’d normally choose.   Turns out these watches are anything but discreet.

Most images in this review can be clicked for an enlarged view.

The watch arrived in an elegant black faux-leather box with the Phosphor name embossed in silver.  The top opens up to reveal the very shiny, sparkly watch on a black velvet pillow.  You also get a couple of booklets stored in a cunning compartment on the bottom of the hinged lid.

This is a big, heavy watch.  It’s very sparkly and attention-getting.  It’s not the watch for the shy, retiring lady.

The silver-colored case measures about 1.5″ wide X 1.75″ long (including the strap attachment arms), and it’s about 0.5″ thick.  It measures about 9.3″ from end to end.  The watch weighed 2.8 oz on my kitchen scale.  That doesn’t sound like much, but it is a very heavy watch.  You may need to do some curls to strengthen your arm to wear this one.

The numerals are very large on this watch; each measures about 0.5″ long.  Even older eyes won’t have a problem telling time on this watch.

The case back is marked stainless steel, but I can’t find anything that tells me what the rest of the case is made of.  The case bezel is encrusted with pavéd clear Swarovski crystals.  The black face is also covered with clear Swarovski crystals.  There’s a small Phosphor logo near the top left of the face.  The above photo shows the watch in the off position; time isn’t displayed and all crystals are turned to the clear side.  You can still see which crystals are used to display the time if you look closely.

The padded strap is made of very supple, shiny black leather.  I believe this is true patent leather.  I’d only ever seen the vinyl that passes for patent leather before, and this watchband is much nicer and much more flexible than the fake stuff.  The strap is about 0.75″ wide.  The band can be adjusted to fit a wrist between about 5.5″ to 7.5″.

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Click on any of the photos showing the watch face and closely inspect the face.  You’ll see that the black numbers are made up of little bars with black crystals on one side and clear crystals on the other.  I’m going to quote Phosphor here, because they can best explain how these watches function.  “Driven by Micro-Magnetic Mechanical Digital (M3D) technology, the Phosphor Appear watch utilizes miniature-sized rotors adorned with Swarovski™ crystals that revolve to reveal numerical or chronological information. With each minute, an electrical pulse generates an electromagnetic field that changes the position of the crystals on the face of the watch, to elegantly display the passing time, while producing a distinctive sound unique to the Phosphor Appear digital watch line.”

If you watch closely, you can actually see the little bars flip as the time changes.  The “distinctive sound” is the sound of the bars moving.  You hear a definite “click” sound as they flip.  You’ll best be able to see and hear the bars change in the seconds mode.

You use the two buttons on the right-side of the case to adjust the time and to change modes.  You can turn the time off; the crystals all turn to clear and the watch becomes a bracelet.  You can also toggle the watch between time mode and seconds mode.

A strong shock to the watch might cause the little rotors to get knocked out of position.  The watch detects this and automatically corrects the position of the rotors to the correct time. If you ever notice that one of the rotors is out of position, simply change modes and the watch should correct itself.

When the watch arrived at my house a couple of weeks ago, it was 1 minute slower than my clock.  I adjusted the time to match my clock.  The watch time still agrees with the clock.  I’m pleased with the accuracy.

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My daughter Rachel is once again my watch model.   You can see that this is a very large watch when you see it on her small wrist.  It’s good that the watchband has two strap keepers, because she has a lot of extra band that needs to be corralled.

If you know a lady who loves unusual watches and who isn’t afraid of a shiny, attention-getting piece of jewelry, consider the Phosphor Appear watch for her.  You can choose black strap/black numbers, red strap/red numbers, white strap/black numbers, and pink strap/pink numbers versions with the crystal-encrusted bezel for $249.  If she’d prefer a little less bling, there are versions available with plain metal bezels for $199 to $210.

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Product Information

Manufacturer:Phosphor Watches
  • Very unusual watch mechanism
  • Very easy to see the numerals, even for aging eyes
  • May be too big and heavy for some women
11 comments… add one
  • Andy Chen November 29, 2011, 10:23 am

    Oh, what I would give for a crystal-less version with digits painted a bright, contrasting color!

  • Dmitriy November 29, 2011, 11:40 am

    i think we need a video how crystals are moving. it’s not clear from review.

  • Janet Cloninger November 29, 2011, 2:38 pm

    @Dmitriy There’s a YouTube video from Phosphor that shows how the crystals move. You can watch it here.

  • roy November 29, 2011, 11:32 pm

    elegant and simple piece of design, I would have one for collection coz not many watches with this kind of style

  • jpdanzig November 30, 2011, 10:08 am

    What is the light we see in several of the pictures above? Is that the reflection of a flash taking the photo, or something the watch is emitting?

  • Janet Cloninger November 30, 2011, 10:14 am

    @jpdanzig It’s reflections of the pendant fixture in my kitchen where I set up my “photo studio.”

  • jpdanzig November 30, 2011, 10:26 am

    So — thanks, Janet…

  • Bob DeLoyd November 30, 2011, 6:05 pm

    Well at least this one is easy to tell what time it is 🙂

  • Janet Cloninger November 30, 2011, 7:57 pm

    @Bob Even the people across the room can tell what time it is! 😉

  • Bob DeLoyd November 30, 2011, 9:30 pm

    @Janet I saw the video and I agree!

  • Christa January 29, 2014, 12:41 am

    You had a great review for the watch.. I have been trying to adjust the time
    For months now.. Idk if im clueless but i looked on the actual manuel on the website to figure it out but its still not working.. Is there a simple way you can explain to me how to adjust the time? Please & thank you

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