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A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed the minimalist designer watch ZIIIRO Celeste and I absolutely fell in love with its geeky, quirky take on time. Today, I’ll be looking at something similar from the renowned geeky watchmaker, Toykoflash — the Kisai Online LCD watch, a $169 watch with an emphasis on design.
Does this futuristic watch deserve a spot in your watch box? Does it look as good in person as it does online? Is the design practical and suitable for everyday use? If you’re aching to find out if you should spend $169 on this watch, find out in the details in my review. Plus, we’re also giving this Tokyoflash Kisai Online LCD watch away!
While the ZIIIRO Celeste came packaged in a stylish circular box, this Tokyoflash Kisai Online LCD watch was shipped in a plain carton box. So, in terms of packaging, it was a total let down, hence the lack of unboxing photos here. No matter, since all we’re interested in is what the box contains so I’ll look past the unattractive packaging and go straight to the watch.
If you’re a seasoned online shopper, the fact that some products are made to look better online and in photos, from capturing them at the right angles and image editing, probably isn’t much of a surprise to you. Unfortunately, the Tokyoflash Kisai Online LCD watch was poorly (falsely?) represented online. In person, it was pretty much a disappointment.
What you can’t see from the product images on Toykoflash’s website is that the watch is really quite thick. And it wasn’t until I put it on that I realised just how heavy the 160g watch is. In my mind, I was expecting a watch with finesse and a futuristic, elegant design. Instead, in all honesty, I received a product which pretty much looks like a counterfeit watch you might find in an Asian night market.
This Toykoflash Kisai Online LCD watch features a black or silver stainless steel case with an adjustable bracelet strap. Each design is sold in one of 3 LCD colour options: natural, blue and red. The case is also made of stainless steel, with what I’m assuming is a plastic face cover, and measures 33mm x 51mm x 14.4mm — that’s right folks, the watch is over 1cm thick. The steel used to construct the watch doesn’t exude a quality finish either. In fact, I’m sad to say that it sounds and feels rather plasticky, hollow and cheap. Due to the largeness of the case and the relative skinniness of its strap, I found the watch to be quite top-heavy and not at all comfortable to wear.
What initially attracted me to this watch was the LCD display and its vertical line design. On paper, the cool cryptic pattern has the potential to turn something as boring as telling time, into an interesting, head-turning event that people will enjoy talking about. In reality, I’m afraid that it doesn’t even come close.
The red on black colour scheme not only makes the lines and “digits” difficult to discern, it can sometimes be impossible to read in certain conditions. Even though the LCD is constantly on, there isn’t enough contrast between the lines and the background, so they blend into each other — another aspect of the watch which was falsely represented by their manipulated product images. In low-light conditions, this turns into a nightmare. The fitted electroluminescent light source isn’t even close to bright enough. So don’t bother looking at this watch if you expect to read the time at night.
One of the main selling points of this watch is a cryptic mode, which adds even more lines to its already complicated design. This is achieved using an accelerometer — swing the watch towards you to reveal the time, swing it away from you to enable the cryptic mode. In the image below, I have the watch upside-down and as you can see, when the watch is in cryptic mode, it’s impossible to tell the time. Fantastic.
Along with the current time, the Tokyoflash Kisai Online LCD watch also has a date indicator and an alarm, which beeps like a cheap watch and is dreadfully impossible to set. So my advice to you is: never use it.
Should you buy the Tokyoflash Kisai Online LCD watch?
As I mentioned in the beginning of this review, Tokyoflash is a respected geeky watch maker. Several of their designs have made it to well-respected designer blogs. So, as a consumer who paid $169 for the Kisai Online LCD watch, I expected more. I would have preferred the LCD to be easier to read. The case could have been slimmer. The stainless steel finish could have been better. The EL light could have been brighter. The entire watch could have been lighter.
Overall, its shortcomings prevented me from utilising the watch to its fullest potential.
Manipulated product images on Tokyoflash’s website made the watch look better than it actually is.