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Truly Tactile Timekeeping: The Eone Bradley Wrist Timepiece


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The original Eone Bradley wrist timepiece - note the snap-off caseback here, which has been changed on the near-identical version of the Bradley available now to a screwed down hatch cover shown below on the Bradley Classic (pic from hodinkee.imgix.net):

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The Eone Bradley wrist timepiece represents one of the most interesting and novel watch designs to emerge in recent years. I say, “timepiece” above and in the title of this topic in deference to the founder of US-based Eone, Hyungsoo Kim, who prefers not to call the Bradley a “watch” because that term implies the need for eyesight in order to read it. Indeed, the Eone Bradley was designed with the unsighted in mind, inspired by a blind classmate at MIT who felt uncomfortable using his talking watch during class. While working up his ideas for the Bradley, Kim discovered through speaking with blind focus groups that the blind wearers were just as concerned about the watch’s appearance as a sighted wearer, and this guided him towards the final product which neatly balances utility and visual appeal, in the form of a modern design and a new approach to watches for the blind.

 

 

 

The Eone Bradley Classic - see text (pics from eone-time.com at cdn.shopify.com):

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The Eone Bradley wrist timepiece represents one of the most interesting and novel watch designs to emerge in recent years. I say, “timepiece” above and in the title of this topic in deference to the founder of US-based Eone, Hyungsoo Kim, who prefers not to call the Bradley a “watch” because that term implies the need for eyesight in order to read it. Indeed, the Eone Bradley was designed with the unsighted in mind, inspired by a blind classmate at MIT who felt uncomfortable using his talking watch during class. While working up his ideas for the Bradley, Kim discovered through speaking with blind focus groups that the blind wearers were just as concerned about the watch’s appearance as a sighted wearer, and this guided him towards the final product which neatly balances utility and visual appeal, in the form of a modern design and a new approach to watches for the blind.

The Eone Bradley is named after (Lieutenant) Bradley Snyder, a naval veteran who lost his sight in 2011 during active combat in Afghanistan when he was injured defusing a bomb. Subsequently, with incredible strength and perseverance, he won five gold medals and two silver in the Paralympics of 2012 and 2016, plus a world record, for swimming. He featured in the Kickstarter video that launched the Bradley timekeeper in 2013 and is still on the Eone website as a spokesman for the firm. Through Kickstarter, Kim and his team funded the Bradley project many times over, asking for 40k and getting nearly 600k dollars; This initial success, which has continued to the present day, is only partially down to the fact that the watch is an eminently satisfactory solution to creating a timepiece for use by those without sufficient vision to read a standard watch. Just as important is the visual beauty and sculptural quality of the design - almost timeless in its appeal and able to woo many sighted purchasers. It has also been remarked that some sighted owners of the Bradley are specifically attracted by the fact that they can feel the time discreetly, in tactile fashion, rather than be seen to rudely looking at their watch.

 

 

 

The Eone Bradley Apex-L-Black with a ceramic case and black leather strap (pics from the Watch Hut at cloudfront.net):

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The Eone Bradley Edge Rose Gold with gold-toned stainless steel case and white Italian leather strap (pics from eone-time.com at cdn.shopify.com):

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The Eone Bradley indicates the time by means of two magnetized stainless steel ball bearings, each rotating/moving in its own particular concentric track or channel according to the positions of two moving magnets inside the watch. The hours are indicated by the position of the ball bearing within its channel around the side of the case, beneath the bezel, while the minutes are shown by the ball that moves around in a channel on top of the watch inside the raised markers. The watch has been carefully designed so that the ball bearings cannot fall out of their respective channels, and when the ball bearings lose the grip of the underlying magnets and roll out of their correct positions within the tracks, a flick of the wrist resets them in the correct position to be “read”. For a sighted person at least, the Bradley takes some getting used to, and although it can be used in a visual way to tell the time, at some angles the ball bearing for the hours is not visible. Whatever the difficulties might be in acclimatizing oneself to the watch, it’s success clearly implies that the effort is worth expending. I should just say that the watch is quite thick (about 13 mm on the original version), and there is no figure given for water resistance by Eone themselves, just sensible advice on this and shock resistance; the caseback is a “hatch” cover attached by four small screws. Power for the timepiece comes from a “Swiss Parts” quartz Ronda movement.

 

 

 

The Eone Bradley Compass Graphite, with 316L stainless steel case and aluminium dial with light grey finish; blue hour markers and dyed canvas strap with leather backing (pics from kaminskyblog.files.wordpress.com):

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The Eone Bradley is now available in many different versions/strap options, with titanium (still current but now alongside other materials) being the case material used for the first iteration of the watch. There were always different strap options available, as there are today, and although there are some cosmetic differences between the currently available models of the Bradley timepiece itself, including case size (mainly 40 mm, with some versions available in 36 mm case size), all of them follow the fundamental design code of the original. Personally speaking, the plain titanium model, which represents the original Bradley, is my favourite version, and looking at the current Bradley line-up, this particular version of the watch is available with different straps, including brown leather (the Bradley Classic priced at £255) a dark canvas strap (the Bradley Canvas Noir priced at £235) and a silver-steel mesh strap (the Bradley Mesh Silver priced at £255). The Eone firm also now sells a charity version of the plain classic Bradley version in conjunction with the Kilimanjaro Blind Trust (the Bradley x KBT) which features an orange-hue leather strap with the plain titanium timepiece.

I find myself in a certain quandary when it comes to assessing the value for money aspect of the Eone Bradley, partly because its unusual design does not permit direct comparison with the general run of wristwatches. I suppose I would have preferred a more upmarket movement to match the sophisticated design of the Bradley - a genuine Swiss version of the Ronda movement, perhaps - but that might be nit-picking. Overall, I do like the Eone Bradley, and sticking with my final choice of the plain titanium version, that mirrors the almost identical original Bradley, it may be that paying Eone,s current price of US$285/GBP£255 (or a bit less depending on retailer discounting) for the watch on a steel mesh or Italian leather strap might be worth it to own and wear a modern classic-to-be. Note that Sterling prices given in this topic are from Eone UK and are current at the time of writing.

 

 

 

Eone Bradley Mesh Silver, with titanium dial and case and stainless steel mesh strap - see text (pic from eone-time.com at cdn.shopify.com)

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The Eone Bradley Element Black with PVD coated ceramic case and black mesh steel strap (pic from watches.com at cdn.shopify.com):

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I saw one of these a good few years back, a colleague bought one as she liked the design, then did some reading and was very impressed (she's an engineer!) with the inception of the deisgn and mechanics of it. 

Function and form blended well

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42 minutes ago, al_kaholik said:

I saw one of these a good few years back, a colleague bought one as she liked the design, then did some reading and was very impressed (she's an engineer!) with the inception of the deisgn and mechanics of it. 

Function and form blended well

Female engineer, you mean she can put an ironing board up :)

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I'm sure she can. But she cut her teeth in defense on airframes and is time served on the tools. Needless to say any ironing board quips were met with a witty and often cutting retort that made you feel only a metre tall!

She gave as good as she got!

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5 hours ago, Alpha550t said:

Female engineer, you mean she can put an ironing board up :)

Careful, my youngest is studying Aerospace engineering, rebuilds Landrovers for a hobby and has a blackbelt in Shorin Ryu Karate.... make a quip like that to her, and she will provide a mechanical solution to inserting the ironing board sideways as straight up would be 'Too Nice' 

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30 minutes ago, Richard734 said:

 

Careful, my youngest is studying Aerospace engineering, rebuilds Landrovers for a hobby and has a blackbelt in Shorin Ryu Karate.... make a quip like that to her, and she will provide a mechanical solution to inserting the ironing board sideways as straight up would be 'Too Nice' 

I wonder whatever happened to banter!

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