When you think of what makes an excellent watch, you think elegance, simplicity, functionality; these are the foundations of watchmaking. Yet when it comes to watches for the visually impaired, it appears that such philosophies are thrown out the window.
In fact, this travesty relates not just to watches, but almost all gadgets for the visually impaired/blind user. Aesthetics are not just ignored, but bound, gagged and dumped into the ocean – with a mobile phone for the blind to weigh it down – or so it often seems.
As someone who is legally blind myself, I find most accessible quartz watches to be bulky and intrusive. The ones that aren’t the size of an Ipad on my wrist are so ugly I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing them. Bucking this trend is Eone’s Bradley watch. A company founded on friendship and a legitimate concern for the needs of the visually impaired. This slick and polished timepiece is a watch worth having, visual impairment or no visual impairment.
At Eone’s core is the desire to help the visually impaired, stemming from founder’s Hyungsoo Kim’s college days. After learning of a friend’s blindness, Kim worked alongside visually impaired designers to construct a functional, elegant, and inclusive watch that could be worn by anyone.
These beliefs culminate in the Bradley watch. Deriving its name from Paralympian Bradley Snyder, a former naval officer who lost his sight while defusing bombs in Afghanistan. The Bradley signifies that blindness does not need to be overcome, rather the stereotypes that come with it.
The Bradley is ingeniously designed. Two magnetised ball bearings in recessed grooves found on the inside and outside of the watch’s surface act as the hour and minute hands. Leaving the Bradley free of fiddly pieces, time told by a mere touch of the hand. With this simplicity comes a beautiful elegance. Its minimalist approach gives it a universal appeal, free from the gaudiness of other watches of this type.
On paper, the Bradley watch seems to offer everything you could ask for in an everyday use watch. Its attractive simplistic design makes it a functional piece that should not be inclined to break. While the ethos of Eone and its continued dispelling of stereotypical notions of blindness show an ethical backbone few companies offer.
I am just about to receive mine as a present from my wife, and will be able to update this article in six months or so, once I have actually used it for some time.