Step into the quirky world of timekeeping with the Gelfman IN-16 Nixie – a wristwatch that’s not just a timepiece, but a conversation starter of Cold War proportions. Picture this: Soviet-era cold cathode tubes, the kind that once ruled the roost before LEDs stole the spotlight, now reincarnated into a wristwatch.
Ilya Gelfman, the mastermind behind this retro-futuristic marvel, started collecting these Nixie tubes a decade ago, and now he’s turned them into a limited edition of 999 time-telling oddities. Launched in 2022 and nominated for the GPHG Petite Aiguille award, the IN-16 Nixie is not your everyday wristwear.
So, what makes it stand out in the crowded world of watches? Two words: Nixie tubes. These tubes use glow discharge to form their light, creating a spectacle reminiscent of a Cyberpunk dreamscape on your wrist. The numerals appear to dance at different depths inside the tube, thanks to strategically placed cathodes.
At 45.9mm x 47.8mm and a proud 20.5mm thickness, the IN-16 doesn’t shy away from making a statement. Its case, reminiscent of an astronaut helmet or retrofuturistic diving gear, showcases the Nixie tubes through sapphire-coated crystals.
Hidden within the case is a sneaky pusher that controls the show. One press for hours and minutes, two for date and month, and three for a peek at the battery life. And oh, the battery life – a solid 12 days, recharged with a magnetic cable that connects to the back of the watch.
But it’s not just about looks. Gelfman took the time to hand-finish the stainless steel case, adding a touch of charm with branded engravings. The chunky, integrated rubber strap might not win awards for inspiration, but in the grand scheme of this oddball masterpiece, it just fits.
What truly sets the IN-16 apart, though, is its movement. Unlike DIY-adjacent projects thrown together on a budget, this watch boasts polished software. You can adjust the time format, brightness, and even the color of the Nixie tubes using a dedicated app.
And here’s the kicker – forget fumbling for buttons. A casual wrist shake, like you’re shaking off the ’80s, triggers the time display.
Limited to 999 pieces, this oddball masterpiece can be yours for a cool US$ 7,996 (excluding tax).