Hands-on with Tokyoflash Kisai Online: The watch that reads between the lines

When we last got to review a Tokyoflash LCD watch, we realized this is a company that loves creative designs that are stealthy, futuristic, and super difficult to decipher. The latest in Tokyoflash’s fan-designed lineup is no different; the Kisai Online is one that integrates the movement and curvatures of lines to signify the shapes of numbers. Sounds confusing? Let’s just say the watch is definitely made for someone who appreciates design more than actual practicality, and keep that in mind as we go hands-on with the Kisai Online.

Look and feel

The term “online” obviously has two meanings here: the first denoting actual lines used in the LCD screen and engraved onto the strap, while the second definition reminds us of the tangled webs of the Internet when you access things ‘online’. Okay, maybe that was a reach. Either way, the Kisai Online is built for those who enjoy technology and doesn’t mind boasting their watch with pride regardless of how hard it is to tell time on it.

The Kisai Online has a stainless steel body, adding an expensiveness to the overall feel. This also contributes to a relative heaviness once worn. You can remove the links to adjust to your wrist size, but even the original length itself proved to be much too wide for both myself and fellow Digital Trends writer Jeffrey Van Camp whose wrist are an average male size. The large clock face itself is also pretty weighty, but any smaller and you’d really have trouble figuring out the time.

Utilizing sensor technology, the watch recognizes when it is facing the wearer before the screen animates and reveals the time. This means the screen is always on — though users should be satisfied in knowing this is not particularly a battery-killing feature, and the battery reportedly lasts at least one year with regular wear. The only buttons left on the clock are to switch between alarm and calendar functions, or to set the time and date.

So, what’s the time?

To read numbers on the Kisai Online, you’ll need to pay close attention to where the straight lines diverts. The top two numbers denote hour or month while bottom row reads the minute or date. I’ve highlighted the curves on this example photo to the right to illustrate my point. As you can see, once you figure our the dynamics of how the shapes work, telling time on the Kisai Online isn’t very difficult at all. It’s actually quite fun and secretive if you like pretending to be a spy.

The LCD screen also has a glowing backlight that can be used at night. As a limited edition design, the Kisai Online comes in your option of black or silver straps and a blue, red, or natural backlight colors. While we love the glossiness of the glass, it’s also quite a fingerprint magnet. It’s not very likely that you’ll be touching the screen of your watch too often, but still be aware that the glass does get blurry pretty easily and you should be prepared to wipe it down to clearly read the already-obscure time.

Bottom line

Obviously, we’ve mentioned that Tokyoflash watches aren’t for everyone. If you appreciate The Matrix-esque design strapped to your wrist, by all means, this watch is an awesome piece of gear worthy of showing off to friends. If you’re the kind of person who hates when a stranger ask you for the time, this might also be a sneaky way to show your clock off to the stranger so they can leave you alone after they’re unable to see the numbers.

Still, at $170, the Kisai Online is not the cheapest watch. You must remember that you’re paying for a unique, limited edition design fit for the extremest of gadgeteers. The watch is a fun accessory that’s easy to match with most outfits, and if you ever run out of battery, you can switch it out for another CR2025 without visiting your nearest jeweler. While it’s promoted for unisexual wear, girls with tinier wrists might find the blocky watch too heavy and overbearing for their smaller frames. We’re very into cool designs and items that are one-of-a-kind, but overall, the Kisai Online is definitely a preferential type of gear that might have some issue finding the right owners.

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