Atomic wristwatch seeking funding on Kickstarter

15 Apr 2014

The Cesium 133 atomic watch

Those who use an inaccurate watch as their excuse for poor punctuality better look out, because what is claimed to be the world’s first atomic wristwatch is aiming to make the most accurate time possible.

The Cesium 133 watch has now gone live on Kickstarter and has already broken its funding target of US$45,000 with 25 days left to go, having raised US$66,000 at the time of writing.

According to the watch’s technical details, it uses a chip-scale atomic clock (CSAC) to precisely divide a second into exactly 9,192,631,770 vibrations of the cesium 133 atom, the most accurate time available to science.

Up until now, portable clocks and watches that boasted the time was set to atomic clock time were simply receiving a relayed signal from a laboratory which, when out of range, would revert to the standard time localised on their watch.

However, the device is hardly what someone might call stylish and prototype models appear more like a 1960s version of what a watch would look like in the future than actually being a high-tech watch.

It’s also unlikely you’ll get your hands on an early model as the team behind the Cesium 133 only expects to make six watches in its first batch, which will be given to well-off individuals looking to donate US$6,000 or more.

The team, led by PhD student John Patterson of Hawaii and owner of Bathys Hawaii Watch Company, explained on the Kickstarter page why they decided to go down the crowdfunding route.

“In Hawaii we have a tradition of the ‘hukilau’, where everyone pulls in their own small part of the net and together we can all feast together. Mahalo nui to everyone who joins in.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic