For many years I had a this great analog watch with a silent vibrating alarm that had the absolute best alarm-setting mechanism I’ve ever seen. It was so useful for when I needed to be able to break out of (or into) focus in a set amount of time. Like if I needed to leave for work in 10 minutes, or if I had a meeting starting in 22 minutes and knew I was going to get caught up in something and forget. I often used it a dozen times a day or more.
It was a Timex Expedition “Easy Set” watch with a vibrating alarm. Here’s what made it so awesome for my brain:
- The alarm was silent, so I could set it many times through the day and not annoy people or make them aware that I was just reminded of something. It created the illusion that I had a great sense of time when I’m sure we all know that’s not true. It was like a super power!
- Setting the alarm was so quick and easy, people didn’t even know I had just done it in front of them. The alarm was set by twisting the ring around the face of the watch to move two pointers around the edge of the watch. Setting an alarm for less than an hour was something I could do in about 1 second with just my thumb.
- Setting the alarm was visual. I could see not only at a glance how much time remained on my timer, but also what time it would be when it went off. Digital timers either show you the set time of the alarm, or the remaining time, but rarely both.
- It was a decently good looking watch, so there was no sacrifice for having this great feature.
But then the alarm started getting unreliable. The whole thing was electromechanical, not electronic. So when the alarm contacts started wearing out due to very heavy use, I had to ditch it. An unreliable aid is worse than none in my experience.
Timex stopped making the watch. It was the end of an era for me.
I’ve tried many other things, but since there were so few vibrating alarm watches anyway, the selection was tiny. I found that almost all of the alternatives were so much more difficult to set that I just didn’t use them. Pressing buttons a bunch of times is a nonstarter. Audible alarms also are a no-go. And I’m definitely not unlocking my phone to set a 3-minute timer so I don’t forget to leave for a meeting down the hall.
When smartwatches became a thing, I was really really hoping that it would fill that void again. I’ve been a pretty big fan of Android smartwatches since they came out. And they have some nice features that make it easy to manage phone notifications without pulling out my phone and getting pulled in. I can set timers in increments of 5 minutes fairly quickly now, which I demonstrate here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hojrxf9ZoVQ
It’s close, but it doesn’t have those visual elements that made the Timex so great.
Do any of you know of watches or WearOs apps that are great for this kind of short-term frequent timer? How do you deal with knowing that you need to do something very soon while also knowing full well you’re going to lose track of time before it happens?