I did it for the Nooka

Put all the digital watches in the world in a lineup and you’d be hardpressed to find one that really differentiates itself.

Enter the Nooka – A watch that tells time like you would read it naturally, not the way the local madarasa taught you.

Instead of the traditional display, the minutes are in the large box, the seconds follow and a bar on top shows the hour and how much of the day is left.

So all it takes is a quick glance.

We adored the watch so much, we sent our men to “borrow” Matthew Waldman, the designer.

And this is what he had to say after the truth serum kicked in:

Wrist: So tell us, what was the inspiration for the watch?

Matthew: My inspiration was a memory. I was sitting in a hotel in London waiting for a client when i noticed a large clock on the wall. It somehow reminded me of the clock on the wall in first grade. This brought back the memory of being taught ‘how to tell time’.

I then remembered being taught ‘how to tell time’ again in the fifth grade when digital clocks became popular.

I thought if one has to be taught how to tell time, how intuitive is it really? surely there are other models, once learned, that can be as intuitive as what we are taught.

That was my brainstorm. From that thought sprang forth a series of designs I now have patents for, of one which Seiko manufactured.

Wrist: You said you were going to be relaunching the watch with the original design.

Matthew: Seiko took some liberties with my original design, which is sleeker and actually easier to read. I have 5 design patents for timepieces, each one different, that i plan on prototyping and eventually producing.

Wrist: I would love to see your other designs. How did you first come to collaborate with Seiko?

Matthew: Tom Dixon of Habitat in London suggested I contact Seiko as they had approached him to do watches. Tom liked my design and said he would carry the watches in Europe as an incentive, but ultimately, Seiko Europe never marketed the pieces.

Wrist: What happened?

Seiko never marketed the watches, not one AD (advertisement -ed), not one event. Also, they used a steel that couldn’t be exported to Europe [shocking, as we discussed this as their largest potential market for the design].

Therefore, not many units sold and they deemed it an unsuccessful design.

Wrist: But I take it, it did very well at MoMa (NYC)?

Matthew: The contract I had specified that I could not market/sell the watches myself. After 2 years of inactivity, I got them in the MoMa shops as I was frustrated with their marketing department. MoMa was thrilled with them, sold all the stock I could get to them,then Seiko decided not to restock anyone.

The watch is no longer available at MoMa because Seiko quit production and active marketing over a year ago.

Wrist: So when should we expect the new proper Nooka launch?

Matthew: I am awaiting final paperwork from Seiko severing the license agreement, then i will feel comfortable sending you images of the relaunch which i will do on my own and a manufacturing partner in China. I hope to get them in stores by December this year, but that may be difficult. If not then, Q1 2005!

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  1. I have a Nooka watch from the original release – except the loop of leather that holds the strap down wore through. Do you know where I can get a new one? (or new strap?!) I love this watch – and want to be able to wear it again!

  2. I was looking for an interesting design watch more then two years ago. I’ve found seiko spoon line (in there was nooka too) and bought it.

    it’s a unique watch. everyone
    would look at it and ask you about it. but most people said that the hours line is a bit difficult to read.

    besides what other people said I found no problems with the hour line. there are little blocks and you can easly tell the difference, maybe people with poorer eye sight…
    when I first got the watch I thought that he’s a bit big and a bit heavy.

    besides all that it’s a good and a unique watch. I would recommand it.
    but after more then two years I got tired of it (like fasion) and am looking to buy a new one.
    I think my next one would be one with memory in it (1gb minimum) but it has to look good too.

  3. I wanted one then. I want one now. unfortunately there is no spoon (and never was, in Canada. so hard to get these nice watches here!)

  4. Rajio, If you read the article, Seiko isn’t stocking it anymore. However, the Designer will be launching the watch again with its original more sleeker design soon. I’ll be covering it when it launches. So you’ll know when its available.

  5. I actually have one of the original NOOKAs and have only work it once. I would be happy to part with it. Just send me an email and I negotiate a very fair price. When you click on the email link…make sure to remove the “NOSPAMMIE” from the address.

  6. It is really difficult to find a nice (looking) elegant digital watch anywhere so far the only ones I have found are the Nooka, Phillippe Starck’s designs (Fossil), and the “Big Al” by Nike. Any suggestions?

  7. I bought one at Altivo in Los Angeles thru the Internet [Amazon]. http://www.altivo.com
    It’s a big cluncker but very original. I agree the hour line is not lined up perfectly with the LCD dots. Seiko could have done a better job at that. But as said, it’s unique, with a story.

  8. I found one in a pawn shop in El Paso, TX and had a difficult time finding information and history on this watch. It was in new condition and the leather loop holding the strap is also showings signs of wear extremely fast. I’m just happy to have this watch. I was wondering if anyone knows how many were actually made.

  9. Check out Tokyoflash.com. Seems as though I recall the Nooka in their inventory. Novel designs sell quickly at Tokyoflash and are soon relegated to their “Watch Museum”. I’ve had good luck purchasing from them and the time pieces they offer ALWAYS start conversations……….

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