Neat 'Little' Nixie Tube Watch
By James Grahame
David Forbes has created the smallest Nixie watch I've ever stumbled across. In true DIY engineer style, he built his little contraption around a Microchip PIC controller. There was only space for two Nixie tubes in the 55 mm case, but that just adds to the cachet of this bizarre Ubergeek fashion accessory. He claims that two CR2 batteries will power this thing for four months, although it functions like the LED watches of yore -- press a button to light the display. Available as a limited edition for $395.
I've mentioned Nixies before; here's my "standard" description of these little critters: Nixies are neon-filled glass tubes that were often used to display numeric information in the days before LCDs and LEDs. They usually contain ten cathodes in the shape of the numbers 0 through 9, and a wire mesh anode. When electricity is passed between one of the cathodes and the anode, the corresponding number shines with an odd orangey-red glow. Be sure to check out Forbes' Nixie Watch Story for a fascinating look at the development of this unique watch.