Biegert & Funk has made a name for itself thanks to its iconic clock design that tells time the way we tend to convey it to one another in conversation – with written words in five-minute increments, spelling out “half past twelve” or “a quarter to five.” After creating a number of wall and desk clocks with this design, the firm made a lot of people’s wishes come true and revealed the QLOCKTWO W, a wearable version of the design that fits on the wrist. One has been sitting on mine for the past couple of weeks, and in that time it has managed to make a strong impression on both myself and my friends and family.
With only a 10 x 11 grid of letters making up 110 characters in total (that’s less than a tweet), the QLOCKTWO W can display any time, and even though it only spells out five-minute increments, if you’re more exact, four dots at the bottom of the watch’s face indicate the specific minute, and you can cycle through to a view of the seconds ticking by with a couple presses of the QLOCKTWO’s single button. It also displays the calendar date (and if you’re unaware of the month and year, you likely have more problems than a watch can fix), and is available in English, French and German versions.
The QLOCKTWO W comes in three different finishes – polished, brushed, or black stainless steel. The face of each measures 35 x 35mm, which with a square-faced watch wears roughly similar to a 40mm standard round watch. For me, since I prefer smaller faced watches, it’s a perfect size. The square design and the non-tapering wide 24mm leather strap make it appear more substantial than you might expect, however, and it definitely attracts a lot of curiosity from onlookers.
Biegert & Funk have done a phenomenal job with the overall look of the case and strap, which isn’t surprising given their history as a design firm. The QLOCKTWO W’s most impressive feature is its display, however. When you activate the display, words light up to reflect the current time. Unlike other watches that use a push-button LED illumination trick to show the time, I found the lighting on the QLOCKTWO to be incredibly even. The letters on the face are relatively small, but they show up clear and very easy to read thanks to the well-engineered backlighting. The amount of time the light remains active also seems perfectly engineered for reading and for showing others when they ask for the time.
In general I tend to find it hard to continue to wear watches that use a push-button activation mechanism just to display the time, but the QLOCKTWO W has managed to beat that personal preference. You can also activate a demo mode to have it display the time constantly, but you’ll burn through your battery pretty quickly doing that. One other thing to note is that while the display is among the best LED-lit watch faces I’ve ever seen, it still isn’t great for reading in bright sunlight, though in all other conditions, including overcast days, it’s easy to read without a struggle.
The Biegert & Funk QLOCKTWO W is a comfortable-wearing watch that tells the time well and does so in a manner that’s unique without being difficult or obscure. It’s also a wearable work of art thanks to the iconic design of the face and smart, industrial minimalism of the case. Starting at around $650 (a price at which you can start to get some impressive automatics), it is likely to appeal to a niche crowd, consisting not so much of watch fanatics who appreciate good design, but of design fanatics who value a good watch. Whoever the buyer, however, the QLOCKTWO W makes for an interesting, attractive addition to a collection, one that practically oozes good taste.