One of the best presents I got when I was growing up was a digital pen - a solid and sturdy ballpoint with a recessed area near its top that housed a digital watch.

It perhaps therefore shouldn't come as a huge surprise to learn that the clever new crop of watches has similarly piqued my interest. Gadget site I Want One of Those, for example, has two on offer. The sWAP Watch and the Barcode Watch.

sWAP Watch

The sWAP Watch, as you probably guessed from its name, shares some characteristics with a mobile phone - it uses a mobile phone SIM card from any UK network except 3 and lets you know when calls and text messages come in. Instant communication without having to bother to carry a phone with you.

As for the Barcode Watch, that seems designed to bamboozle more than anything. To the uninitiated it seems to generate random dot sequences rather than being informative - unless you know MORSE code or similar. In fact, there's method in the display sequence, you simply need to know which set of lights refers to which numeral and thereby learn to tell the time its way.

However, there's still something to be said for a wristwatch display that can serve up more than just the current tine.

I'm just sad that the potential for a stock broker belt has had its day. I love the idea of a portly chap bowling back towards his desk after lunch with a belly full of rich food and wearing an illuminated belt displaying the latest FTSE figures.

Barcode Watch