Seiko and Nike are putting some of the latest LCD (liquid crystal display) technology to use in a watch the two companies have jointly developed.
Nike wanted to make its new Triax Speed and Triax Stamina watches curved so they could fit closely around the wrist, but also wanted a large LCD panel that could be easily read. This would be difficult using conventional LCD technology because a large display means a large flat case, and thus a gap between the watch body and the wrist.
Seiko managed to overcome this by using a new LCD based on a flexible plastic substrate rather than glass, which is normally used as the base on which the LCD is constructed.
"The watch uses a polymer substrate," said Masayuki Kawada, a spokesman for Seiko Instruments. "It's the first time we have used such a display in a watch."
The result is just what Nike was after —a large display curved to match the watch's wrist-clinging shape. By using plastic instead of glass, the watch display is also more resistant to shocks and blows.
Nike expects to start selling the watches in Europe priced at around £69 and £103 for the Triax Speed and Triax Stamina respectively in October or soon after, although precise launch dates were not available.
Flat-panel displays based on plastic substrates are currently under development by a number of companies which see countless uses for them, from advertising boards that curve around pillars to thin sheets that can be held like a piece of paper but display video and refresh instantly.