Lifeclock One: The Escape from New York Inspired Smartwatch
Lifeclock One: The Escape from New York Inspired Smartwatch
The Lifeclock One is an officially licensed, supercharged version of Snake Plissken’s countdown watch from Escape from New York.
The Lifeclock One is an officially licensed, supercharged version of Snake Plissken’s countdown watch from Escape from New York. Read more
About this project
Welcome to the Lifeclock One Kickstarter campaign and thanks for watching the video — we hope you enjoyed watching it as much as we enjoyed making it. So let's dive into the details.
In John Carpenter's famous masterpiece, Escape from New York, Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell), has 24 hours to rescue the President from the country's largest prison — New York City. The United States Police Force gives Snake a gun, a two-way radio and a countdown watch.
The Lifeclock One is a fully licensed reboot of that watch but with a twist — it's a countdown timer of course, but it also tells the time, date and much more. Best of all — it pairs with your iOS or Android device to give you all of the alerts for all of the cool phone functions that Snake would have killed for — push notifications from your favorite apps as well as incoming call and text message alerts. You also get step counting, weather, world clocks, camera control, stopwatch and much more.
The Lifeclock One is a unique watch that's not only smart but attracts attention. Designed, assembled and tested in the United States, it’s the coolest looking smartwatch you’ll find on the market today.
When the Lifeclock One screen powers up, you better not be shy because you're going to get attention — lots of it. The crisp, vibrant displays will attract the gaze of everyone in the room — and it gets even better at night. LED watches have never looked this cool.
A viewing of the movie back in 2014 sparked the idea to make the Lifeclock One. While watching the movie, creator Jonathan Zufi thought: "How cool would it be to have a real Snake Plissken countdown timer?" But he knew that if he did it right, he could delight fans of the movie and perhaps a few other lovers of unique timepieces and awesome gadgets.
Quick review of the movie: It’s 1997 and Manhattan has been turned into a maximum security prison. When the President of the United States crash lands into the city center after fleeing a hijacked plane, a ruthless prison warden bribes ex-soldier and criminal, Snake Plissken (played by Kurt Russell), to rescue the President (played by Donald Pleasance), who is being held hostage.
We first see the watch about 22 minutes into the movie. Bob Hauk (played by Lee Van Cleef) straps a countdown timer onto Snake's wrist and explains that he has just under 23 hours to accomplish his mission. Snake's not happy — he was originally told he had 24 hours — but in 23 hours the Hartford Summit meeting between the United States, China and the Soviet Union will end and so will the chances of reaching a peace agreement. The President's bargaining chip at that table is a new technology based on 'nuclear fusion' which will give the US the upper hand in negotiations. Hauk tricks Snake into committing by inserting two explosive capsules into his neck — and Snake is peeved about it.
The watch in the movie wasn't real — it was a prop. Referred to as a 'digital wrist watch' in the original script, the watch was made up of an oven kitchen timer stuffed into a metal enclosure. According to a thread at The Retro Prop Forum: "The body was custom made. All of the hero parts were cast metal. I think that we made 1 or 2 plastic ones and 3 rubbers. It also had a ribbon cable about 2 inches wide coming off of each hero."
Based on our research, for the close-up scenes of the watch powered on and functioning, the unit was powered by a battery pack with a lead running underneath Kurt's arm. In all other shots of the watch, we see that it is powered off. So, the prop was just that — a prop. The Lifeclock One actually works. We decided to balance the watch portrayed in the movie with a practical, highly functional timepiece that also supports capabilities never considered back in 1981 (or 1997).
We know that real prop fans take their craft very seriously and we respect that. We've worked hard to keep the watch as close to the movie as possible and still make it attractive to the fans. We feel confident that we have achieved that balance and the Lifeclock One will appeal as a faithful reproduction of Snake's countdown timer.
Best of all — we’ve teamed up with Creative Licensing Corporation, one of the premier licensing agencies in the US to help us secure a license with the owner of the movie, Studiocanal, who shares our excitement and are fully behind us to do it right.
The Lifeclock One is a fully capable, standalone, modern smartwatch — time, date, stopwatch and world clocks — but it also pairs with your iOS/Android device to give you notifications for incoming calls, text messages and push notifications from your favorite apps.
The Lifeclock One also supports firmware updates via Bluetooth. Any updates to your Lifeclock One can be simply and easily downloaded via your smartphone and applied to your watch.
Here's a quick demo and overview:
We’ve put enormous thought and consideration into the Lifeclock One. We wanted to create a timepiece that would evoke memories of the movie, but also stand alone as something that you would enjoy wearing on your wrist — the best materials, the best quality, while staying faithful to the heritage of the story and the look/feel of the movie.
From day one we wanted to build the entire watch here in the United States. Unfortunately that wasn't possible. There are lots of reasons why this was very challenging to do but we are proud to report that we've chosen US companies to manufacture the two most complex components of the Lifeclock One — the main enclosure and the core PCB (printed circuit board). We think that, for a wearable, this is rare — you won't find many *small* companies that produce major components for consumer electronic devices like these here in the US.
Let's be honest: Yes, we are paying more for these components, but the pricing is fair. We have more control over how they are being produced, with the lower risk of manufacturing errors being caught late, reducing the chance of costly mistakes. And best of all, we are supporting real manufacturing here in the United States. We think Snake would have wanted it this way (the USPF certainly would have).
The FTC has strict guidelines around using the 'Made in USA' badge and while we couldn't meet all of these requirements, we are proud of the local business relationships we have created here and we're excited to give them that business. Furthermore, the watch was fully designed here in the US, and will be assembled, tested, and distributed from Georgia, USA.
We're excited to share our journey with you so far. This is for a few reasons:
- To give you confidence into how much time we've already invested in order to minimize the risk for our backers.
- To share our maker experience, to share our mistakes and our lessons learned, and to hopefully give back to the community with advice and ideas for others pursuing similar projects.
- To give you full transparency into how we got to this point which is poised for full production, and why we need your support.
The main watch enclosure will be CNC (Computer Numeric Control) machined from a solid piece of brass. We wanted the most important piece of the Lifeclock One to be made here in the USA and we plan to work with one of the best machinists in the country based right here in Georgia.
We've been through multiple revisions of the enclosure with prototypes made via 3D printing (low and high quality) and CNC prototyping with aluminum, steel, and of course brass.
Each Lifeclock One is precision fitted with a stainless steel backplate that features a custom o-ring to keep the elements out and an integrated magnetic charging port.
The back plate will come in two versions of stainless steel:
- Complete monolithic back plate (Snake and USPF editions)
- Hybrid stainless steel and carbon fiber (Gullfire edition)
Production versions of the plate will feature engraved elements such as the unit's unique serial number, studio copyright info, and FCC and CE approval IDs.
The USPF edition will also offer the opportunity to add a custom engraved message to the back.
Note: the carbon fiber back will be engraved along the edges - we will provide examples with these as soon as we can. We investigated laser etching of the carbon fiber back, but found the results to be unsatisfactory.
LEDs. They are everywhere. They’re in our laptops, our TVs, our fridges, our cars. They're in the alarm clocks next to our beds and on our microwave ovens.
In a world dominated by crisp smartphone, tablet and TV displays (LCD, OLED, AMOLED) there is one type of LED display that’s been around for a while now and continues to show up everywhere in modern day life — the 7 segment LED. The watch that Snake wears uses standard 7 segment LED displays.
When designing the Lifeclock One, we knew that we wanted to support rich notifications. The challenge with 7 segment displays is that they aren’t very good at displaying certain characters (e.g. M, Z, etc.). So we decided to build our own.
The LEDs used inside the Lifeclock One are unique — they are completely custom. Stay tuned for an update where we’ll dive into the background of how these 11 segment displays work, why they are so different, and the unique technology we’re using to power them. To those who say this is just another LED watch, we say: No. This is a unique timepiece that is not only built to honor the spirit of the awesome EFNY movie, but to also bring in some modern elements of design and experience, which takes things to another level.
It's important to note that due to the nature of these custom true LED segment displays, they are limited to the English character set only. We've made some customizations so that we can support the full English alphabet (A through Z) as well as the full number set 0 through 9. There is no upper or lower case on the Lifeclock One - each character is uniquely presented. There are no immediate plans to offer any non-English character sets.
The 'brain' (wink wink) of the Lifeclock One looks retro but it is a powerhouse of cool technology, including: Bluetooth, accelerometer, compass, vibration motor and much more.
The watch crystal is a critical component — not only does it protect those awesome displays but it ensures the displays have maximum resilience and visibility. It makes the unique LED displays shine crisply and clearly.
The Lifeclock One front crystal is custom machined from SiO2 coated glass that is also tempered. Each display has been manufactured as a 640nm filter to ensure maximum brightness of the custom LED displays while providing just the right level of obfuscation of the main PCB.
Snake wears a leather strap with Velcro® in the movie, but we wanted to offer a practical option for those who wanted more flexibility in their strap. Therefore we are offering both a Velcro® and a buckle option. Both straps are made from the highest quality leather and custom made to fit the Lifeclock One.
The straps are fastened to the main enclosure with custom Chicago screws to match the aesthetic seen in the movie – brown leather with brass accents for the Snake Edition and black leather for the Gullfire and USPF Editions.
The straps will be available in three sizes (S, M, L) to fit just about any wrist. Please note that we're still working with a few different vendors for the straps and the final materials may differ slightly in terms of thickness and finish. We will also publish a sizing guide shortly.
- Ultra-Machinable 360 Brass
- Yield Strength: 15,000 psi
- Hardness: Rockwell B35
- Meets ASTM B16
- Hard High-Strength 7075-T7
- Black Hard Coat anodized finish
- Grade 2 Corrosion Resistant
- Genuine leather band with Velcro® or stainless steel buckle
- Stainless steel 303 back frame
- Carbon fibre weave pattern back insert
- Beryllium Copper stabilization frame
- Stainless steel 0/80 x 3/32 screws
- 77 independently controlled LEDs
- 6 custom 11-segment 0.39″ SMD LEDs (Direct driven – no multiplexing)
- 0.39 inch (10mm) digit height
- RoHS compliant, low power consumption.
- Peak Emission Wavelength 644nm, Luminosity 20 mcd
- Red HB640/640nm Longpass filter
- Surface quality: 60/40
- Tempered with SiO2 coating
- 79mm x 51mm x 12mm (without straps)
- 3.7V, 540 mAh battery, 2.0 Wh
- Magnetic connector for direct USB charging
- Power and overheat circuit controller
- Nordic nRF51422 multiprotocol SoC
- 32-bit ARM® Cortex™ M0 CPU with 256kB flash, 32kB RAM
- Embedded 2.4GHz Bluetooth transceiver
- +4dBm output power, -93dBm sensitivity, Bluetooth Smart
- Lattice Seminconductor LCMXO2-1200HC FPGA
- Precision Microdrives Pico Vibe™ 10mm ultra low profile 2mm shiftless motor
- Abracon AB1805-T3 Real Time Clock
- Avago APDS-9300-02 640nm Ambient Light Sensor
- InvenSense 9 Axis MEMS (Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer)
- Bluetooth LE
- iPhone® (version 8.1 or higher)
- Android™ (version 4.4 or higher)
- Countdown timer (Hartford Summit configuration only 22:59’:59”)
- Time (standard time / military time)
- Up to 8 world clocks
- Date (five formats)
- Stopwatch (1/100th second)
- 18 display animations, 8 character animations
- Smartphone camera control
- Push notifications for incoming & missed calls, voicemails and messages (SMS & iMessage)
- App notification support: Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn with more to come
- Step counting
Shipping can get messy. Our team has had extensive experience in shipping items all over the world — so we've decided the best way to handle shipping is just to take care of it so you don't have to. Ridgewood Watch Company is going to cover all the shipping costs for our Kickstarter backers only. That means free shipping both domestically and globally. Once again — this will apply for Kickstarter backers only. Please note for countries outside of the US there may still be taxes, fees and duties (e.g. VAT) payable on the incoming delivery — that will still be the responsibility of the backer.
If you've backed and received other electronic devices on Kickstarter before than you should be aware of any taxes, duties or fees that would be due when you receive items shipped to you. If you haven't, please do your research so you're aware of what to expect.
This is one of the biggest pitfalls of Kickstarter - not being aware of the potential taxes and/or import duties for your country. We don't want our backers to be surprised, so please do your research to determine if this applies to you.
* We will notify backers of any changes to this schedule. We will provide a more detailed project schedule when the campaign ends.
Alan Hightower is an expert in low level hardware and software device. He has worked at companies such as Panasonic where his experience covered in-vehicle infotainment systems and advanced driver assistance systems. Alan has also worked with low level solutions for satellite/set top box receivers and much more. He has deep experience with HDL, low level OS drivers, hardware abstractions, PCB layout and design, firmware development and high level application software. Alan has a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
Flash Corliss is President of Flash Automation, Inc. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Robotics and Embedded Firmware design from Southern Polytechnic State University in 1992. Flash worked at IBM before founding his own computer company built around the needs of small business. Flash has engineered solutions for clients including OXY, BSA, IBM, and Georgia Tech. In his spare time, Flash is active in the Scouting, Maker, and FIRST movements. He serves as Executive Flight Director for the Red Shed Robotics group; a small collective of young engineers who learn electronics and engineering skills from the ground up while executing NASA style rover missions. Flash is also honored to be the Vice President of the Atlanta Historical Computing Society. He currently lives in Mableton, Georgia with his wife, 2 children, and countless vintage computers.
Mark McJunkin focuses on use of modern tools and craft in his career and in the classroom. Mark sees product through to the market place and believes designers must be well versed in design, engineering technology, fabrication and business in order to compete. His practical approach is born of 20 years of local Georgia industry experience. Mark has built and operated his own computer numeric controlled (CNC) shops for customers and has also operated a few for the university. Currently Mark entertains one outside consulting customer at a time and is pursuing active learning and building of sustainable housing as a personal passion. Mark holds a BFA Industrial Design from Carnegie Mellon University 1994. He is also a Kickstarter veteran with a history of successful campaigns.
Andriy Voznytsya is a 25 year veteran with deep experience in managing, researching, designing and developing low level software projects in the multimedia and telecommunication industry. Andrew has developed and implemented several solutions for technologies such as XMPP, VoIP, WebRTC, MPEG-4, OpenFire and others - both at the software and firmware level. He is also an expert in kernel level development on Windows and Android. Recently Andrew has focused on firmware development on platforms such as Nordic and others. Andrew has a diploma in Computer Science from the Department of Computer Science, Lviv Polytechnic National University.
Jonathan Zufi is a seasoned technology executive with over 30 years experience in software and hardware. Highly regarded by customers, team members and executive peers for being visionary, a mentor, and able to think outside the box, Jonathan is a champion of collaboration with customers and colleagues alike. He is the author of 'ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation', a self-published 350 page photography book that showcases the history of Apple products for the last 40 years. See more at http://iconicbook.com. In 2002, Jonathan received the Pearcey Award, one of the Australian government’s highest awards for I.T. innovation for pioneering achievement and contribution to research and development within the IT industry. He received his Bachelor of Computing (with honors) from the department of Robotics and Digital Technology at Monash University in Melbourne. He currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and two children.
A special thanks to the team at Offworld Design + Motion for taking us back to Liberty Island through their incredible Kickstarter video.
Huge thanks to Uri Avi for composing the awesome track to our Kickstarter video. You can hear more of Uri's work here.
A very warm thank you to Greg Best of Atlanta's Ticonderoga Club, one of the countries most talented and respected mixologists and restauranteurs, as well as photographer extraordinaire Vegas Giovanni.
© 2016 Ridgewood Watch Co., ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK™ is a trademark of Studiocanal S.A.S. All Rights Reserved. © 2016 Studiocanal S.A.S. ® All Rights Reserved.
About Creative Licensing
Located in Los Angeles CA, Creative Licensing is a full service independent merchandise licensing agency that specializes in long-term brand development. Founded in 1982, Creative Licensing currently represents a large catalogue of classic films and properties. http://www.creativelicensingcorporation.com/
About Studiocanal STUDIOCANAL is a subsidiary of the CANAL+ Group. It is one of Europe’s leading companies in the market for co-production, acquisition, distribution and sale of international feature films. STUDIOCANAL is the only studio operating simultaneously in three main territories across Europe: France, the United Kingdom and Germany. The company distributes a total of more than 50 films a year throughout Europe. Additionally, STUDIOCANAL owns one of the most important libraries in the world, with more than 5,000 international titles.
Risks and challenges
We understand that any project could encounter unexpected obstacles, and this possibility is even more likely in the case of a hardware technology project that requires manufacturing. To alleviate this, we've manufactured scores of prototypes to avoid any surprises at production and we've tried to think through all of the risks and challenges that we forsee. This section is long because we've spent a long time thinking about it and we know that transparency is the fabric of Kickstarter. Here is some more detail:
The main enclosure is ready for production after 20+ prototypes, spanning both low and high end 3D printing techniques, and real CNC machined parts in brass, aluminium and titanium. We've worked intimately with some of this countries finest machinists right here in Senoia and Powder Springs, Georgia. The core PCB (printed circuit board) is ready for production after 11 revisions. We have even done a preliminary test production run with our PCB assembly partner in Pennsylvania to iron out all of the glitches before going to a full production run. The watches shown in our videos and collateral are fully functioning; they have been through hundreds of hours of QA testing. Both the firmware running on the watch, and the supporting iOS/Android apps, demonstrate our dedication to software craftsmanship. There is still some tweaking and testing to do on both the iOS and Android apps, but we are continuing to improve and stabilize them while the campaign is running.
We are laser focused on delivering exactly what we've described here. We welcome and encourage suggestions and enhancements, but we don’t plan on any hardware changes until we have delivered the first batch of watches, or unless a critical issue is discovered. We will absolutely entertain software suggestions and we'll add them to our to-do list. We have worked extremely hard to make our firmware OTA capability rock solid so we can make these updates to watches already in the field.
We believe our biggest challenge will be managing expectations for battery performance. We've done extensive hardware testing and software engineering to maximize the life of each charge and we've conducted battery testing based on different usage models — but we know there are some super power users out there. The big dilemma with the Lifeclock One is that every time those LEDs light up, they consumes battery power. But when they do light up it's just awesome (especially at night), and we feel that owners will want them lit up often. To handle this expectation, we've eked out every power optimization we can from the components, the main CPU (Nordic) and the board design (power supply, etc). We continue to work tirelessly to ensure that you will get the longest possible usage out of every charge. Right now, we are seeing a solid 36 hours of battery life with regular usage. We believe that we can improve this significantly and that will remain the focus of our engineering efforts. However note that your battery life may vary based on many factors including how often the display is used, how many notifications you receive and other factors. We do not, and cannot guarantee, battery life.
Additionally, our watches include rechargeable, lithium polymer batteries. Due to local regulations regarding transporting products with lithium polymer regulations there may be delays in shipping of a product to you OR it may not be possible to ship. In the event that we are not able to ship a product to you in a local jurisdiction we will work with you to find an alternative. All of the batteries will be certified by an authorized testing lab here.
We’ve designed the Lifeclock One to be splash proof. We are submitting the watch for formal testing with an appropriate testing lab. We aim to attain a minimum Ingress Protection (IP) rating of 65. But regardless of the outcome, we strongly discourage submerging the Lifeclock One in liquid. Please don’t take the Lifeclock One swimming, showering, diving or try to parachute into a major metropolitan city to rescue a city official.
Due to the fact that the Lifeclock One has a Bluetooth radio and a battery, it requires certification in order to comply with CE and FCC regulations. Part of the campaign funding will go towards this activity which is handled by a United States based established testing lab ( we are working with one and have another for redundancy) - this process is expensive and it's also time consuming. We have factored the labs anticipated timelines into our schedule but please appreciate that we do not have control over those processes and cannot guarantee that they will take place in the timeframe that we've been told by the testing labs.
We will ship the Lifeclock One worldwide to countries not sanctioned by US delivery services. Please note that you will be responsible for all duties, fees and taxes applicable to your region, which in the past have ranged from 0% to 20% in the US and EU countries, to as much as 200% for certain South American countries. For some EU backers there is a risk that when the reward is clearing customs, a VAT will be affixed (depends on the countries) plus import fees. Backers will be responsible for applicable tariffs, fees and VAT. We will not alter invoices for shipping to reflect different amounts.
We are an experienced team of mechanical, electronic, design and software engineers with extensive experience in delivering to market products in our respective industries. This group has a history of investing staggering amounts of time, love and attention into their work. We not only share a love of the movie, but a common focus and attention to detail to ensure this watch not only exceeds expectations but truly delights it's owners, most notably the fans of the movie. We’re also proud members of the Kickstarter community and we believe that we know what backers expect from their projects in terms of quality of product and transparency of communication. We aim to exceed these expectations.
We all know that problems may come up and unexpected issues may appear. We are dedicated to doing whatever it takes to keep our promises. If we can't hit a deadline, we’ll let you know why and make it right as quickly as possible. We will update you on our progress, and can’t wait to hear feedback from our backers in order to deliver a watch that Snake would be proud to wear.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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