Keeping Track of Time with Talking, Vibrating, Braille or Large Number Watches

Keeping Track of Time with Talking, Vibrating, Braille or Large Number Watches

Posted under Living With Low Vision, Low Vision Info

How do you like to keep track of time?  Being able to manage your own schedule, reminders and appointments is an important way of staying independent. Did you know that there are several different ways your watch can communicate the time, provide you with an alarm, or tell you the day and date as well?

The communication options for your low vision watch include:


  1.  Large Face and Large Numbers

Choose a larger watch face than a typical analog watch with contrasting colors.  The two most popular color options are dark black hands and numbers on a white background or white numbers and hands on a black face.  Be sure that the watch hands are in contrasting color and easy to see as well as the numbers.


  1. Talking Watches

Simply hold the watch up to your ear, press of a button, and a voice will speak the time of day.  Some talking watches will also offer the day of the week and the date as well.  Many talking watches will allow you to adjust the volume or choose between a male or female voice.


  1. Vibrating Watches

For those who can’t see a large number watch, but don’t want to draw attention with a talking watch at a concert, play or movie, there are vibrating watches that can communicate time as well.   The Apple watch in combination with the TimeBuzz app allows for “silent time-telling.”  Longer and shorter vibrations allow you to “feel” the current time.  The Swiss Central Union for the Blind realized the need for a better functioning watch for those who are blind or have low vision.  The ACUSTICA project resulted in an elegant and high functioning watch that uses speech, contrasting design and vibration to tell time.  At this time it is only available in Switzerland but they hope to make it more widely accessible in the future.


  1.   Braille Watch

A Braille watch works by opening the clear protective cover and feeling the hands and raised dots for the time. The hands are made to be durable and sturdy so they don’t bend with frequent use.

Many of these low vision watches will have a combination of the above features – such as large, contrasting numbers along with the voice option.

Setting the correct time can become more difficult with loss of vision.  Another feature to look for in a low vision watch is the atomic feature. An atomic watch will automatically set the time for you.  According to the watch doctor, Mark Sirianni, “An atomic watch never needs to have its time or date set/adjusted because it receives a low frequency radio signal each night that keeps it perfectly synchronized with the US atomic clock in Colorado. The watch’s built ­in antenna searches once a day for the 60 kHz radio signal emitted from Ft. Collins and decodes the signal in order to update its time.”


This means that the watch will automatically reset for the correct time when Daylight Savings starts and ends.  Other features that can be found in low vision watches include alarms, light-up faces, and the date and day of the week announcing.  Find out more how you can keep track of your time and schedule with a watch that meets your needs:


Low Vision Watches


Leslie Degner, RN, BSN