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This Moto 360 pocket watch should totally be a real thing

Ever since Motorola's first live stream for the Moto 360, there's been this notion buzzing in the back of my head. As amazing as the round design looked on the wrist, the way Motorola had embedded the watch band connectors into the casing with no lugs on either side gave me visions of a smart pocket watch. With our recent exploration into 3D Printing here at Android Central, now seemed like the right time to see what was possible. What happened next was a solid week of tinkering, printing, very nearly destroying a Moto 360, and at last ending up with a functional design that could be used as a pocket watch.

Moto 360 Pocket Watch

Yes, before you even go there, I am more than aware that a pocket watch with Android Wear functionality would essentially create a use case where you're performing the same pocket grab for a watch as you would a smartphone in order to do less things. I would argue that pocket watches haven't been worn for practicalities sake in a very long time and leave it at that. This is 100 percent a "because I can" kind of experiment, but I'd be lying if I said the end result didn't have me seriously considering wandering around in public with a pocket watch. I'm also not the only one with this idea, in fact there was a Kickstarter for a similar concept in metal instead of plastic. So it's not just me.

Putting together the first attempt for this project was surprisingly easy, due largely to how much work had already been done. A quick look on Thingiverse revealed user Laggylarry and his Paracord band adapter for the Moto 360. The basic cartridge design already existed, so all I needed to do was mess with the existing files in some kind of STL file editor. I initially tried to make the edits through a pair of CAD apps on Android, but found quickly that touch interfaces are really not great for this kind of thing. It's way to easy to be imprecise, and for something as small as this that wasn't going to fly. I moved to my desktop and used SketchUp 2015 instead, which made editing and modifying the existing structure much easier. The first edit attempt was exported to Cura, a desktop app for setting up print filed for the Ultimaker 2 I've been using, and 36 minutes later the first attempt was done.

Moto 360 Pocket Watch

The first print fit so snugly into the watch band slot on the Moto 360 that I was able to mess around for quite a while without putting the spring bar pin in and locking the cartridge in place. I would up needing a pin that was slightly smaller than the one Motorola includes with the 360, but had one on hand from another watch so it was no big deal. Unfortunately, it didn't occur to me until after the spring bar pin clicked into place that the cartridge was so snug I wouldn't be able to get a tool in to pull that pin back out. This started a 48 hour freak out where I tried everything I could thing of to get the cartridge out of the slot.

Since the back of the 360 is somewhat fragile, I eventually opted to use a warm blade to carve the cartridge out of its slot, destroying it in the process. Much like watch bands that are too thick for this design, the cartridge would need to be more carefully considered. The second design attempt needed to have an appropriate notch cut out to make this easier, which was also surprisingly easy in SketchUp 2015.

Moto 360 Pocket Watch

With the appropriate changes in place, everything works exactly as it should. Using the Moto 360 in pocket watch form didn't require much of anything in the way of settings changes. Ambient display was disabled since I glancing down at the watch wasn't going to happen when the device was in your pocket, but not much else needed to be changed. Obviously heart rate monitoring isn't going to work, and I do wish the feature could be turned off in settings, but the pedometer seems to work the same way when in my pocket. Holding the Moto 360 in your hand and using your thumb to dismiss notifications is perfectly comfortable, and your average pocket watch chain length is enough that you can speak commands to the watch comfortably without leaning or tugging, though in a crowded or noisy space this is far less likely to be true. That this design is only marginally less practical than wearing the watch on your wrist either speaks volumes to the current limitations of Android Wear, or indicates this wasn't such a crazy idea to begin with. I'll let you decide.

The Moto 360 pocket watch design has been published as a remix on Thingiverse for anyone to try out for themselves, but it is important to remember that 3D Printers aren't always the most precise things on the planet when printing things this small. Tiny errors can completely ruin prints, and if there are any imperfections on the outer edges of the print you run the risk of stress fractures on the bottom of your Moto 360 if you just carelessly jam the cartridge in. Enjoy!

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter

95 Comments
  • Well.. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It would actually be a pretty cool idea if it had standalone phone capacity like the Gear S. Posted via the Android Central App
  • This. If/Once smartwatches become standalone devices, I could see this being kinda cool. I think someone else made a good point about using it at more formal events, but again, not until it's standalone. With that said, I'm still very impressed. Well done! Posted via Android Central App
  • Why not just have a star trek communicator that is all voice activated.
  • That would be awesome! Bloop, bloop, bloop, bloop... I have Samsung. :D
  • WTF?? in the pocket like my smartphone? Genius
  • This guy didn't read the article! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Reading is fundamental Nexus 5 (AT&T)
  • Came here to comment "those are called phones!" but then I read the article ;) Still though... That's a really cool idea! Posted via the Android Central App
  • https://youtu.be/S0wdW-PEsNQ Posted via the Android Central App
  • Thanks for the link it made my day Posted via the Android Central App
  • Reminds me of the time my boss was being sarcastic and said, "You know what would be great? If someone could combine a keyboard and a printer in one device, to make things more efficient." He then handed me a typewriter to finish my work.
  • Typewriters can be cool. Posted via the Android Central App
  • White out sucks, especially when OCD and having to start over with a new clean page. I couldn't afford a PC in HS right when PC's were being used and integrated in schools in early 90's, and the computer lab had 20 that were always full and couldn't get on
  • Word processor Nexus 5 (AT&T)
  • Wordprocessors were so handy! Could easily use one to change the birth date on an interim driver's license in NY. Saved me in college before I turned 21!
  • Damn, I need a 3d printer to tinker with things like this. I like the idea. Here's the kick starter they mentioned http://www.steelconnect.co/SteelConnect-M-M-Hook-for-Moto360-s/1816.htm Gives the 360 a nice look, IMHO.
  • Another 5 years and everyone will have them like microwaves.
  • Completely defeats the purpose of android wear...that watch is the most worthless piece of garbage I've ever seen. I want the 2 minutes of my life it took to type this back!!!
  • Though I can understand where you are coming from, I don't think you get the point of a pocket watch... Wubba lubba dub dub!
  • It took you two minutes to type that? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Was thinking that too.... Must have been typed with an old flip phone or something without T9. ;) Posted via the Android Central App
  • The "420" at the end of the username may provide us a clue... lol Wubba lubba dub dub!
  • Lol Posted by my soon to be retired Note 3
  • This guy didn't read the article!!! Posted via the Android Central App
  • I know, man. Reading is hard. But just stick with it and you'll be reading whole blog posts like a big boy in no time! Posted via my Z3 Compact because I have tiny little baby hands
  • Still one of my favorite images in all the internets https://imagemacros.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/stripper-lrg.jpg
  • Though I'm not a machinist, if 3D designs already exist I don't think it would be too tricky to adapt this and make an aluminium one on a CNC mill, would it? Wubba lubba dub dub!
  • Another reason to get a moto 360... Posted via the Android Central App
  • I want a full on Android Wear pocketwatch. This is a good first step. Pocket watches are great for weddings and other formal events. Sure it defeats the purpose of A wrist watch. But this is Android Wear... A pocket watch could be part of that ecosystem, but like everything if you don't want to use it then don't. Posted via the Android Central App
  • IMO this is pointless. Sensors are useless. It would need a sturdier bezel for those unforeseen instances. I won't say it doesn't look cool cause it does but for the 360. On that note great concept and potential Posted via the Android Central App
  • The Moto 360 Pocket Watch combined with a Google Glass Monocle: FABulous.
  • Lol! +1 Nexus 5 (AT&T)
  • Lol! Bloop, bloop, bloop, bloop... I have Samsung. :D
  • Why???? You can't take out your phone instead???? Posted via the Android Central App
  • This guy also didn't read the article! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Good lord, there are a lot of non-readers commenting today.
  • I want one. Posted via Android Central App
  • I think this would receive better complements if he had put a better face on the watch. Something skeletonized with moving parts that looks more pocket watchy. Posted via the Android Central App
  • And Steel connect, the people that make the adapters for watchbands for smart watches, already did this. I thought I saw it before this post.... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Looks like you could make a locking mechanism for the other side, and then a hinged cover. Never did like exposed pocket watches much, I prefer the covered ones.
  • Neato! Posted via Android Central App
  • Useless device but stylish thing. And its ROUND. Squares monitors are everywhere and boring. I've broke my last watch 23 years ago and felt myself watchfree. But this thing reminds me college and I'll buy it just for the desk top ).
  • this pocket watch has been brought to you by a hipster in Portland.
  • Looks interesting. Would it be possible to print out a protective case for it? With a lid? Or is that still beyond the printers capability? Posted via Android Central App- Via HTC One
  • The printer is fully capable, I just need to make the design. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nice job with this, Russel. You bring some good stuff to the AC team and it really works.
  • would be nicer with a round screen...
  • I still use pocket watches. Mainly because I hate having things on my wrists. That said, I'd never buy a 360 pocket watch for the same reason I don't buy the normal version: that stupid flat tire. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I don't see the point of this. Wearing it on your wrist you have notifications visible all the time for when your phone is in your pocket or a bag. With this you're still pulling it out to check things.
  • This guy also didn't read the article!! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Why waste time reading when one can make stupid comments immediately! Posted via the Android Central App
  • They should include a pocket watch attachment on the next one in addition to other accessories that allow you to get multiple uses out of the device. Add a docking station & the ability to control music & video functions of other devices & you have folks like me who want to use their phones while having another device hooked to an auxiliary port or serving another purpose. They would also work well as simple GPS devises & would take up far less space. They had the right idea when they put Android on a watch. They just limited themselves by only thinking it could work on the wrist. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Ummmm... http://www.steelconnect.co/SteelConnect-M-M-Hook-for-Moto360-s/1816.htm
  • I said this 2 hours ago... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Looks like a nice pocket watch. Just a shame that moto 360 is such a terrible device Posted via the Android Central App
  • Except it's not. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Oh yeah , u seem like ur all in on that $17,000 lame apppppppple watch Posted via the Android Central App via the Nexus 6, possibly the N5!
  • Well to me it is terrible. Had it replaced twice because the back cracked and couldn't attain the claimed "all day" battery life. Moved onto the G Watch R and wish I never wasted my time with the 360. And with regards to the apple watch, I'm not an apple person, but if I wanted it, $17k would not be an issue Posted via the Android Central App
  • When i heard you talk about this in the podcast, all I could think was BRILLIANT!!!
  • Lemme tell ya... I would break out the bowtie and suspenders fer that.... Posted via the Android Central App via the Nexus 6, possibly the N5!
  • Awesome Russell I've been dying to see this after you mentioned it last week on the podcast. It's a little ruff but as a fan of old antiques and antique tech I can really appreciate this idea. I can't wait to get my hands on a 3D printer and get to putting my own ideas into reality.
    Hope to see more of the stuff you make man, keep it up. Oh by the way your a great addition to the Android Central team, glad they acquired you. Posted via the Android Central App
  • One kind of already exists: The Runcible http://mashable.com/2015/03/04/runcible-smart-pocket-watch/ Posted via the Android Central App
  • While I love watches and love pocket watches(I own a few) I thought of this very same idea for my Moto 360 but then thought it defeated the purpose. I mean I think on of the best things about smart watches is having your notifications and such right there when you need it without having to pull a device out of your pocket so I decided not to attempt it. :P
  • OK, why should it be a real thing? It looks cool, but it's also utterly, abysmally useless. There may be some utility to a smart watch since, although it duplicates functionality you already have in your pocket, in theory allowing you to keep your phone there. But why have something to take out of your pocket to duplicate functionality on something you ALSO have to take out of your pocket. This is the very definition of too much time and money on your hands.
  • Hey, Einstein, I see you can type, now can you read?
    Or looking at pictures is all you can do? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I read it just fine. It was a project just slightly less pointless than, say, you. I don't see much interesting about someone saying hey, look how I can waste time AND get clicks on a website! That's something right out of Boy Genius Report.
  • Apparently he can read. What he can't do is comprehend. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Comprehend what? That this is a piece of hipster shit? We comprehend that just fine. Fuck me, all these douche bags who think this is "great" need to get on with their lives. Posted via the Android Central App on my Nexus 5
  • My point, in a somewhat more... straightforward way. I could also make my phone sing Daisy like a HAL9000. But that's about as pointless as this. Sometimes reading blogs is like watching 4 year olds showing off their latest crayon art. There's only so much room on the refrigerator for that.
  • Russell, I just found out a second ago that Apple already innovated it http://teamcoco.com/video/apple-pocketwatch?playlist=x;eyJ0eXBlIjoicG9wd...
  • This looks awesome Posted via the Android Central App
  • Steam punks everywhere Thankyou! Posted via Android Central App
  • Kind of awesome. On that point the article makes about this being simply an exercise in 'why not,' I kinda look at smart watches in general with that "Why not just use your phone?" viewpoint anyway. So I fully accept that this isn't necessary, it's just cool. Sometimes things can be done simply for the sake of style. If the 360 weren't already so thick, I'd have gone the extra mile and made a flip cover for it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well, pocket watches have always had a certain sense of style to me, so I like it. Now if it had a button and flip cover like a real pocket watch.
  • >"Ambient display was disabled since I glancing down at the watch wasn't going to happen when the device was in your pocket, but not much else needed to be changed." Actually, that is not what "ambient screen" mode is. What you need to turn off is "tilt to wake". Ambient screen is simply a setting that means "be more sensitive to movement." With it off, it takes a more deliberate tilt motion to turn on, but it still will. Turning off tilt to wake will completely disable motion waking and require pressing the crown button or touching the display to wake the watch. For some strange reason, you can only get to the "tilt" setting from inside the Wear phone app settings.... it cannot be done from the watch itself. It is annoying that there isn't just a single setting with a scale that adjusts sensitivity. And it is also annoying that there is no setting to turn off touching the screen to wake, for times when you would just like to press the button only. Oh, since I am on a roll.... it is also annoying there is no option to control how long the display stays on before it goes to sleep.
  • To disable touch to wake put the 360 into Theatre mode, then it will only wake on a crown button press. Will stay enabled until you explicitly disable it.
  • That is a good point, but that will also disable notification waking.
  • That's cool! I collect antique and and vintage railroad standard pocket watches. How does its size compare to the American pocket watch sizes?
  • I am not a wrist watch person, I just cannot get into it even if its a "Smart" Watch. However a "Smart" pocket watch?!? Heck yeah! I would love to see what multiple manufacturers could come with to get this side of the crowd. I would seroiusly debate with myself why I would need one of these as opposed to a wrist watch (which I say nay to). Posted via the Android Central App
  • In a perfect world this would actually solve the battery life dilemma a lot of smartwatches run into. Imagine a proper smart pocket watch with a flip cover that goes into sleep mode when closed, wakes when the flip cover is opened, and packs a 7 or 800mh battery (as pocket watches can get away with being slightly larger than wristwatches). Between a bigger battery and spending big chunks of the day in sleep mode you could get Pebble-esque battery life out of a full color traditional android wear device.
  • This is stupid nobody wheres a pocket watch for a reason, if you do you're just trying real hard to use it because you paid for it and feel dumb that its useless. Even if there are kickstarters or whatever this will be a thing for a week and everyone will go back to using their watch like a watch. It's "cool" but impractical for anyone to actually spend time producing.
  • While I agree with your overall sentiment, it's "wears" not "wheres." Come on, that's not even close. I'll forgive the "there" "their" "they're" mistakes, but good lord. Posted via the Android Central App on my Nexus 5
  • Umm. I actually have a pocket watch and yes I still use it... it was my great gramps watch and is now over 100 years old. I dont like wearing stuff on my wrists and I dont like to pull out my phone when in a crowded place just to see the time or check what that notification was. I would love a smart pocket watch as it could still do everything as a smart watch. Battery life would be better as it could go to sleep more often. There is a market for this just like there is still a market for people buying MP3 players or CD's. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah, I read the article, but this defeats the entire purpose of a smart watch. If you want to do something just to do it, how about leaving your house and going for a hike, or climb a mountain. That accomplishes something in the way of exercise at least, besides an exercise in futility, which this pocket smart watch most definitely is. Posted via the Android Central App on my Nexus 5
  • Anyone got the 24mm mono link metal band yet? Any reviews out there?
  • Cool option, so a 3rd party just needs to make a snapon pocket watch adapter for the existing 360. If it sells a ton, then hint hint.
  • Our first baby steps into replicator technology.
  • I value by I'm Posted via the Android Central App
  • This is a really cool idea! All they need to do now is add standalone calling... Bloop, bloop, bloop, bloop... I have Samsung. :D
  • Pfft. I carry a pocket watch almost every day. Have for years, ever since a door came back and smashed my wrist watch.
    I've LOVE a pocket smartwatch. I think this is awesome and hope some manufacturer comes up with an official one. Cool!
  • An interesting side project. It's fun to tinker!
  • A lil ridiculous, but strangely classy Posted via the Android Central App
  • Steel Connect makes an attachment that turns the Moto 360 into a pocket watch along with connectors that allow you to use any watchband.
  • I know people who are asking 'what's the point' are missing the point and mostly its a cool because-we-can project, but I can think of a practical application. For formal or smart events I wear a kilt. A wristwatch spoils the look of a kilt jacket so I like a pocket watch. Your phone can ruin the line of your jacket too so mine goes in my sporan. A smart watch on a chain in my waistcoat pocket is way easier to access than digging my phone out of my sporran. That and its way cool