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Experimenting with the Tissot T Touch

by J.Edwards

I’ve been curiousily investigating transparent electrodes to try and develop a larger touch display for my Tissot T Touch, in hopes of one day being able to develop it into pocket watch dimensions. I love my T Touch, though I tend to use it mainly for adventuring and rarely ever pull it out for daily wear, sticking to my manually wound pocket watch instead. It’s a pretty hefty wristwatch, and I like to keep my wrists fairly light and nimble when I’m at the watchmaking bench. Not having a watch on my wrist also keeps me from getting stressed over what time it is. For me, a pocket watch sits just right. There are days, though, when I’m not on the trail that I wish I had the T Touch’s weather trending or compass features readily at hand. That said, the idea of outfitting its mechanism into a handsomely sublime pocket watch still stands a few lengths short of being a pipe dream. Today, though, marks at least one experimental step closer to making that dream a reality.

Graphene shows incredible promise as a potential electrode, but mainstream adoption is still a few years off. I’ve been banking on the fact that Tissot has likely been using the presently much more common indium-tin-oxide, or ITO for short. It’s the same thin film substrate that’s been driving electrons across liquid crystal displays for near on half a century now. That fact in mind, I ripped apart a defunct, old calculator, which boasted a rather large display that I then proceeded to shatter in order to procure myself a suitably sized piece of ITO coated glass. 

Don’t Try This at Home:

Battery locked and loaded, shard in hand, and the naked T Touch movement under my loupe, I poised my finger above the glass and made my first contact. Results of that first touch were a bit questionable, so I repositioned, and every one thereafter sang sweet success. Downright magical, this indium-tin-oxide.

Stage II: learn how to sputter.

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  1. J.Peter
    Posted December 11, 2008 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    That’s cool stuff. I’m a fan of T-Touches as well. It is my dream watch for adventuring, just as you mentioned you use yours. I remember the first time I held one I fiddled with it for about 30 minutes playing with the compass and examining the crystal under the microscope trying to figure out how this thing worked. I don’t think I would want a pocket watch version, but I do want one for my wrist. Keep up the great posts.

  2. Posted December 22, 2008 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Thanks J.Peter. Having one for the wrist is fantastic when you’re out and about. I love having mine. Being a big fan of pocket watches though, I’d just happen to love having one in that form factor as well.

  3. Richard C
    Posted January 5, 2009 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    I am a watchmaker for swatch group ..
    I just going to say ..
    🙂 please more research …

  4. Posted January 5, 2009 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Glad you enjoyed it Richard. Thin Film Deposition is on my list of books to acquire. I want to investigate the process online a little further, though, before making the investment.

    If there are any particular aspects of the T Touch that you would like us to investigate in more depth, let us know and I will see what we can swing.

  5. K.Burrows
    Posted January 21, 2009 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    Very interesting post! I’m just getting in watchmaking/restoration as a hobby, but my day job is ‘thin film scientist’. I develop TCO coatings like ITO. If you’ve got any questions email me and I’ll do my best to help out.

  6. Posted January 27, 2009 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the offer K.Burrows, I’m glad you enjoyed this post. Very interesting to hear that you specialize in this field for a living! I’ve sent you a short email, with a few questions.

  7. Mark
    Posted January 26, 2012 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    Hey there. Sorry about the comment on such an old post. But I was wondering if you could help me. I’ve got one of these early T-Touch watches. It’s a few years old now and the watch no longer responds to any on screen touches. Any idea on how to fix it? It’s old enough now that I don’t really want to spend any money on getting it fixed.

  8. Posted January 28, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    It’s not likely something than can be fixed without investing at least a little bit of money into. You’re likely looking at one, or a combination, of four problems:

    1. A low battery
    2. Contaminated contact between the crystal and the movement
    3. Thermal degradation of the ITO coating on the crystal
    4. A defective movement

  9. Mark
    Posted January 29, 2012 at 1:10 am | Permalink

    Thanks for your reply. I actually removed the capsule from the watch the other day to see if there was any dirt or grime in it. It appeared very clean. So I guess I’ll get a new battery put in it and see if that fixes the problem. Thanks again.

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