Division Furtive Type 50 Watch

While people who appreciate watches gravitate towards mechanicals, there are some exceptions like your G-Shocks et all that many consider to be must haves for any watch enthusiast. And then there are novelty watches that are just too darn cool that it’s so hard to pass up. Division Furtive’s Type-50, for me, is one of them.

Hailing from Montreal, Canada – Gabriel Ménard is a microelectronics engineer turned watchmaker who’s whole niche is to make limited runs of his watches – usually 1,000 pieces of each model. I first noticed his work from one of his first models; the Type 46 – which was a dual linear electromechanical watch.

Unfortunately, at $3-3.5k, the Type 46 was too expensive considering its lack of provenance. But then the Type 50 eventually came – similar in principle but this time with all solid state components and much more affordable $360 price tag.

I like unique pieces obviously, so this was a no brainer. And ownership was enhanced by the fact that we got dibs on serial numbers – since it was a very “digital” timepiece that pick one of the most recognizable error codes in the digital domain: the 404 / File Not Found 😛

Also, my watch (and a few others) had sapphire on both dial and display back. Normally they’re built with sapphire on front, but with mineral for the rear. I was responsible for getting a sapphire crystal option for the caseback by way of nagging and getting a poll going 😛 So this watch has sentimental value.

Reading Time

Photo c/o Jun Vinluan

It’s difficult to describe exactly how this watch displays time – I would say the closest would be to consider it as an optical minute repeater. The two rows are primarily the hours and minutes. The first row represents the complete 12 hours – so wherever the light is, that’s your hour.

The minute row is a bit more tricky to decipher. The LEDs are spread on increments of 5, and the way you know exactly what minute it is is by checking how the light behaves. If it’s staying on the number (in the picture above it’s on 30), then reading is pretty straightforward, it’s 1:30. If it’s “ticking” quickly through the adjacent indices, you then count the direction and times it completes a cycle.

So for example, if it’s on 30, but ticks to 25 once, then it’s 1:29. If it ticks to 25 twice it’s 1:28. If it was 1:27, it would then be on 25, then ticking twice to 30. So basically you take where it starts, then add or subtract to that based on how many ticks to the left (subtract) or right (add)

Clear as mud? Trust me, it’s not that difficult once you get the hang of it 😛

Crown & Operation

Or lack thereof. Yes, there is no crown on this thing, everything is processed via accelerometer. It “displays” the same way the Apple Watch does when it detects your wrist at a certain angle. To cycle through the modes, you tap on the glass. And for setting time, it’s got a light sensor at the back, and responds to pulses of light from the website

Size & Battery

It comes at an imposing 50mm. 1 Here I thought my Panerai was big, boy was I wrong! This is probably because it uses standard AAAs to power it up. How the hell do you get that battery in you ask? Through a hatch where the non-existent crown would usually be 🙂

Specifications

  • Production: Limited to 1000 units (shared with Type 50X production)
  • Case: Metal with black PVD
  • Diameter/Thickness: 50 mm/16 mm
  • Dial: Gold plated matte black
  • Crystals: Sapphire front, sapphire back 2 Exclusive to select Kickstarter backers
  • Cursors: 25 White LEDs (12 for hours and 13 for minutes)
  • Sensor: 3-axis accelerometer with tap detection
  • Battery: User-replaceable AAA
  • Power reserve: 9 to 24 months (usage dependent)
  • Band: Ultra-smooth silicone or adjustable stainless steel mesh (I have both)

Features

  • Flashlight
  • Day (units on top cursor and tens on bottom cursor)
  • AM/PM (AM or PM on bottom cursor and current hour on top cursor)
  • Day of the week
  • Triple Time zone (Home, Travel East & West)
  • Phase of the moon
  • Chronometer
  • Battery life indicator

The featureset can be overwhelming. How could anyone keep track considering you access all of them via tapping on the glass!? Glad you asked, it’s got “instructions” on the caseback 😛

Photo c/o Jun Vinluan

More on Gabriel

One thing I really like about Gabriel is that he cares about his customers. When I first got the watch, I did the droplet sapphire test and felt unsure if the caseback crystal was sapphire (perhaps the AR coating was messing with the surface). I told him about this and while he assured me it was sapphire, he said he didn’t like his customers unhappy – so to ease my mind, he offered to ship a replacement casing and taught me how to disassemble the watch for the swap. Now that’s customer service!

Notes   [ + ]

1. Here I thought my Panerai was big, boy was I wrong!
2. Exclusive to select Kickstarter backers

Have a say