Review: Cadence 4-Bit Watch

Short version: Simple, geeky, and clean, the Cadence 4-Bit watch is stylish without being gaudy. Priced right at $99, if you still wear a watch, this is definitely one to take a look at.


  • Leather band
  • Japanese movement
  • Simple design doesn’t distract
  • $99 MSRP


  • Improves your geek cred
  • Battery powered movement never needs winding


  • Maybe too basic – lacks even a date window
  • No luminescence on the hour and minute hand

Full review:

A few months back, I received an email from Cadence, a small watch company based on the east coast, telling me about their 4-Bit watch, and I told you about it. Well, the representative from Cadence just sent me a 4-Bit watch to review, and I’m happy to tell you it actually looks better in person.

It’s a simple watch, lacking even a date display, but since the cell phone has become ubiquitous it’s a bit of a anachronism to even wear a watch, much less a complicated one. As such, I didn’t really find that I missed the date window — on those rare occasions that I do need to know what the date is, I can always look at my computer, or cell phone.

The 4-Bit watch uses a simply displayed binary notation to indicate the hour markers, instead of the standardized Roman or Arabic symbols that most watches use. You don’t necessarily have to know how to read it, since we’re all familiar (well, most of us) with telling time on analog face and can tell the time based on the just the location of the hands. It’s a subtle and tasteful way of advertising your geekiness without sacrificing function.

One thing that I found strange: there’s luminescence (the stuff that makes watches glow) on the hour markers on the outside of the face and the second hand, but not on the hour and minute hands. This makes it pretty much impossible to tell what time it is in the dark unless you have some other light source. Not a major issue, but something that might bother some people. I mentioned this to my contact at Cadence, and he said that it was conscious decision by the designer. Apparently that’s the price you pay for high style.

Conclusion: Regardless of my minor complaint about the hands not glowing, the 4-Bit watch is nice. It’s got just enough geek in it to make the design different from the rest of the watch world, but it’s still stylish enough to look good under a shirt cuff. Is it worth $99? That’s a decision that you have to make for yourself, but I like it. One other item worth mentioning if you do decide to order a Cadence 4-Bit watch; they recently changed their packaging to a more environmentally friendly bubble wrap pocket, instead of a cardboard box that you use once and then throw away. Good for them.

Product page: Cadence 4-bit wristwatch