10 Best Talking Watches for the Visually Impaired

Technology not only changed the way we view the world but also helped our lives in many ways. With this, the watchmaking industry continues to innovate through the years — from the most complicated watches to durable, inexpensive timepieces. However, there’s a huge demographic that also deserves the same privilege we have in wearing timepieces. We’re talking about people with disabilities who need a reference for time and date as much as we do. For this article, we focus on the needs of the visually impaired and how a single talking watch can change their lives.

Visually impaired people — be it blind, those with decreased ability to see, and everyone in between — have special needs. Thankfully, technology moves forward for everyone’s advantage in providing information and accessibility. When it comes to time, more and more watchmakers provide for the most basic needs of the visually impaired people. A talking watch can go a long way in providing information to anyone going through a loss in vision. Below, we list down 10 best talking watches that are perfect for the visually impaired.

History of Talking Watches

Before the invention of talking clocks, it’s normal to find a clock that incorporates the use of noisemakers. For instance, clangs, chimes, gongs, melodies as well as bird sounds from cuckoos or roosters. While many mechanical clocks use this, they still don’t tell the exact time as they chime. This all changed when Frank Lambert invented the first talking clock.

Soon after the invention of the phonograph by Thomas Edition, Lambert took on the challenge to incorporate a voice on a clock. In 1878, he used a voice recorded on a lead cylinder calling out the hours as they arrive. Instead of using soft tinfoil as Edison did, Lambert used lead. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized this achievement in 1992. The institution named it as the oldest known sound recording that was playable. Today, the first talking clock is on display at the National Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia, Pennsylvania. However, the status of Lambert’s clock as the first recording device got defeated by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville and his phonautogram from 1857.

While rumours of the production of talking clocks went around for a while, it was only in 1910 that another talking clock was launched. Bernhard Hiller created a clock equipped with a belt that had a recording on it, announcing the time. However, they’re not as durable as expected. The belts broke by the hand-tightening required for the clock and all attempts to recreate the celluloid ribbon failed.

Speaking Clocks via Phone

In the year 1933, talking clocks found its first practical use via Ernest Esclangin’s creation. He created a talking telephone time service in Paris, France. It first went into operation on February 14, 1933, receiving more than 140,000 calls. Soon after, London started providing a similar service. To this day, talking time service still runs on various countries, receiving millions of calls every year.

The speaking clock works exactly as you’d imagine it. It’s format is very similar to a radio time signal services. At a given interval, set by the company that hosts the service, a voice announces the time with chimes following it. This service often gets appended by sponsors’ names and messages just like in radio.

Modern Talking Clocks

From there, talking clocks became more common, especially among kids’ toys. For instance, the 1954 Hickory Dickory Clock by Ted Duncan, Inc. which is a crank toy for children. It used a record, needle, and tonearm to produce a sound. On the other hand, in 1968, Mattel-a-Time became the first truly portable talking clock.

Then in 1979,  Sharp launched the world’s first-ever quartz talking clock called the Talking Time CT-660E (German version CT-660G). This clock had a silver transistor-radio-like case that had complex LSI circuitry with 3 SMD ICs (likely clock CPU, speech CPU and sound IC). It, therefore, produced a Speak&Spell-like synthetic voice. Meanwhile, at the front rim is a small LCD that showed the actual time. Not only did the alarm spoke the time but it also had the “Boccherini’s Minuet” playing. Not to mention, after 5 minutes the alarm repeated with the words “Please hurry!” Moreover, the clock had a stopwatch and a countdown timer. To turn the alarm off or set functions, one must reach a small lid found at the bottom of the clock.

A few years later, in 1984, Hattori Seiko Co. introduced the famous pyramid-shaped talking clock, the Pyramid Talk. It featured a futuristic design with its LCD hidden at the bottom. However, it wasn’t as practical because people were supposed to always push its top to hear it talk.

What to Expect from a Talking Watch

Today, a talking watch can be more than just a watch that tells time. They often have many more features such as reading the weather and other information to the user. These watches not only help the visually impaired but also help teach kids to learn how to read time, as history proves.

Many smartwatches also have accessibility features perfect to be included in this category. Today, we’re going to discuss every talking watch that can provide the most basic needs that a visually impaired person would need — time.

Let’s break down the best talking watches on the market today!

Best Talking Watches for the Visually Impaired

Five Senses ATOMIC!
Talking Watch
Five Senses ATOMIC! Talking Watch

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  • Display Type: Digital
  • Case Diameter: 39.5 mm
  • Band Width: 20 mm
Talking Watch
TimeOptics Talking Watch

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  • Display Type: Analogue
  • Diameter: 34 mm
  • Thickness: 13 mm
Reizen Talking
Atomic Watch
Reizen Talking Atomic Watch

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  • Display Type: Analogue
  • Diameter: 1.25 inches
  • Band Width: 6.5 inches

1. Dot Watch Braille Smartwatch

Dot Watch Braille Smartwatch


The Dot Watch is the world’s first braille smartwatch. Launched in December 2016, it became one of the most innovative products that benefitted the visually impaired. This watch also had a modern design that specialized specifically in giving information without the hullabaloo of other timepieces geared to amaze aesthetically.

This watch features a face with 24 shifting dots powered by magnets and electrical signals. On the face of the watch, one can find a braille display that has four cells and just under that are two touch sensors that let the user scroll through and read notifications. It also has a set of three controls from “select”, the “dot crown” dial, as well as the “home” button. It can be charged through a USB charger, which is included when you purchase the device, making it pretty easy to use.

This watch can also be linked to a smartphone via Bluetooth in order to display time as well as texts and other app notifications. One must also have the Dot Watch app to operate the watch perfectly. The app also helps the user of the watch to configure a few settings in the watch as well as check the battery status without the hassle. It also hubs the alarm setting and the “learn Braille” function.

Because this watch is a braille watch, not everyone will enjoy the benefits and the appeal of this watch. But surely, it isn’t limited only to the visually impaired demographics. If you’re someone who’s learning braille for a loved one or a friend, this can be a great way to begin learning. Its intuitive learning program makes learning braille simple, easy, and entertaining.

While this watch doesn’t necessarily “talk” its alarm goes beyond efforts to provide accessible information to the deaf and the blind. This watch alone makes stands out from other watches for being a revolutionary timepiece without having to be expensive.

2. Five Senses ATOMIC! Talking Watch

Five Senses ATOMIC! Talking Watch


The Five Senses ATOMIC! Talking Watch perhaps is the most popular choice among actual talking watches. It does actually talk, but anyone experiencing a loss of vision or are blind won’t have to worry about reading time with this watch. It looks like your typical wristwatch but it offers a whole lot more.

The ATOMIC! Talking watch goes beyond telling the time by also telling the day and date and having an alarm function. It also doesn’t need a rest button or a crown to wind the time to its proper position. The watch features an automatic setting of timezone based on what the user prefers and even adjusts itself for daylight savings. How? Simple. It automatically sets itself to the correct time by syncing to the WWVB Radio Signal From USA Atomic Clock in Colorado Springs. Therefore, the available timezones for this watch include Pacific, Mountain, Central as well as Eastern Time.

The watch also has four buttons that allow one to hear their choice of time, date, time zone, and the alarm time in a very distinguishable British man’s voice.

  • The 2:00 button announces the time as “The Time is 10:30 PM”
  • The 4:00 button announces the time as “Today is Thursday, August 31, Year 2017”
  • The 8:00 button announces if your time zone is updated as “USA Time Zone Updated”
  • The 10:00 button announces the alarm as “The Alarm Time is 6:15 AM”

At 1.25 inches in diameter, the watch isn’t uncomfortable around the wrist. The strap of this watch also measures a good 9 and a half inches in length. Anyone can wear the watch and the bold black numbers make the time easy to see. It also features a unisex design that looks amazing on both men and women. If you’re worried about having to work this watch, a complete set of instructions and guide comes with it upon purchase.

3. TimeOptics Talking Watch

TimeOptics Talking Watch


What we love about the TimeOptics Talking Watch is that it is a straightforward watch. With a push of the button, you can hear the time, date, day, month as well as year. You can also use the added alarm feature to remind you of certain things. All talking watches from TimeOptics feature a stainless steel caseback, as well as flex bands for comfortable wear.

The brand makes inexpensive talking watches that are also fashionable. A TimeOptics also offer Dual Voice talking watches for more personal and exceptional customer service. They also offer talking watches for kids that help visually impaired children or help teach the young ones to read the time on their own!

4. Verbalise Digital Top Button Talking Watch

Verbalise Digital Top Button Talking Watch

Verbalise has a long list of talking watches to discuss, but we’re particularly fond of the Digital Top Button Talking Watch from the brand. This digital watch features a button on the top to announce the time and date. It also includes a digital display for the time. With its gender-neutral design, it’s a timepiece perfect for every man and woman with visual disabilities. The watch also includes an expanding metal strap that is suitable for all wrist sizes. It features an English voice that’s universal in its function.

Aside from this, one can also utilize five daily alarms as well as UK or US radio-controlled timekeeping. However, for people outside the UK or US territory, this watch can also be set manually.

5. Pelham Digital Talking Watch

Pelham Talking 4 Alarm LCD Watch: Health & Personal Care

The Pelham Digital Talking Watch works perfectly not only for the blind, but also for those suffering a decrease in visual ability. It features an oversized LCD digital display that can easily be seen by those with bad eyesight. It’s also finished with a matte black and silver case with a black strap for comfortable wear. The watch has a synthetic female voice that announces the time and day and features four daily medication reminder alarms.

Moreover, it also features a stopwatch function, a talking calendar, and an optional hourly time announcement. Powering the watch is a CR2016 Lithium battery that can easily be replaced!

6. Lifemax Chronograph Style Radio-Controlled Talking Watch

Lifemax Chronograph Style Radio-Controlled Talking Watch


Just like the other entries on our list, this Lifemax Chronograph Style Radio-Controlled Talking Watch features radio controls on the time. Lifemax produces many talking watches, but what we love about this watch is its style and functions. Firstly, it’s a chronograph watch so you can see three sub-dials on the watch at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. This radio-controlled talking watch also has a stainless steel bracelet strap to complete its luxurious look. Alternative straps are available for those who like more comfortable choices, such as leather or rubber.

However, it functions a lot simpler than it looks. The watch features two voices that announce the time. It has automatic time updates as well as an optional alarm and hourly announcements.

7. Reizen Talking Atomic Watch

Reizen Talking Atomic Watch


Just like the previous atomic watch on our list, the Reizen Talking Atomic Watch also features the same automatic time setting. Reizen prides this watch as one of its bestsellers. This talking watch provides the convenience of hearing the time announced at the press of a single button. This talking watch has a clear announcement of time, date, day of the week, alarm status and more in a male voice. What’s more, the Reizen Talking Atomic Watch also features automatic adjusting for daylight savings time!

The large face of this watch plus the bold black numbers and hands make for an easy time-checking experience. However, the Atomic Radio-Controlled NIST Time-Setting Function only works in the USA except for Alaska and Hawaii. But setting the time manually is also possible!

8. Simply Talking Ladies Watch

Simply Talking Ladies Watch


Perhaps the most straightforward watch on the list, the Simply Talking Ladies Watch is exactly that, a simple talking watch for the ladies. At a press of a button, it reads the time to you. It also has a very simple yet luxurious design that makes it perfect as a fashion accessory! The user will have the option to change from male to female voice easily.

9. Apple Watch

Apple Watch Series 5 (GPS, 44mm) - Space Gray Aluminum Case with Black Sport Band


We know that smartwatches are a bit like cheating when it comes to watches like this, but not all smartwatches are created equal. The Apple Watch may be the pricier choice among the ones we presented, but it’s perfectly clear why this watch is in our list. Apple made sure that the accessibility features that this watch offers match that of its other devices, like computers and phones. With the voice command, you can easily have your Apple Watch read you the time and date and provide other information as necessary. Since it’s a smartwatch that can be connected to your phone, you can also have your notifications read to you easily! It can’t get any more convenient than this.

10. Samsung Gear S3 Smartwatch

Samsung Gear S3 Smartwatch


While we’re at it, let’s name another big player in the smartwatch category. This watch costs just as much if not less expensive than the Apple Watch. The Samsung Gear 3 Smartwatch also includes great accessibility features that make it a smart choice for a watch especially for the visually impaired. Aside from its talking ability through Samsung’s voice assistant, Bixby, options to put the display in grayscale or turn the brightness down works wonders with this watch. One can also choose to have the watch display negative or contrasting colours. With a few taps, magnifying won’t also be a problem for the watch!

Final Thoughts

While there are a lot of options for people without disabilities, it doesn’t mean we have to overlook the needs of our visually impaired friends. Everyone needs and deserves the gift of time one way or another. A talking watch is just one of the many ways we can give them that!

Looking for watches that match your profession? Check out our guides to watches for medical professionals and military-grade watches!

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