Cyber/steampunk watch built around an ex-Soviet IVL2-7/5 VFD display tube


Originally published at:


I like this in concept but in practice that is a lot of voltage to have on an exposed circuit board sitting on your wrist.

ETA looks like this is a pretty low voltage VFD. Neat!


Wow looks gorgeous!
I’d see it more as a night-stand clock than a wrist-watch but you got to admire the craftsmanship.


That is quite a work of art. It really captures the steampunk aesthetic. Not something you could wear every day, though. Way too fragile.

To make the battery last longer, it would have been rather simple to add a tilt sensor to have it only activate when looked at, like my Nixie watches use.


Yeah according to the original article it’s meant more as a piece of costume jewelry than anything practical and the battery doesn’t last very long. Still, very nicely done. I wonder what @nixiebunny thinks of this.

ETA and as if on cue our posts cross streams.


VFDs are awesome. Hard to justify with LEDs being insultingly cheap, competent, and easy to drive; but such mundane concerns are orthogonal to awesomeness.


The Duracell battery sort of spoils the look.

Obviously it would be hard too come by one of these:

But a suitably printed cover for the battery wouldn’t be out of the question.


Ex-Soviet? Was the tube granted asylum?


Also looks like it will get caught on everything


The average TSA agent would go bonkers over this.


Bah, you beat me to it.

I’d have accepted “Soviet IVL2-7/5 VFD”, though since it looks exactly like a Western or Asian VFD from the eighties, it doesn’t really pay off on that. And “VFD display” is redundant.



13.5v is really low … an OLED module uses 12V!


LOL TSA Basilisk; needs something that goes on a Dr. Evil haircut.


I bet you could build one of those as a school science project!

In Texas!


“The sweet little watch that will get you arrested!”


Dang, I wondered myself.


TSA approved?
That may be a lot of fun to travel with.


It has no wires on it, so it ought to be OK. Wearing wires on your clothing is a free pass to getting probed all sorts of ways. (Speaking from experience.)


The one I’d love to build somehow is the watch from the game Metro Last Light (from here)

It’s a similar Nixie style with a little Tritium tube for light. The problem is, it seems to be based on a tiny Nixie that doesn’t really exist. Like a smaller version of

If you’re not familiar with Metro 2033, it’s a pretty neat post-apocolyptic punk style game with wonderful visuals based on the Metro book series, by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky.


Faux nixie results, though not perfect, aren’t bad. Check out this project ->