Build your own DIY digital watch with Adafruit

Be stylish and on time with this AVR based DIY watch.

Flashy watches seem to be a dime a dozen these days. However, there are some wrist-adorned gadgets that catch our eye from time to time. Added to that list is this latest creation from Adafruit’s Phillip Burgess and Lady Ada herself, which really speaks to our inner geekery. Not only does it look great, but the 8×8 bit matrix watch is super comfortable and versatile with its repurposed silicone band. What’s more, you too can make your own with this new DIY kit.


64 LEDs illuminate the display to notify you of the time in a variety of ways, whether that’s in scrolling marquee and binary fashion. There’s also a built-in battery meter letting wearers know how much battery remains. Impressively, the watch packs 1,000 full-time displays out of a coin battery and over a year’s worth of ‘resting’ lifetime, which allows anyone to use this as a daily accessory.


The wearable device is based on an ATmega328P. As the brains of the timepiece, it is tasked with handling both the display and buttons. The board was pre-programmed at the Adafruit factory to have an Arduino-compatible bootloader and their default watch display code.

Aside from the MCU, the entire build includes the following components:

  • An 8-pin real time clock chip
  • 32.768KHz Crystal
  • 2 x right angle buttons
  • 20mm coin battery holder
  • 0.1uF ceramic capacitor
  • 1 x 10K resistor
  • 8 x 47 ohm resistor
  • 1.5″ 8×8 matrix


Ready to get started? Head over to Adafruit’s step-by-step tutorial here. Those looking to devise their own watch designs can take comfort in knowing that the watch is completely hackable. If you know how to program Arduino, you’re well on your way.

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