These are functional, animated, third-party analog and digital watch face apps that run in the Apple Watch’s built-in WebKit browser (watchOS 5 + required). They download to the browser cache, use the Watch’s crystal oscillator to determine the time, and can function without an Internet connection. If you wish, they can appear automatically when you raise your wrist or tap the screen. Each includes multiple colors, styles, and options, such as a high-speed Demo mode.
To access all of these faces on your Watch at once, send this link to yourself as an email or text message, then view the link on your Watch (force-press to turn off Reader mode). You can also try these timepieces on other devices—Safari or Chrome browser recommended.
Theses watch faces are experimental. They are offered as-is, intended only for entertainment, and may have bugs. I wanted to explore unusual graphic designs, artistic effects, and alternative methods of communicating time. Some of these faces show the time in ways that are not obvious until you know how to read them, but they are simple once explained. See the bottom of this page for additional tips.
Analog Watch Faces
To help you read the various arc styles, A Zoom mode shows the entire 12-hour face, and a Step mode lets you set any time to view.
Includes 11 different styles and 9 colors. Try It
A single 5-minute dot is also added—indicating the nearest 5-minute mark. When the nearest 5-minute mark is an exact quarter, there is no added dot. This example: 5:25.
Includes 8 color themes, and both circular and full-screen shapes. Try It
Digital Watch Faces
A “Digits” control lets you display either hours or minutes alone. See All Digits
Includes 20 color themes. Try It
(Also available in a desk clock version for any phone or tablet in horizontal orientation.)
Includes 8 colors. Try It
Low-State Watch Faces
A conventional digital clock communicates 1,440 different states: 2 meridiem periods (AM/PM) × 12 hours × 60 minutes. A 12-hour analog clock shows 720 states (and many more—or infinite—with a second hand).
I wanted to try communicating the time using the fewest states possible. I have concluded that 24 states are sufficient to be useful for most everyday timekeeping purposes.
These “low-state” faces reduce the hours information from 24 states to 2 by conveying only the hour parity: even or odd. Example: at 10:30 AM, these faces will only tell you that the hour is even. But your internal time sense can easily tell you that it’s not 8:30 AM, nor 12:30 PM.
Minutes information is reduced from 60 states to 12 by quantizing time to the nearest 5 minutes. I have chosen not to indicate the “last-passed” 5-minute mark, but rather the nearest one. So at :44 minutes, these faces indicate “about :45“ rather than “some time after :40.”
Approximating the minutes in this way still tells useful time—but it means that these low-state faces can be up to 2.5 minutes fast or slow at any given moment. The average error is half that—75 seconds—which is only 45 seconds worse than a perfectly-set digital clock. Digital clocks run slow 100% of the time. The time they display has always already passed, as much as 60 seconds previously (for clocks without seconds) and their average error is half that: 30 seconds.
(For the half-minute between 2.5 and 3 minutes past a 5-minute mark, these low-state faces may appear to be rounding incorrectly when compared to a digital watch. At 12:02:35, for example, a digital watch shows 12:02, making the nearest 5-minute mark seem to be 12:00. But these faces correctly round up to 12:05, which is the actual nearest mark.)
The center dot indicates the hour parity: when it is highlighted in the same contrasting color, the hour is odd. Otherwise, the hour is even. This example: “about” 9:10.
Includes 12 color themes, optional “triad” modes that highlight exact quarters, and both circular and full-screen shapes. Try It
Even-parity hours show a beast with a fish tail (2 points, aimed downward); odd hours use a devil tail (1 point, aimed upward).
Includes 9 colors. Try It
The left pair of minute bits tells the current quarter-hour. The upper bit means :30 and the lower bit means :15. Both added together is :45, and both off means :00.
The right pair adds either :10 (upper) or :05 (lower) past the quarter. Both off means an exact quarter-hour. One way to read the bits is simply to add them all together: :30 + :15 + :05 = 12:50 in this example. (The hour bit lit means any even-numbered hour.)
Just remember that the top 2 lights are :30 and :10, and the bottom 2 are half that. Quick Reference
An optional “Cave Mode” (sometimes with added labels as seen here) is an experiment to make use of the remaining 8 states. It provides precise-to-the-minute 24-hour time at 8 moments during the day. Just what you need deep underground!
The two quarter bits (left side) now indicate the hours quarter, 6:00 or 3:00 (hours past 12:00 AM). Both together add up to 9:00; both off means midnight: “zero past” 12:00 AM. The parity bit lights up for PM time (adding 12 hours past 12:00 AM). This example: 6:00 PM.
The dot’s vertical position is the hour parity: high for even, low for odd.
The horizontal position is the current minute quarter, progressing from left to right. At far left, the dot indicates :00. In the center, the quarter is :30. Left or right of center means :15 or :45.
The dot has 3 distinct sizes, adding :05 or :10 past the quarter when needed. The smallest size is used for exact quarters. A double-sized dot adds :05, and a triple-sized dot adds :10, as in this example: 2:40 (:10 past :30).
Includes 12 different styles and 9 colors. Try It
The timeline from left to right is 60 minutes long, and each dot is sized to equal 5 minutes.
Each of these faces is a tiny web page, because web pages are officially supported on Apple Watch. You start by sending a link to yourself in Messages or Mail, and receiving the link on your Watch. As a result, there are some quirks and disadvantages compared to the built-in watch faces: the top bar (with “Close” button) cannot be hidden, there are no complications, and the customization UI is a little awkward. (If you accidentally scroll the watch face, swipe up slightly and tap it to re-align.) Full support for third-party watch faces would be even better—you can request that feature from Apple.
The built-in instructions suggest setting “Wake Screen” to “Show Last App Always.” This is optional, but allows the custom face to be shown instead of the built-in face when you wake your watch’s screen.
You must choose whether to launch the face within Messages or Mail, since those are the only apps able to receive a web link and display it. I prefer using Messages, because using Mail causes your iPhone to check for new email when you view the watch. You may not wish to check for email that often.
You can dismiss or respond to incoming messages directly in the alert without losing your watch face web view. But if you enter the actual Messages or Mail app on the Watch and view a different thread, to get back to the web-based watch face you will need to return to the thread where you sent yourself the link. After time passes, that old thread may no longer be shown on the Watch—in which case, you can use your phone to copy and paste the same link to yourself again.
To return to the built-in face, simply click the Digital Crown. (Covering the Watch face—even when the screen is already off—can also revert to the built-in face.) You may wish to add a complication for Messages (or Mail) to the built-in face, so you can tap it to quickly return to the custom face.
These faces can also be used as desk or wall clocks, using an old iPad or iPhone in vertical orientation. On iPad, you can minimize distracting browser controls by using Dark Mode or Private Browsing mode. (Non-Apple devices may or may not work.)