This is a multipart instructable. The development board presented here is not a final project, but draft work presented in hopes of helping others (and possibly some collaboration towards a better final project).
Two ultra fabulous nixie watches currently grace the web. The first was created by Jeff Thomas ( http://www.amug.org/~jthomas/watch.html
). This watch has four small end-view tubes for time display. The nixies are powered using a camera flash circuit and an AA battery. Two button cells power the clock logic. This watch is logic based, and does not contain a microcontroller. David Forbes at the Cathode Corner has the only nixie watch currently available for sale ( http://www.cathodecorner.com/nixiewatch/
). This watch uses two small side view nixies to display the time. Time keeping is done on a PIC microcontroller. High voltage for the nixie tubes is provided by a boost converter IC and transformer. This watch is powered by a single 'CR2' lithium camera battery.
Both of these designs employ much surface mount mojo. Consider the picture of Jeff's nixie watch: seven surface mount ICs and a dozen or more surface mount transistors. The goal of this instructable is to create a prototype 'poor man's' nixie watch using as few surface mount components as possible. In Part 1:Development Board, we will consider various design problems while creating an all through-hole version of the nixie watch. Part 2: Surface Mount Mojo, will present the final design incorporating a few surface mount components to save space.