Introduction: Homemade Nixiewatch!

Hi guys,

The last year or so I was doing a hobby project of a nixiewatch. I was wondering what you guys think of it.

I can make them to order if you want. Just send an email to

It features:

- Two small nixie tubes of type z5900m.

- Accurate real time clock.

- Calculations showed that 350 hours standby time was easily achievable.

- Bluetooth for controlling settings and setting the time of the watch as well as seeing the battery status.
- Some Bluetooth settings include: Animation On/Off, Manual or accelerometer triggering of tubes, background led On/Off. Programmable button for seeing temperature of battery percentage.

- Accelerometer for triggering the tubes when wrist is turned

- 300 mAh battery.

- Powerfull microcontroller.

- Ultra low power microcontroller.

- RGB led for multiple purposes.

- Battery gas gauge IC for accurately monitoring the battery state.

- micro USB for charging the battery.

- One multi direction button for triggering, Bluetooth connection and a programmable button for temperature reading or battery status.

- CNC milled housing from Aluminum.

- Plexiglass window for protection

- Bluetooth phone application.

- Optional time synchronization via WiFi.

- Optional Vibration motor to indicate smartphone notifications like Whatsapp, Facebook, Snapchat, SMS...

First the hours then the minutes are shown.

The software for the MCU on the watch is written in C++, C and assembler.

The software for the app is written in xamarin C#.

Please leave a comment with your toughts.


Step 1: Electronics

Being an electronics student I found it very interesting to design the electronics part of the watch it took me the most time about 8 months of work on and off.

Low power design was needed.

Small antenna design which i never did turned out to be quite easy.

1. Designing the electronics and PCB layouts taking the housing as a 3D part in the process.

2. Getting the components on the PCB's I did this by hand and reflowed them after.

3. Testing.

Step 2: Aluminium Housing

The housing was taken as a part of the electronics design. I wanted to make the housing as small as possible. so whilst designing the electronics I had the houding in mind.

1. Started by 3D printing the housing too see if the electronics fitted.

2.After that I had too learn my self how to create CNC programs.

3.Got the housing CNC milled.

4. Milled some remaining aluminum by hand.

5. Finished the housing by drilling holes, getting plexiglas laser cut, creating a button.

6. I still want to get the housing anodized but cant find someone who does that yet. Maybe I will try it myself then.

Step 3: Bluetooth Smartphone App.

As part of my study we had to create an app. So I thought creating the app for the nixie watch. The app was written in xamarin from Microsoft language is C#.

I had to create the app in dutch unfortunately.

But basically there is a connection tab which shows the found nixie watches. After that the settings from the watch are downloaded. These settings are saved on the watch. A tab to synchronize the time manually or automatically by getting the time from your smartphone. A tab to change settings of the watch. and last but not least a status tab which shows the battery status.