Wearing My Pebble I Am Dick Tracy

The image is iconic. Dick Tracy, arm bent, wrist up, gazing at his “TWO-WAY WRIST TV.” Just in case you’re wondering what in that picture might be a “TWO-WAY WRIST TV,” cartoonist Chester Gould has added an arrow.

The wrist TV didn’t exist in the 50s and 60s when Detective Tracy wore his&#185. It was just beyond the reach of our technology. We knew stuff like that would be possible, one day.

I am currently wearing one of the first rudimentary, practical implementations Dick’s accessory. I am wearing the Pebble.

Maybe you’ve heard about this geeky toy I bought? It was a Kickstarter project looking to raise $100,000. If financed, they offered the watch for $115.

The $100,000 goal was quickly reached. In the end $10,000,000 was pledged and, of course, every one wanted a watch. Even me.

The watch was due in September. September came and went as did the rest of the fall and most of the winter. Pebble’s avalanche of cash and orders changed the logistics of the operation overnight. Mass production at this level was never anticipated.

The watch came last week and I’ve been wearing it a lot. It’s a very cool watch.

It’s probably a little thicker than it should be. It’s deeply black and stylishly smooth. That makes up for some of the girth.

It feels solid. It feels well put together.

It claims to be waterproof to “5 atmospheres.” That’s 165 feet, right? I’ll take their word for it.

The display is always on. Think electronic paper. If there’s light to read, there’s light to read this display. Bright sunlight is no problem.

In a dark room or outside at night just flick your wrist or press a button and a small backlight comes on. The light’s also on when the watch displays messages… but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Because the watchface is just a bunch of pixels on a screen it’s easy to change the watch’s look. I choose to have the time displayed as words. Right now it’s:


The watch is Bluetooth equipped and tethers to a smartphone. That makes the watch smarter.

The cellphone keeps the watch absolutely on-time. It’s also used to download apps. Yeah, the watch runs apps. There are few so far. I have faith.

Any time a text or email message arrives the watch vibrates, the backlight comes on and the message (or a small snippet) appears on the screen.

The vibrating is why the watch can’t be left on a hard surface, like a nightstand or dresser, at night. That’s from personal experience. It woke me up! Putting it on the carpet seems to solve the problem.

There is no speaker or microphone. The battery lasts seven days and is recharged through a magnetically attached plug.

What do you think? Is it too dweeby?

&#185 – Dick Tracy was first drawn in 1931. The first public demonstration of TV wasn’t until 1939 at the New York World’s Fair.

9 thoughts on “Wearing My Pebble I Am Dick Tracy”

  1. Got mine same day as you Geoff. One problem, static like horizontal lines thru display whenever I touch buttons. Goes away but problematic. Still waiting on response from Pebble. I do like how easy it is to place a support call, enter it via the app on your phone and it also sends over all the log files. (I hope that is all it is sending over)

  2. Practically speaking, a 5 ATM rating means it is better than minimally water resistant; but it is not water proof. Technically, no watch can claim to be waterproof. No worries washing dishes, walking in the rain, while taking a shower or splashing in shallow water. But, you wouldn’t want to do any extended swimming or snorkeling while wearing it. 10 ATM recommended for swimming and 15 ATM for snorkeling. 20 ATM for light scuba diving. Despite the 5 ATM rating, I don’t think you’d want to wear it in the pool, just to be safe.

  3. Geoff, I’m so envious. As a child, I was envious of Dick Tracy, too. I even made a fake “TWO-WAY WRIST TV” out of a matchbox. I love technology, and I yearn for every gadget as they become available. I thought about getting a Pebble, but I couldn’t justify the price. I’ll try to wait, but maybe someone will take pitty on me and give it to me for my BD. Please post any problems or snags you might encounter, and you can be our guinea pig.

  4. That looks so cool. Hoping you early adopters will make the price come down for those of us who wish we could be, but can’t afford it.

  5. I may be dating myself, but didn’t Dick Tracy start out with a 2-way wrist radio, then upgrade to a 2-way wrist TV as technology improved?

  6. Not dweeby at all. I think it’s mondo cool!
    Reading your article I was remembering the original digital watches of the early ’80s. Remember how clunky those were in the beginning? And how expensive? And the tiny red display?
    I imagine this will follow the same evolution. I always knew that the 2 way wrist TV would become reality some day.
    Wish I could afford cool stuff like that.

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