We review a crazy amount of watches at GearJunkie. And while traditional analog watches have their place (so do digital watches and tracking watches), one new watch particularly stands out.
The Eone Apex Salas sport watch, announced last month, features a set of circular tracks; one in the center of the watch face indicating hours and one around the outside edge for minutes. A single ball bearing moves around each track, similar to watch hands, so wearers simply trace their fingers across the piece to tell time. The system is magnetized, which keeps the ball bearings in their respective rings, even while kicking up gravel on your bike or clipping on chains at the top of a climb.
“It’s extremely utilitarian. It’s accessible. And it looks hella good,” said Justin Salas, an American climber who won the 2018 Paraclimbing World Championship and is the five-time National Champion. He’s been blind since age 14.
Salas put the watch through about a year of testing, making sure the ball bearings, tracks, titanium (and ceramic) face, reflective band, and quartz movement mechanisms could stand up to an active lifestyle.
“I’ve had it in the desert with a lot of sand, climbing in that environment with chalk and sand and smacking it on rocks,” said Salas. Though, its water resistance is only 3 ATM, or splashproof. So, while this is not the watch for your next kayaking trip, it holds up well in the mud and light rain, said Salas. In his testing, it also proved to handle small bits of debris in the ball bearing tracks, which are easy to clean if it’s been a particularly epic day.
Eone Apex Salas: Next-Level Tactile Watch
The Apex Salas is Eone’s fourth and sportiest watch collection to date. But, the company’s inaugural timepiece was also inspired by a para-athlete. The Bradley, which debuted the brand’s ball bearing concept, was named for six-time gold-winning Paralympic swimmer Bradley Snyder. When The Bradley was released, Salas was so taken by its thoughtful design, he reached out to Eone. And when the company sought to create a sportier counterpart for its original, it enlisted Salas as its guide.
The collaboration resulted in a watch that bears mechanical similarities to The Bradley, but is distinguished by an even higher standard of accessibility, and sport — specifically climbing — durability.
Easier-to-Feel Hour & Minute Indicators
Certain neurologic conditions, old age, and rock climbing calluses can all decrease finger sensitivity. So, Salas pushed for larger raised indicators on the watch face, making it more accessible for those with decreased sensitivity in their fingertips, as well as climbers with callused hands. Similar adjustments were also made to the ball bearing and track system.
Flow State Fit, Single Band
“I didn’t want to feel the watch when moving, trying to be in a flow state,” said Salas. “I didn’t want to have to think about the fact that something is on my wrist.” Trying to make sure the wearer feels the watch as little as possible, The Apex Salas is equipped with a soft polyester continuous elastic band.
The Apex Salas has a single wristband and hook. You’ll have to size it to your wrist, but then you’re set to easily take it off and on in the future without messing with adjustments or buckles — increasing usability for wearers with one arm, or upper-limb differences. Eone not only made this tactile watch purely for one type of paraclimber or para-athlete, but for all.
Finally, the reflective design on said wristband is inspired by the high visibility material found on white canes. Its aesthetic oozes accessibility, with a unique athletic vibe than other sport watches on the market.
Pricing & Availability
Currently, the watch is only available to athletes and general consumers in the U.S. and Canada. The watch is priced at $395, with $50 from each sale going to Oklahoma nonprofit New View.
For Justin Salas, the creative process with Eone is an example of how product development should work: “accessibility seamlessly molded into design,” he said. “When you implement accessibility into design from the ground up, it’s always going to be more beautiful,” because there’s been “a tangible necessity to make it ever so different.”
If you want to learn more, check out Salas and the new timepiece in Eone’s short film “The Blind Ascensionist”.