US 3786626 A
A digital watch in which the numerals move beneath windows of a cover plate and possessing a reflecting element for reading the time in a direction which is at least approximately parallel to the cover plate.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [19'] a Hurt Jan. '22, 1974 DIGITAL WATCH 75 Inventor: Zeno Hurt, Mohlin, Switzerland [561 mfmncs Cited  Assignee: AG'ON Uhrenfabrik RobertTriebold UNITED STATES PATENTS AG, Mumpf, switZm-land 2,430,616 11/1947 Pearson 58/127 R X  Filed: P 1973 Primary Examiner-George H. Miller, Jr. 1 App} 3 74 Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Werner W. Kleeman  Foreign Application Priority Data BSTRACT Ma 10 1972 Switzerland 6923/72 A digital watch in which the numerals move beneath y windows of a cover plate and possessing a reflecting lement for reading the time in a direction which is at 52' U.S. Cl. S8 88 R, 58 91, 58 127 R e Int. Cl" G04, 37/00, G64) 39/06 G04! 19/06 least approximately parallel to the cover plate.
 Field of Search 58/88 R, 91, 127 R 6 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures DIGITAL WATCH BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a new and improved construction of a digital watch or timepiece, especially a digital wrist watch, wherein the numerals move beneath suitable windows of a cover plate.
Such digital-indicating wrist watches are known to the art for quite some time. Just as is the case for watches with time indicators in the form of minute and hour hands, these digital watches are also very practical and quite attractive in shape. Reading of the time occurs however in a direction perpendicular to the dial or dial plane, which sometimes is not very comfortable. For instance, one need only consider the situation encountered with a person driving a vehicle where it is first of all necessary to rotate the arm in a cumbersome manner and in so doing oftentimes release control of the steering wheel when it is desired to look at the watch. Looking at the watch real quickly is not readily possible, and the fact that the driver is required to divert his attention from the traffic for a number of seconds can lead to dangerous accidents when considering the present day traffic conditions.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Hence, it-is a primary objectof the present invention to provide a new and improved construction of wrist watch of the previously mentioned type which, without theneed to twist or turn the wrist of the user, at which the watch is normally worn, can be simply and comfortably read.
It is another significant object of the present invention to provide an improved digital wrist watch having means for permitting reading of the watch in a direction at least approximately parallel to a cover plate of the watch.
Now in order to implement these and still further objects of the invention, which will become more readily apparent as the description proceeds, the invention contemplates a digital wrist watch which is equipped with a reflecting element for reading the time in a direction which is at least approximately parallel to the cover plate of the watch.
An advantageous construction contemplates providing as the reflecting or mirror element an optical inverting prism, the reflecting surface of which can be coated with a metal. To protect this prism such can be equipped with a cover hood. According to a further embodiment of the invention, the prism can also be designed in such a way that it simultaneously hermetically seals the watch. With a somewhat simpler construction of the watch of this development, it is possible to mount over the numerals a protective covering having a refleeting, planar inner surface inclined at an angle of 45 with respect to the plane containing the numerals, so that such images the numerals towards the outside.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The invention will be better understood and objects FIG. 2 is a schematic sectional view of the watch depicted in FIG. 1, on a different scale, and taken substantially along the line IIII thereof;
FIG. 3 is a view analogous to the showing of FIG. 2 but only in fragmentary illustration, and of a different exemplary embodiment of the invention; and
FIG. 4 likewise is a fragmentary view, corresponding to the showing of FIG. 2, of a further embodiment of the invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Describing now the drawings, the exemplary embodiment of watch depicted in FIG. 1 will be understood to comprise a housing 1 possessing a suitable design as concerns the demands of consumers at the particular time in question and this housing 1 will be seen to possess a rectangular cutout portion or window 2 at its central region. Through the cutout or window 2 there is visible the cover plate 3 situated therebelow together with both of its windows 4 and 5. Beneath the cover plate 3 there are arranged in conventional manner the numeral disks 6 and 7 for indicating the hour and minute respectively. In this case, however, the numerals are shown upside down, since they will of course be again inverted by the reflecting element so that they can be readily read.
Now in the embodiment depicted in FIG. 2, for instance, an optical inverting prism 8 which functions as the reflecting element, and here is shown as a rightangled prism, bears by means of one of its shorter sides directly over the windows 4 and 5 upon the cover plate 3. This optical inverting prism 8 has a cross-section in the form of an isoceles right-angle triangle, in other words, an isoceles triangle with perpendicular legs. By means of the prism 8 the bundle of light rays emanating from the numerals are deflected through an angle of 90 and simultaneously inverted, so that the numerals appear correctly positioned right side up and thus can be comfortably read in a direction parallel to the watch. For the purpose of protecting the prism 8 there is advantageously provided a cover'hood 9 which is connected with the housing lot can also be fabricated directly as one-piece with the housing 1, which is here the case.
The variant embodiment of the invention depicted in FIG. 3 shows a somewhat modified form of the deflecting prism 80. In this case, the prism possesses two additional surfaces 80a which are parallel to the cover plate 3 and which engage in a groove 2a formed at the housing 1. As a result there is firstly insured for better retention or holding of the prism 80 at the housing and, on the other hand, the housing itself is practically hermetically sealed with respect to the environment. For the purpose of improving the reflection properties and for the purpose of protecting the outer shape of the watch, the prism can also be coated with a thin metal coating 10.
A particularly simple construction of watch has been depicted in FIG. 4. Here, the recess 2 is covered at three sides by the cover hood 90, so that light can depart from the fourth open side. The cover hood possesses as the reflecting element a suitably machined planar inner surface 90a which is inclined at 45 with respect to the cover plate 3 and which reflects or images towards the outside the numerals. The recess 2 is covered by a thin, planar and transparent disk 20, so
that the inner space or compartment of the watch is adequately protected from the surrounding influences, such as dust and moisture.
Of course, the advantages of the different exemplary embodiments can be randomly combined with one another as desired, so that for each situation of use there can be attained a favorable and comfortable reading of the digital wrist watch. The inventive watch not only satisfies the requirement of ease in reading the watch, but also considerably contributes to prevention of traffic accidents.
- While there is shown and described present preferred embodiments of the invention, it is to be distinctly understood that the invention is not limited thereto, but may be otherwise variously embodied and practiced within the scope of the following claims. Accordingly,
What is claimed is:
1. A digital wrist watch comprising a cover plate with windows beneath which move past the numerals of the watch, and a reflecting element for reading the time in a direction at least approximately parallel to-the cover plate.
2. The watch as defined in claim 1, further including a protective cover means arranged over the numerals and at least pervious to light at one side, said protective cover means incorporating a planar, reflecting inner surface visible from the outside and inclined with respect to the cover plate.
3. The watch as defined in claim 1, wherein the reflecting element comprises an optical inverting prism having a surface bearing directly upon the cover plate.
4. The watch as defined in claim 3, wherein said inverting prism is constructed such that it simultaneously hermetically seals the watch towards the outside.
5. The watch as defined in claim 3, wherein said inverting prism includes a surface which is visible from the outside, and at least a part of said surface having a metallic coating. t
6. The watch as defined in claim 3, further including a cover hood member for protecting the inverting prism.