Look Ma... No Hands. Or Numbers: The Abacus Watch Collection

You may have seen some of these watches on design sites, blogs or in designer watch stores, ever wonder how they work? I did. So, I did a little research and found more designs than I knew existed. Those available outside of the US seem to vary from those available here. For example, the Abacus 1 series on the Laco site has either the Abacus logo on the face or dashes or dots. Whereas the Abacus 1 series on the Questo site is far more minimal, and has little round divets or is completely plain.

Regardless of the style, all are available for purchase with prices ranging up to $245.00 USD.

Below is information garnered from the manufacturers site, the Erich Lacher Watch Company (you can read some history about them here) as well as from one of their biggest distributors, Questo Design.

The translation is clearly wonky, so forgive the random initial caps and screwed up prepositions.

The Designer:

Above: The designer Roy Schäfer developed the ABACUS.

The conscientious reduction of the object to its central meaning. His love to old chronometers created the desire of a new interpretation of time by means of a watch. The ABACUS watch was developed on the basis of this idea of the designer Roy Schäfer (born 1967). He strictly followed the design principle "Reduce to the max." His impulse: “This process of making thoughts turn to products, gives me much pleasure and is the motor of the development of new items.”

Above left :The ABACUS logo on the stainless steel back of the watch. Above right: Unmistakable characteristic of the ABACUS 1: The ball-shaped crown.

How Does It Work??
The time is indicated by a very small metal ball placed on the face of the watch, which moves freely, depending on the wearer's movements. Nevertheless, whenever the watch is kept in a horizontal position, the ball moves "by magic" to the position that indicates the exact hour.

This is possible due to the fact that the device incorporates a high-grade quartz movement system, which, with the help of some magnets, moves the ball across the face of the watch. The face is quite resistant, too, since it's manufactured either from mineral or sapphire glass. Moreover, the device sports a stainless steel case, a high-quality leather strap and is also water resistant to a depth of 30 meters.

The classic product: the ABACUS 1 for women and men.
Since this innovative watch appeared in the market in 1999, it can take pride in a permanently growing group of devotees. Meanwhile, there also is an ABACUS version for women, so that also women can enjoy the game of time. The ingenious packaging of the ABACUS enhances the individual character of this designer watch.

The ABACUS 1 impresses by its clear design in form and function. It has its own and special way of playing with the definition of time. With its high quality quartz movement and its typical optical features, it will become the distinctive companion on your time journey. Reliable, precise, and with an unmistakable individual standard.

The Abacus 1 Series as seen on the Laco site:

and the more minimal designs as seen on The Questo Design Site:


ABACUS 2. New design of the classical ABACUS idea.

A sophisticated design from dial to strap: The ABACUS 2 consequently continues what was begun in 1999 with the original ABACUS. A completely unique design for a watch which still is to find its match.

A Swiss quartz movement guarantees precision. The high-quality processing Made in Germany does not make any wish go unfulfilled in the game of time. The time dot is a symbol of the fixed status of the ball, whereas the free rolling of the ball on the dial describes the time space.

The Abacus 2 series :

The watch with the Abacus logo on the face is only available here.

Abacus 2, the details:
With this watch, nothing was left to chance: The ABACUS 2 convinces by its elaborate design. And, as another thing to be mentioned, by meticulous handicraft. The Swiss quality quartz movement and the ball on the dial are protected by a stainless steel case and a sapphire crystal. It is almost a matter of fact that the ABACUS is water resistant down to 20 meters.

•The strap buckle of the ABACUS 2 expresses the new ABACUS design. The belonging strap is made of soft, fine-grained calf leather

•The game with time: If the watch is held in horizontal position, a magnet makes the freely movable ball indicate the time.

•Form and quality also at the reverse side: The crown is countersunk and therefore invisible from above; the stainless steel back with the ABACUS logo is screwed on by hand.

•Elaborate even in the last corner: The ABACUS 2 is equipped with a patented strap fixation. The high-quality leather strap is fixed directly in the case.

And the Abacus TbtT series:

The TbtT Abacus series is made of stainless steel and comes with a silver, black or gold face.

The packaging below:

Where to buy?
Buy them here.

Or here.
Or the largest selection here.

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