BetaBoston

Eone’s Kickstarter of a watch for the blind and the busy breaks $220,000

MIT startup Eone Timepieces has rocketed past a $40,000 Kickstarter fund-raising goal just five days into the campaign, with orders for its blind-accessible wristwatch now exceeding $220,000.

The overwhelming interest in the watch, which allows wearers to tell time using their sense of touch, comes as a relief to founder Hyungsoo Kim, who had been unable to attract funders and was running on the fumes of a $150,000 personal investment.

The surprisingly high demand is also a bit daunting, Kim confessed.

Advertisement—Continue Reading Below

“It’s making me quite nervous, to be honest,” said Kim, whose company was featured in the Globe’s Friday business section. “It’s something that we didn’t really expect. Now, we feel like we really cannot make any mistakes at this point.”

Customers have ordered almost 2,000 watches so far, more than five times the batch of 350 that Eone planned to make and ship to buyers by November. A second, larger batch will be ready in December, Kim said.

Eone’s watch, named the Bradley after Paralympic swimmer Bradley Snyder, uses ball bearings in place of traditional hands to mark the time. A magnetic field pulls the bearings back into place if the wearer moves them while checking the time.

The company hopes sighted customers will buy the Bradley too, and use it to discretely check the time in situations where it may be rude to glance at a watch or mobile phone.

With a sudden influx of cash, Kim said he plans to bring aboard designers David Zacher and Amanda Sim as full-time employees. The team’s next project is an alarm clock that blind users can set using only their sense of touch.

Thanks to Eone’s breakout success on Kickstarter, the company already is in talks with blind chef Christine Ha about naming a new timepiece after the season-three winner of Fox’s “MasterChef.” Kim said he is an admirer of Ha’s and was amazed to receive an e-mail Monday from her husband, who had just ordered a Bradley through Kickstarter.

“He said, ‘Let us know if there’s anything we can do to promote this timepiece,’ ” Kim said. “So I’ve e-mailed with Christine about the alarm clock, and she’s interested.”

Share