What is a term or phrase to describe a timekeeping device that uses a digital display medium to show the time by displaying hands, dots, or other indicators like an analog clock would?

Examples: enter image description here


More modern example: enter image description here

  • 1
    It is a bit of a conundrum. The watch has an analog display but a digital mechanism. – Hot Licks Dec 25 '18 at 13:43
  • @HotLicks, strictly speaking, the display of such a device is not really analog, because its 'hands' move step-by-step, rather than continuously (which would be analogous to the flow of time). – jsw29 Dec 26 '18 at 17:10
  • @jsw29 - But the display represents an analogy of the motion of the sun (sorta). – Hot Licks Dec 26 '18 at 18:02

It's tempting to call it a simulated analog watch but, strictly speaking, it is still an analog watch.

Analog watch The name refers to the design of the display, regardless of the timekeeping technology used within the watch. - wikipedia

| improve this answer | |
  • 3
    The term hybrid watch might fit if there are options to toggle between digital and analog display. – BiscuitBoy Mar 1 '16 at 7:18
  • NOAD also backs you up, defining analog as: analog (adj.) (of a clock or watch) showing the time by means of hands rather than displayed digits. Also, I’d be tempted to call it a digital analog watch. – J.R. Dec 25 '18 at 12:33

This design method is called a


Pronounced /'skju ə morf/, it is a usually decorative design pattern that is in imitation of a prior, possibly necessary pattern.

The method is found all over any kind of design that allows decoration: architecture, graphic design, computer interface.

For example, neoclassical pillars aren't solid rock or even load bearing yet they are designed to look like ancient columns. Lots of features on ancient Greek temples, like plinths, socles, mutules, and modillions are decorative to evoke (non-functionally) wooden structures in prior Greek building design.

Some ring tones on smartphones are made to sound like the actual physical bell ringing on older phones.

Currently the 'save file' icon is patterned after a 3 1/2 in disk which no one uses anymore.

So mimicking the hands of an analog clock in a bit pattern picture on a screen is a kind of skeuomorph.

The word itself is a modern invention though, coined by an archaeologist in the late 1800's (noticing the pattern with Greek architecture). It is made of Greek roots roots 'skeu-' meaning vessel, and '-morph' meaning 'form'.

| improve this answer | |
  • I don't believe that this is a skeuomorph, it is a geniuine choice of display type. There are occasions where a rotating pointer display is easier to read than a numerical display as it gives a clearer indication of the passage of time. A skeuomorph in this case would be the decoration of the 'hands' with a circular boss at the centre with concentric circles on it in emulation of the rings at the ends of the hands. – BoldBen Dec 26 '18 at 19:08

They used to be called Liquid Crystal Analog (LCA) displays. I haven't found a term or acronym for the equivalent LED based displays.

| improve this answer | |

Due to their uniqueness they have been called many things but most common is probably "Digital Hands" Watch

Made by Gucci


Kessel and others

enter image description here

For the latest smartwatch with choice of digital hands mode
looks just like an analogue see TAG Heuer Connected Image

Watch this video of this amazing Intel powered wearable https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNqJcQh8Kl0

| improve this answer | |
  • Seems like if it were "digital hands" they would be showing us the fingers. – Hot Licks Dec 26 '18 at 1:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.