Before there was an Apple Watch, Snake Plissken had a kind of smartwatch that tracked his health. He knew that if his watch hit zero before he could rescue the President of the United States, he could count on the explosives injected into his neck to go off.
But that’s not the point. What matters is that the countdown clock attached to actor Kurt Russell for the 1981 classic Escape from New York would make a really stylish smartwatch today. And you can now own one and wear it as if your president’s life depended on it.
The Lifeclock One is available on Kickstarter in all of its retro dystopian splendor. It’s brass, leather and bad-ass. It has a vintage digital display, but has several contemporary smartwatch functions, like a stopwatch, app notifications, push notifications, and date and world clock displays, step counting, even smartphone camera control.
It has a countdown timer but pairs with iOS and Android devices, rather than neck explosives. The first pledge level sold out on the first day but $399 will secure a Lifeclock One watch, scheduled for a May 2017 delivery.
John Carpenter directed the 1981 action film about an ex-special forces soldier, Snake Plissken, given 24 hours to rescue the president kidnapped after Air Force One was hijacked. Plissken was in prison for trying to rob the Federal Reserve and was forced into service by the police commissioner with ominous conditions: rescue the president to deactivate the explosives or die when time runs out.
Of all the movie gadgets that could be recreated, leave it to Jonathan Zufi to come up with this one. While some people get into trouble with spending whenever they search eBay, Zufi’s eBay searches tend to develop into big projects.
He was featured earlier this year in Cult of Macfor a beautiful coffee table book he photographed and produced showing a visual evolution of the history of Apple through its devices. Zufi got the idea when he went searching eBay for a working Apple II to play a game from his youth.
As he searched, he became enthralled with the vintage tech and soon began buying up rare Apple pieces then artfully photograph them for a self-published book that has sold more than 10,000 copies.
For the Lifeclock One, Zufi was watching a rerun of Escape from New York on TV a couple of years back. When the watch was first flashed on the screen, he decided to search for a replica on eBay. None existed so Zufi had to create one.
I was with SAP at the time and focused on applications of wearable computing for the enterprise and Apple Watch was also just coming on the scene,” Zufi told Cult of Mac. “So I started thinking about Snake’s watch and what it might look like it was remade for 2016.
“I caught the maker bug and decided to just build one.”
Zufi contacted Studio One for licensing rights and got its full support. He wears one for field testing, but leaves the eye patch to Snake.
With its first day on Kickstarter only half over Zufi had raised more than $15,000 toward a $200,000 goal.