Guide + Video: Make Your Own NFC Watch from Spare Parts

We’ve all read the reports. The iWatch is coming! The Nexus watch is coming! The Galaxy watch is coming! Who needs em?

If you’re just wanting to unlock your phone from your watch (or pay for your bus travel, if you’re that sort of hacker), why would you wait for some large company to gouge you on price when you can build that functionality today, for almost nothing.

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I started with:

  1. A pocket watch I got on clearance from Hot Topic about 15 years ago (5$ new? 1$ at a thrift store?)
  2. A stretchy watch band from a thrift store (1$)
  3. An NFC Sticker (1$, ebay)
  4. Super Glue (1$, 99c store)
  5. A thin metal plate, 2″ square (1$, thrift store)
  6. Tasker, (3$, Google Play)
  7. Locale NFC Plugin (1.50$ on Google play)
  8. Screen-Off NFC Enabler for Note 2 (free, XDA)

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I started by affixing the NFC sticker to the faceplate, which I use to hold the shape of the stretchy watch band.

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I then glued the plastic backing from the pocket watch directly to the NFC sticker.

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From there, I push the watch mechanism and hands through the nfc tag itself.

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I then affixed the old pocketwatch glass dust protector to the front of the plastic face surrounding the NFC tag. I run the watch-setting mechanism out the side of the watch instead of the top, this orients the watch horizontally which I enjoy.

When I had it all set up, I started to super-glue things in. As usual, this is about where things started to go awry. Besides super glueing my fingers numerous times, I managed to frost much of the inside of the watch-glass with superglue residue. This makes for a pretty dirty looking watch, but it does the job.

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In the above video you can see I’m waking my device, unlocking, and jumping straight to my messages screen all by touching my wrist to my phone.

It’s pretty powerful stuff really, this NFC. Combined with Tasker it’s an awesome tour de force of futuristic functionality.

And that’s that. Bottom-line: I use tasker to unlock my phone with my watch, and I let potential thieves try to guess a 16-digit pin code.

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*Bonus! As your Metro bus pass is just an NFC card that lives in your wallet, use it to auto-jump to OneBusAway and always know when your bus is coming by just tapping your wallet. Fun!