The Nostromo Crew Watch

Dallas's Watch

Screen capture from Alien, showing Dallas wearing two Casio F-100s strung together on the same watchband.

Several members of the crew of the USCSS Nostromo wear watches.  I have spotted Dallas, Ripley, and Kane wearing them.  Presumably it is a watch, but could easily represent some kind of wearable computer interface.  We never see anyone interacting with these props, they are simply wrist decorations, but considering their size, and the fact that they consist of two modules, I have come to the conclusion that they must be more than just a watch.  In any case, I need to make a pair of them for me and my wife for our DragonCon costumes.

Luckily, the type of watch has been identified:  The Casio F-100.  The Casio F-100 was apparently Casio’s first resin watch, released in 1977, and discontinued in 1979.  At the time, this watch sold for $39.95.(1) This seems pretty expensive for the 70’s.  I actually used a Calculator at the Measuring Worth website to find out how much this represents in 2013 dollars and it came up with a cost of approximately $158.00.  At the time, this was a pretty futuristic watch being made of resin, with an accuracy to 1/100th of a second, and four buttons of the front, so maybe the cost was justified.  The props used in Alien had two of these watches strung together on the same band with an orange rubber thingy (I’m breaking out the technical terms here) behind the two modules.

Casio F-100 Reference Photo

An original Casio F-100. Two of these were strung together on the same watchband to create the watches worn by the crew of the Nostromo.

This should be pretty simple to make right?  Well, not so fast.  The Casio F-100 isn’t quite so easy to come by these days.  I have been searching for this watch on eBay for a while, and while they show up occasionally, they do not come cheap.  I have seen prices anywhere from $90.00 for a beat up, scratched up example, to about $400.00 for a nice example.  Many times these do not have the watch band any longer, and the back cover has often been broken and repaired.  So, even if I found something in between these two extremes, we’re looking at about $400.00 to get two of these guys for just ONE Alien watch.  I can’t justify that expense for one, much less two of these props, so I have to come up with another option.  Luckily, I have a cunning plan…

My first thought was to make a mold and cast the four watches that I will need.  This would require an original from which a mold could be made, not to mention the molding and casting materials.  Again, this would be more investment in capital than I was hoping.  Then, after a little searching on the interwebs, I came across what I am hoping will be the solution:  Shapeways.  Shapeways.com is a 3D printing service that will print objects from user submitted 3D computer models.  My plan is to digitally re-create the Casio F-100 watch body and have four of them printed.  The idea is to strip the module out of a cheap digital watch and plop it into these 3D printed reproductions, giving me a much more economical version of these props!

Casio F-100 3D Model In Progress

The 3D model of the Casio F-100 watch in progress. This will eventually be 3D printed, have a digital watch module installed, and get a watch band.

I have been creating the wire-frame model using Silo 3D modelling software, and am hoping to have a model suitable to be printed soon.  At this point, it looks like I will have to cast the rubber backing piece out of silicon or something, but this is an easier proposition than casting the watches themselves.  Let’s see how it all turns out…

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4 Comments

  1. Stephanie Johnson

    I’m really impressed with your creativity! Can’t wait to see the finished project.

  2. I can’t wait to find out how it works either. I’ve never had anything 3D printed before, so it will be fun to see how it turns out.

  3. If this project is successful, would you take commissions? It would certainly help recoup some of your invested capital. You could even do a Kickstarter, or something similar. If you are going to be making them on order I would be very interested. Price dependent of course.

  4. I’m sorry for taking such a ridiculously long time to reply. I got distracted… But I am about to start picking some of these projects back up. The 3D printing service that I mentioned in the post allows you to add your creations to their website for others to have printed. If I can get it to work, I will most definitely make it available in that manner. No telling what the cost would be, but other things I’ve used their 3D printing service for have not been too expensive. I’ll keep updating this blog with any updates.

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