How to Build the Watchy E-Paper Smartwatch

A DIY smartwatch!
Britt Britt (156)
10 minutes

Finding ways to have private and secure technology in the modern world can be difficult. But it’s not impossible. While many people choose major brands like Apple or Samsung because of its compatibility with various applications and phones, there are plenty of smartwatches on the market to consider.

One of those is the Watchy created by Squarofumi! We’ve talked about this DIY e-Paper smartwatch before in our Best Smartwatches for Privacy and Security guide. The Watchy is an open-source smartwatch with an e-paper screen and powered by Arduino. It has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a 3-axis accelerometer, and found programmable buttons.

The hardest part about adjusting to this smartwatch is the actual process of building it. Because, in case you didn’t see above, it is a do-it-yourself watch! This guide will walk you through each step to building your own private (and cool) e-Paper smartwatch!

UGREEN Micro USB CableUGREEN Micro USB Cable ×1
Watchy Kit & CaseWatchy Kit & Case ×1

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assemble the watchy e-paper smartwatch

The Watchy Kit includes:

  • Assembled circuit board
  • Battery
  • Double-sided tape
  • Wrist strap
  • Injection-molded plastic case
  • E-Ink display

What’s not included is a micro-USB cable, which you will need to have in order to charge and connect the Watchy to a PC.

getting started guide watchy

While the package for Watchy does come with instructions, they’re merely pictures. I recommend downloading or bookmarking the Getting Started guide on the Watchy website. This includes all information you might need in order to assemble and run Watchy.

attach battery watchy smartwatch

The battery will easily plug right into the shown slot on the circuit board. Once you feel confident that the battery is connected, move on to the next step.

attach display screen watchy

Connect the display screen to the FPC connector. The shiny gold pins on the ribbon cable should be facing up, and the ribbon cable goes through the PCB slot like in the image above. Make sure to lock the ribbon in with the small locks located on the sides of the FPC connector.

While the instructions say to not use the included tape, I do recommend using it for those who are new to DIY tech. The case that will go around the Watchy components will be secure, however, it’s difficult to keep everything in place all at once. Thus, don’t be afraid to use the double-sided tape!

The screen should be placed so that it doesn’t extend above or below the strap holes; see the graphic below.

placement display screen watchy

Once you’re confident in your screen placement, you’re ready for the case!

attach case to watchy smartwatch
It will take some patience to get the battery aligned properly.

We’re going to deviate from the directions here, but don’t panic. Start by aligning the top part of the case around the display, as it needs more manipulation than the bottom.

Place the small plastic button pieces into their slots on the sides.

side of watchy case

Finally, snap the bottom half of the case into place, making sure that the USB port and buttons are snug. It will take some finagling to get everything into place (particularly the battery).

wrist strap watchy smartwatch

Pull the pin on the strap inwards (to the left) and align it to small holes located on the top and bottom of the case. The pin will snap locked once it’s in its proper place, the pin lock will be outwards (to the right) when complete.

You are now ready to charge, setup, and use the Watchy, e-Paper smartwatch!

If you're interested in more information on keeping your smartwatches secure and safe, check out this guide!

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