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Japanese Paralympic athlete designs wristwatch for visually impaired

Athlete Kento Kato shows off the wristwatch with rotating balls on the face and sides of the clock that allow those with visual impairments -- or those without who want to be discrete -- to check the time via touch, in Saitama's Urawa Ward on Oct. 16, 2017. (Mainichi)

A limited edition Japanese model of a wristwatch that can be touched to tell time and was designed by a Japanese Paralympic athlete will go on sale on Oct. 24.

    Rotating ball bearings on the face and side of the watch produced by 31-year-old blind soccer athlete Kento Kato move like the two hands of a clock, and those with visual impairments can tell the time by touching the balls to confirm their positions. The watch is priced at 46,332 yen, and the wristband of the special limited Japan model is the dark blue color of the Japanese national team.

    The watch is manufactured by the U.S. clock company Eone Timepieces, Inc., and Kato became involved in advising the company on the design due to his love of the company's products. Using a portion of the profits from the watch, Kato plans to hold blind soccer events in his native Fukushima Prefecture for others to experience the sport.

    "The watch is also useful for those with sight when they want to discretely check the time," Kato said.

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