Obsidian: A Usable and Elegant Analog Watch Face for the Pebble Time

Update (2018-08-09): I have been informed that the Pebble app store is no longer accessible. Thus, I'm making the watchface available directly from this site, see below for instructions on how to install.

Update (2016-06-18): Obsidian now also supports weather information, see the corresponding blog post about it. All screenshots here have been updated to include weather information.

Update (2015-11-30): Obsidian now supports the original Pebble and the new Pebble Time Round. See the end of this post for more.

I have written a watch face application for the Pebble Time that I call Obsidian and I'd like to introduce it here. The main goal behind Obsidian is to put utility and practicality above all else, and only attempt to improve aesthetics if it does not interfere with that goal. Some of the main features are simplicity, high contrast colors and a date display that is never obstructed by the watch hands.

Obsidian watch face

In fact, the reason I wrote the watch face in the first place was my frustration when I used other analog watch faces and wasn't able to tell today's date, just because it was 3:14 pm (this caused the watch hands to cover the date display as it would on traditional watches). Instead, I've chosen to move the date a little if necessary in Obsidian1, so that it is visible no matter the position of the watch hands.

The date is always visible on the Obsidian watch face

Another important aspect for a smartwatch is to warn the user if the connection to the phone is lost (or regained). Obsidian does this through two short vibrations, followed by a message on screen that is shown for five seconds. After that, the message disappears and only a small icon remains to keep the watch fully usable even without a smartphone connected2.

Bluetooth indicator and message popups

The Pebble Time has a surprisingly long battery life compared to other smartwatches, but at some point it will need to be re-charged, too. To not miss that point, Obsidian has a small battery icon in the top right corner, and turns the background yellow, orange and finally red as the battery level reaches 30%, 20%, and 10%, respectively.

Low battery warnings


I like the default settings, but I acknowledge that not everybody has the same preferences as I have, which is why I made most aspects of the watch face configurable. It's possible to change any color, hide the battery or Bluetooth icons and not vibrate upon losing the phone connection. Here are a few examples of the possibilities:

Different appearance settings

Downloading Obsidian

Pebble's app store is no longer functional after the company shut down. Instead, download the installation file here: obsidian-3.6.pbw, then install the file on your smartphone.

Furthermore, it is open source and available on Github, where you can also see more screenshots as well as an overview of all available settings. Feel free to give it a try, and let me know what you think!

Updating Obsidian for Aplite and Chalk

(added on 2015-11-30) Pebble offers smartwatches of three different hardware platform. They started with the original Pebble (aplite platform), which was slightly larger and black-and-white only. They then added the Pebble Time (basalt platform), for which Obsidian was originally written. Recently the Pebble Time Round (chalk platform) got added to the collection, which is a round smartwatch that is thinner and lighter. Since writing this blog post, I've added support for all three platforms to Obsidian. Because Obsidian is an analog watch face, it looks great on Chalk:

Obsidian watch face on Chalk

On Aplite, Obsidian looks a bit boring, because only two colors are available. Additionally, the drawing APIs are more limited and don't support anti-aliasing, making edges look a bit rough.

Obsidian remains fully configurable on all platforms.

  1. The name Obsidian is a type of rock and thus a play on Pebble. 

  2. Of course, the Bluetooth icon also cannot be covered by the watch hands, in case you wondered. 

Questions or comments? Send me an email or find me on twitter @stefan_heule.