Title:
Timepiece hidden within jewelry body
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A timepiece having a decorative jewelry-like body defining a body cavity adapted to house a timekeeping portion and also provided a transparent cover in the form of gemstone, in one example. The timekeeping portion is hidden from plain view with the decorative jewelry-like body and time display is only visible when the time keeping portion is illuminated. In one example, the timekeeping portion is an LED watch works, which LED based digitals are normally off and thus invisible within the jewelry body and underneath the cover, and only visible when illuminated. In such an arrangement, the timepiece appears as jewelry to an observer as the time-keeping portion is hidden from view. Another embodiment of the timepiece is the ring that a button, located generally on or around the body of the ring, which may be accessed by a second finger on the same hand, preferably the thumb.



Inventors:
Gore, David R. (Aurora, CO, US)
Application Number:
10/947693
Publication Date:
03/23/2006
Filing Date:
09/22/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A44C13/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KAYES, SEAN PHILLIP
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DORSEY & WHITNEY LLP - DENVER (DENVER, CO, US)
Claims:
1. A timepiece comprising: a decorative housing defining a cavity with at least one window, with at least one transparent colored stone overlaying the window, the at least one transparent colored stone is selected from the group comprising an authentic gemstone, a synthetic gemstone and an imitation gemstone; a timekeeping piece having a display that portrays various data when illuminated in an active state, wherein the display is arranged under the window; wherein the decorative housing and the transparent colored stone encase the timepiece such that the display is hidden from plain view in an inactive state; and wherein the display is visible through the window and the transparent colored stone, while in the active state.

2. The timepiece of claim 1 wherein: the timekeeping piece comprises light emitting diode watch works; and the display comprises an arrangement of light emitting diodes configured to illuminate in patterns commensurate with at least the time.

3. The timepiece of claim 1 wherein the display comprises at least one light source that illuminates the display.

4. The timepiece of claim 1 comprising at least one activation component to toggle between the active state and the inactive state.

5. The timepiece of claim 4 wherein the at least one activation component comprises at least one of an authentic gemstone, a synthetic gemstone and an imitation gemstone.

6. The timepiece of claim 1 wherein said data comprises a time of day.

7. The timepiece of claim 1 wherein said data comprises a date.

8. The timepiece of claim 1 wherein the decorative housing is in the form of a jewelry necklace pendent.

9. The timepiece of claim 1 wherein the decorative housing is in the form of a ring.

10. The timepiece of claim 1 wherein the decorative housing is in the form of a bracelet.

11. A timepiece in the form of a jewelry bracelet comprising: a decorative housing defining at least two housing sections defining cavities and including at least one of a gemstone, synthetic gemstone and imitation of gemstone; at least one of the housing sections including at least one window with at least one of said stones comprising a transparent color stone overlaying the window; aid sections defining slots; a timekeeping piece comprising a plurality of timekeeping piece sections wherein at least one of the sections includes a display that portrays various data when illuminated in an active state; at least one hinge coupling the rigid sections, the hinge including an axle defining a slot therethrough; a cable arranged in the sections and the axle slot and electrically coupling one timekeeping piece section with another; and wherein the display is visible through the window and said transparent colored stone in the active state.

12. The timepiece of claim 11, wherein one of the timekeeping piece sections comprises LED watch electronics.

13. The timepiece of claim 11 wherein one of the timekeeping piece sections comprises a power source.

14. A timekeeping ring comprising: a substantially circular member: a housing coupled with the substantially circular member, the housing supporting a timekeeping piece having an activation component adapted to display time; wherein said substantially circular member is adapted to receive a first human finger therethrough such that a second human finger on the same hand may engage said activation component.

15. The timekeeping ring of claim 14, wherein said housing comprises a decorative jewelry housing.

16. The timekeeping ring of claim 15, wherein said decorative jewelry housing comprises at least one window and at least one transparent colored stone overlaying the at least one window.

17. The timekeeping ring of claim 15, wherein said timekeeping piece comprises a display that portrays various data when illuminated in an active state through activation of the activation component, wherein the timekeeping piece is arranged under the at least one window.

18. The timekeeping ring of claim 15, wherein said data comprises a time of day and a date.

19. The timekeeping ring of claim 15, wherein the timekeeping piece comprises LED watch electronics.

20. The ring of claim 15, wherein said second human finger is a thumb.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to the field of timepieces. In particular, aspects of the invention involve illuminated timekeeping pieces, typically referred to as “LED watches”, in combination with a piece of jewelry, such as a bracelet, ring, necklace or other decorative wear. The housing of the timepiece includes at least one piece of an authentic, synthetic gemstone and/or imitation gemstone arranged over the timepiece to hide it from view until it is illuminated. As such, the timekeeping piece comprises a display which is hidden from plain view while the timepiece is deactivated. As a result, the timepiece appears as conventional decorative jewelry. When activated, the display of the timekeeping piece reveals illuminated digits representing various horological data, such as the time of day, date or the like, or a combination thereof.

BACKGROUND

Conventional timepieces and jewelry are available in an extraordinary variety. Many timepieces are highly decorative and cross the line from purely functional time telling tools to jewelry. Oftentimes, gemstones, highly decorative faces, stylish arms, numbers and bands provide the decorative jewelry-like styling to the timepiece. While such jewelry-like features make a timepiece more desirable to many, the nature of the timepiece is not hidden from view. In many social situations, a timepiece, no matter how decorative, does not work with a person's sense of style. For example, a woman dressed in an evening gown may not wish to wear a watch as it would not suitably coordinate with the chosen attire, but would nonetheless desire to have a timepiece. Aspects of the present invention fill this gap by providing a timepiece fully disguised as jewelry.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

One aspect of the present invention provides for a piece of jewelry, such as a bracelet, ring, necklace or other decorative wear, in combination with a timepiece. Generally, the piece of jewelry may comprise at least one piece of an authentic stone, gemstone, synthetic gemstone and/or imitation gemstone, such as a ruby, emerald, sapphire, cubic zirconium or the like, or a combination thereof. The timepiece typically comprises at least one light source, such as, but not limited to, a light emitting diode (LED), an infrared emitting diode (IRED), a light bulb or any suitable source of light. In one aspect of the invention, the timepiece is hidden inside the jewelry housing and under the gemstone. When the timepiece is deactivated, it looks like a regular jewelry piece. When one wants to check the time and pushes the button to activate the timepiece, one can see the display through the transparent stone.

One particular aspect of the present invention involves a timepiece comprising decorative housing defining a cavity with at least one window. At least one transparent colored stone overlies the window. Further, the at least one transparent colored stone is selected from the group comprising an authentic gemstone, a synthetic gemstone and an imitation gemstone. The timepiece further comprises a timekeeping piece having a display that portrays various data when illuminated in an active state, wherein the display is arranged under the window. The decorative housing and the transparent colored stone encase the timepiece such that the display is hidden from plain view in an inactive state. Finally, the display is visible through the window and the transparent colored stone, while in the active state.

Another particular aspect of the present invention involves a timepiece in the form of a jewelry bracelet comprising a decorative housing defining at least two housing sections defining cavities and including at least one of a gemstone, synthetic gemstone and imitation of gemstone. At least one of the housing sections includes at least one window with at least one of said stones comprising a transparent color stone overlaying the window. The sections define slots. The timepiece further comprises a timekeeping piece comprising a plurality of timekeeping piece sections wherein at least one of the sections includes a display that portrays various data when illuminated in an active state. At least one hinge couples the rigid sections. The hinge includes an axle defining a slot therethrough. A cable is arranged in the sections and the axle slot and electrically couples one timekeeping piece section with another. Finally, the display is visible through the window and said transparent colored stone in the active state.

Yet another particular aspect of the present invention involves a jewelry ring comprising a decorative housing defining a cavity with at least one window. At least one transparent colored stone overlies the at least one window. A timekeeping piece having a display that portrays various data when illuminated in an active state through activation of an activation component is arranged under the window. Finally, the ring is adapted to receive a first human finger therethrough such that a second human finger on the same hand may engage said activation component.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front view of a timepiece in the form of a jewelry bracelet in combination with a timekeeping portion comprising an LED display in a non-active state, so that it is not visible, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a representative side section view of the timepiece of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a front view of the timepiece depicted in FIG. 1, wherein the display is in an active state and reveals illuminated digits;

FIG. 4 is a front view of a timepiece in the form of a jewelry ring in combination with a timekeeping portion comprising an LED display in an active state and revealing illuminated digits through a transparent colored stone, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a side view of the timepiece of FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a functional view of the jewelry ring in FIG. 4 being worn on the index finger of a human hand with the thumb being used to activate the LED display, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a front view of a timepiece in the form of a jewelry necklace in combination with a timekeeping portion comprising a display in an active state and revealing illuminated digits;

FIG. 8 is a front view of a timepiece in the form of a jewelry bracelet in combination with a timekeeping portion comprising a display and another timekeeping portion, each timekeeping section being housed in separate rigid sections of the bracelet, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a side view of the jewelry bracelet of FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a section view taken along line A-A of FIG. 9; and

FIG. 11 is a section view taken along line B-B of FIG. 10.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

One aspect of the present invention involves a timepiece disguised as a conventional article of jewelry, such as a bracelet, ring, necklace or other decorative wear. The timepiece includes a body housing defining a y cavity configured to hide a timekeeping portion from plain view except when activated. The timekeeping portion includes at least one light source, such as, but not limited to, a light emitting diode (LED), an infrared emitting diode (IRED), a light bulb or any suitable source of light. In a particular embodiment of the present invention, the timekeeping portion is an LED watch similar to the one disclosed in “LED Digital Watch with User Control of Display Timing and Brightness”, U.S. Pat. No. 4,207,734 to Moyer (herein “the '734 patent”), which is hereby incorporated by reference. Generally speaking the LED watch includes a display involving an arrangement of LEDs which, when activated in certain patterns, reveal illuminated digits representing various horological data, such as the time of day (e.g., hours, minutes, seconds), date (e.g., year, month, day of the month) or the like, or a combination thereof.

The timepiece may comprise a colored transparent stone, which may include at least one piece of an authentic, synthetic and/or imitation gemstone, such as a ruby, emerald, sapphire or the like, or a combination thereof. To disguise the timepiece as purely decorative jewelry, the transparent colored stone is arranged over the cavity housing the timekeeping portion. As such, the timekeeping portion is hidden inside the cavity under the transparent color stone. The transparent colored stone may have a particular tint(s) commensurate with the theme of the jewelry configuration. It is to be appreciated that in various embodiments of the present invention, the timepiece, pieces of jewelry and stones may vary in size, color and shape.

In one implementation of the present invention, the timekeeping portion has an active state and a non-active state such that the display is activated/illuminated and visible through the colored transparent stone or deactivated/unilluminated and hidden from plain view under the colored transparent stone. In particular embodiments of the present invention, a user may activate the display of the timekeeping portion by engaging at least one button located generally on or around the body of the timepiece. Furthermore, the at least one button may comprise an authentic, synthetic and/or imitation gemstone, such as a ruby, emerald, sapphire or the like, as an aesthetic augmentation to the overall appearance of the bracelet ring, necklace or other decorative wear.

FIGS. 1-3 depict one particular embodiment of the present invention involving a timepiece 10 in the form of a jewelry bracelet adapted to disguise a timekeeping piece. The timepiece has a body housing 11 that may comprise at least one side wall, such as if the side wall defines a closed curve, or a plurality of side walls. As shown in FIG. 1, the top side 12 of the body housing has a generally octagonal shape. Likewise, the side portions 13 of the body housings have a generally rectangular shape as shown in FIG. 2. The housing walls serve both as a protective barrier and as an aesthetic augmentation to the timepiece. As such, decorative gemstones 23 may be embedded or placed on top of or the sides of the body housing 11 for aesthetic purposes. The decorative gemstones 23 may comprise authentic gemstones, synthetic or imitation gemstones, or a combination thereof, such as rubies, emeralds, sapphires, or the like. The imitation gemstones may be made from solid and/or flexible transparent materials such as cubic zirconium, glass, plastic or the like. It should be appreciated that in various embodiments of the present invention the various sides of the body housing 11 and the gemstones may vary in size, color and shape.

The body housing also has at least one activation component, typically at least one button 29, located on or around the body housing 11. The at least one button energizes a timekeeping piece 15, such as LED watch works, including the electronics and display diodes used to keep and display time, or at least one light source associated therewith. Moreover, the button may comprise an authentic, synthetic and/or imitation gemstone, such as a ruby, emerald, sapphire or the like, as an aesthetic augmentation to the overall appearance of the bracelet, ring, necklace or other decorative wear. For instance, in a particular embodiment of the present invention, the decorative gemstones 23 may comprise an imitation ruby gemstones while the at least one button 29 may comprise a synthetic or imitation diamond gemstone.

It is to be appreciated that other suitable activation components may be used instead of buttons, such as plungers, gears, switches or other pieces capable of energizing the timepiece or a light associated therewith. Furthermore, the housing of the timepiece may comprise an encompassing flexible material, such as plastic, rubber or a composite thereof, which creates an airtight and/or watertight seal about the display and inner components of the timekeeping piece. The encompassing material is flexible such that when a user engages the button or plunger the housing maintains an airtight and/or watertight seal about the display and inner components of the timepiece.

The body housing 11 encases the timekeeping piece 15. A display 16 portion of the timekeeping portion is arranged below an aperture or “window” 33 in the top side 12 of the body 11. In some embodiments, the timekeeping piece comprises LED watch electronics and display diodes similar to those described in the '734 patent. One advantage of using LED watch electronics is that LEDs are self-illuminating and do not require additional light sources to emphasize data on their displays. The display of an LED watch generally comprises a set of etched or carved digits whereby each etching or carving resides over at least one LED. Upon activation, a combination of LEDs project colored beams of light through predetermined patterns of various etchings to portray desired data, such as the date or the time of day. Otherwise, when the LEDs are not activated, the display appears as a substantially uniform, typically black, surface. As a result, the LED display is hidden from view beneath the transparent colored gemstone 19 when not activated. Likewise, the LEDs are visible through the window 33 and the stone 19 when the LEDs are activated. Thus, in the unactivated state, the timepiece appears as conventional jewelry because no timekeeping functional components are visible or apparent, including the time display.

The at least one transparent colored stone may have a particular tint(s) commensurate with the theme of the jewelry configuration in order to create a suitable aesthetic appearance. In contrast to FIG. 1 where the digits on the display 16 of the LED watch 15 are not illuminated and thus not visible through the transparent colored stone 19, FIG. 3 shows the timepiece comprising the LED watch electronics with the digits on the display 16 of the LED watch are illuminated and thus visible through the transparent colored stone. The timepiece 10 also includes a band 25 connected to the housing 11 by hinges 27.

Referring again to FIGS. 1-3, the normal status of the display 16 is a non-active, “off” state. In the “off” state, the at least one light source 32 is not energized and, consequently, the display is not illuminated and is hidden from plain view. As a result, the timepiece 10 appears as a conventional piece of decorative jewelry. In contrast, FIG. 3 shows a front view of the timepiece 10 when the display 16 is in an active “on” state. Accordingly, when a user depresses the at least one button 29 located generally on or around the body housing 11, the status of the display changes from the non-active “off” state to the active “on” state. As such, the display remains in the “on” state for a brief period of time necessary for a user to adequately view the data on the display, generally three to five seconds. Alternatively, the display 16 may remain in the “on” state for only the same period of time as the at least one button 29 remains depressed. In the “on” state, the LED watch 15 or the at least one light source 32 is energized by a power source, such as, but not limited to, a battery, solar cell, or other suitable power means, and the display reveals illuminated digits representing horological data such as the time of day (e.g., hours, minutes, seconds), date (e.g., year, month, day of the month), or any other desirable information, or combination thereof. Typically, the digits are illuminated with a green, red or blue light source.

Referring to FIGS. 4 and 5, a front view of an alternative timepiece 30 of the present invention is shown. A a timepiece 30 includes a jewelry ring. The timepiece comprises a timekeeping piece having a display 16. The display is in an active “on” state with illuminated digits representing horological data such as the time of day, date, or other desirable information, or combination thereof. A transparent colored stone 19 is rigidly connected to a body 31 of the jewelry ring 30. The transparent colored stone 19, along with the body housing 31, encases the timekeeping piece and display 16 and may have a particular tint(s) commensurate with the theme of the jewelry configuration. Additionally, the ring has at least one activation component, such as a button, located generally on or around the body of the ring, which may be accessed by a second finger on the same hand, preferably the thumb.

FIG. 6 is a functional depiction of the timepiece in the form of a jewelry ring whereby the ring is positioned on the index finger of a human hand. As is evident in FIG. 6, the thumb on the human hand may conveniently access the activation button located on the ring to activate the display.

FIG. 7 is a front view of yet another embodiment of the present invention providing a timepiece 50 in the form of a jewelry necklace. Similar to the other disclosed embodiments, the timepiece in the form of a jewelry necklace including a timekeeping piece encased in a body housing. Likewise, the timekeeping piece comprises a display, whereby the display has an active “on” state with illuminated digits representing horological data such as the time of day, date, or other desirable information, or combination thereof, as shown in FIG. 7. The timepiece 50 comprises a chain 55 for hanging the necklace around a user's neck. It is to be appreciated that in various embodiments of the present invention, the timepiece necklace 50 and body 51 may have different sizes and shapes; for instance, but not limited to, the star of Magen David, as depicted in FIG. 7.

FIGS. 8 and 9 show an alternative embodiment of the present invention whereby a timepiece 60 is in the form of a jewelry bracelet and comprises rigid sections 11 and 52. The rigid sections are connected to one another and to the body of the bracelet by hinges 27. In this example, a timekeeping piece includes timekeeping sections 67 (battery) and 69 (electronics). The battery may be positioned with a body section 52 and the remaining watch works (e.g., the electronics and LEDs) located in the main body cavity 11. Such an arrangement allows the main body cavity to be a reduced size. One timekeeping piece section is encased in the body housing 57. Additional timekeeping piece sections may be embedded in the rigid sections 52 of the bracelet. As shown in FIG. 9, a timekeeping piece section is embedded in one or more rigid sections 52 adjacent the body housing 51.

FIG. 10 shows a section view taken along line A-A of FIG. 9 of a hinge 27 that connects a rigid section 52 to the body housing 51 of the timepiece. A flexible electrical cable 59 is threaded through a channel 61 in the axle 55 of the hinge 27 from the body housing 51 and into a rigid section 52. As such, the flexible electrical cable supplies power, and/or data, to the timekeeping piece sections that are embedded in the rigid sections. FIG. 11 shows a section view taken along line B-B of FIG. 10 of a hinge 27 whereby a timekeeping section 67, such as a battery, connected to a timekeeping section 69 by a flexible cable 59.

The hinge 27 provides a pivotal connection between adjacent rigid sections 52 or between the main body 51 and an adjacent rigid section 52. The main body has a slot 65, the section 52 has a slot 62. Additionally, the hinge 27 defines a channel 62 between adjacent sections. As mentioned above, the channel provides a conduit where a wire or cable may be placed to provide an electrical connection between a portion of the watch works (e.g., a battery) housed in a section 52 and a portion of the watch works (e.g., a circuit board and LEDs) housed in a second section 52.

The hinge includes a single pivot axle 53 defining an elongate slot 61 therein. The pivot axle 53 includes spring loaded (not shown) end portions and a center portion at a greater diameter than the end portions. In one embodiment, the main body defines two tines, each including a cylindrical recess adapted to receive the end portions of the axle. The adjacent rigid section 52 defines a cylinder adapted to receive the center portion of the axle.

The main body cavity and the adjacent rigid section each define slots (63, 65) arranged to align with the watch works section in the slot 61 in the axle. The cable is routed from within the main body 51 through the main body slot 65, through the axle slot 61, then through the slot 63 in the rigid section to the watch works section 67 within the adjacent section 52. As with the watch works hidden within the main body 52 beneath a transparent colored gemstone, any watch works within a rigid section 52 is similarly hidden under a transparent colored stone 19 and the body of the rigid section, when a display portion of the watch works is within the rigid section 52. However, in other embodiments, such as when a battery is positioned in a rigid section 52, it is not necessary to include a transparent colored gemstone.

It is to be appreciated that although a preferred embodiment of the present invention has been described with LED watch electronics, alternate embodiments of the present invention may utilize an analog display timekeeping piece, a liquid crystal display (LCD) timekeeping piece, or other timekeeping pieces with various display configurations, in conjunction with at least one light source. A conventional analog display may comprise an hour hand, minute hand, second hand, or a combination thereof, whereby the various hands extend radially from a centrally-located pivot on the display and rotate clockwise at fixed rates, continuous or discreet, about the centrally-located pivot. As a result, the relative radial positions of the hour, minute and second hands represent respective time measurements. Such timekeeping displays, such as analog or LCD displays, however, typically do not have self-illuminating capabilities and require additional light sources to emphasize data on their displays. Likewise, analog and/or LCD displays are typically visible in plain view without the aid of at least one additional light source. As a result, a substantially opaque cover is necessary to hide such displays from plain view when unaccompanied by at least one additional light source. However, the substantially opaque cover used in conjunction with the analog or LCD display must provide enough transparency to allow for visibility of the display when the additional at least one light source is activated. The at least one light source can be any one of known sources such as, but not limited to, an LED, an IRED, a light bulb or any suitable source of light.

Although the present invention has been described with a certain degree of particularity, it is understood that the present disclosure has been made by way of examples, and changes in detail or structure may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention as defined in the appended claims.