Humism Rhizome Watch Review


Humism Dasein money shot

More than a few fellow cigar smokers are watch aficionados. They’ve admired pieces from the likes of OMEGA, IWC, Porsche Design and Rolex. None got the time or attention of the Humism Rhizome. The most common reaction: whoa! Whoa indeed. A reaction you can’t fully appreciate until you see the Rhizome in action . . .

The Humism Rhimzome’s three rotating discs create a constantly changing pattern that can only be described as deeply hypnotic. Not to flex (much), I should know. I was a professional hypnotist for 12 years. Although Humism classifies their watches as “kinetic sculpture for your wrist,” the Rhizome is a motorized hypnotist’s spinning wheel.

Humism Dasein on my 7 wrist

To initiate hypnosis, a hypnotist simply (or violently) instructs a subject to close their eyes. Alternatively, he tells the subject to stare at something: his finger, a light switch, anything. As the subject stares, the hypnotist’s suggestions and commands receive the subject’s undivided attention. The hypnotist makes suggestions/commands that lead the subject to close their eyes. The trance state begins. Well, deepens. But you get the idea.

The hypnotist’s spinning wheel adds a powerful element to this “point of eye fixation” hypnotic induction: it freaks people out. The image seems to grow, contract or both. The hypnotist capitalizes on the subject’s focus and confusion with suggestions/commands to get them to close their eyes. And away they go.

As hypnotists became “lie back and tell me about your mother” hypnotherapists, as stage hypnotists found the spinning wheel too unwieldy for group performances, the device fell into obscurity. The Humism Rhizome marks its welcome return. It’s a far more convenient – and just as effective – tool than the spinning wheel. As a few practice sessions confirmed.

Bike guy

Not on this guy! For the reasons mentioned above, I don’t think Singapore-based Humism’s going to sell a lot of Rhizomes to hypnotists. Which returns us to its ostensible purpose: telling the time.

Humism handlebar

Two small circles circumnavigating the spinning discs constitute the watch part of the program. The black, filled-in circle marks the hours, the skeletonized circle indicates the minutes. Slightly indented white indices mark the hours on the white rehaut.

Not that anyone notices or, frankly, cares. People who look at the Humism Rhizome – including its owners – are transfixed by the spinning dial – even after initial acclimatization. Think of the mosquito attracted to the light in A Bug’s Life.

Humism on wrist

A Seiko (SII) NH35A automatic powers the rotating discs and the relatively unimportant dots. It’s the upgrade to the micro-brand-friendly Seiko caliber NH25A. The Seiko engine’s a hand-windable, hackable workhorse, accurate to a not-entirely-impressive  -20 / +40 seconds per day. And you thought nothing could matter less than the dots.


To keep the price down, the Rhizome’s 11.4mm tall 316L brushed stainless steel case is generic in every regard, from its Goldilocks size (39mm) to its blocky lugs. Right answer. The last thing you want in this timepiece: anything that draws attention away from the dial.

Humism Dasein caseback

I suppose the exhibition caseback is a nice touch. It features a laser-etched rotor with a funky logo ‘n lines design. A solid caseback with Humism’s logo would have served just as well, if not better. The sofa-cushion-like vegetable-tanned leather strap accommodates 5.5″ to 8″ wrists – surrendering its last hole for the biker’s wrist. So to speak

Humism strap

The Humism Rhizome is the best conversation piece watch money can buy. For $298, the it’s a steal. Not that I’d suggest stealing anything, even though I could. Know what I mean?

Model: Humism Rhizome (available direct from manufacturer)
Price: $284


Case: 316L Surgical Steel
Glass: Sapphire Crystal with Anti-Reflective Coating
Case-back Glass: Sapphire Crystal
Diameter: 39mm
Thickness: 11.4mm
Movement: Seiko (SII) NH35A Automatic
Weight: 2.5 ounces
Strap: Italian, Full-Grain, Vegetable-Tanned, Quick-Release
Fits: Unisex. 5.5 to 8 inch wrists
Water Resistance: 5 ATM

RATINGS (out of five stars):

Design * * * * *
The best conversation piece watch money can buy.

Legibility * * *
The dots are an excellent solution to the challenge of incorporating time-telling, but it’s hard to look away from those discs.

Comfort * * * * *
As generic a 39mm watch as you’ll find. A feature not a bug.

Overall * * * * *

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  1. …okay, neat, but what if it also ~had lume?~

    I’m sure it doesn’t sell itself nearly as well in photos due to that whole staticity thing, but in stills it seems like it would actually work pretty decently as a watch.

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