So I have been working on and off on a micro-sized reticulation controller that has a real-time clock and work with ESPhome and Home Assistant. It is small enough to put inside an existing old retic box so you can connect it up to WIFI and to Home Assistant. Also, it can be installed in an enclosure and installed as a new controller too. So Have I have made two different versions and have tested them at my place and found them to be very good. The only problem with version 2 is it uses the ESP32-C3 which will eventually be perfect, but at the moment does not work with a lot of libraries, so practical features are missing and usage is hit and miss at the moment. Because of this in version 3 I have moved to the ESP32 PICO in the form of the M5 Stack Pico and maybe in the future, I will integrate the ESP32 directly to the board with no module at all.
In addition version 3 that I have started working on needs a new real-time clock as the previous DS3231 with an integrated crystal is not available and if it were now very expensive at around $17, when I started I bought a stack for $3 each. I have sourced a quantity of the new MAX31328 a very small 5mm x 5mm LGA 10 pin RTC with crystal integrated for a much better price. I almost dropped the clock but didn't because I really want the controller to not need a network connection to operate, so it can go anywhere and could be controlled via Bluetooth as a stand-alone device or connected if you wish.
As soon as a prototype is available lookout for a video on my YouTube channel which may include future plans for this handy little device.