Before Apple, American LED watch history

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Before Apple, American LED watch history

Post by koimaster » September 5th 2018, 1:30pm

Four Revolutions The Lost Chapter: A Concise History Of The LED watch

For one shining moment in the 1970s, America was a watch power again.

In May of 1970, 36-year-old John Bergey, head of research and development at Hamilton Watch Co., in Lancaster, PA, was a guest on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He was there to show Johnny not just a new watch that Hamilton had created, but a new kind of watch.

Called the Pulsar Time Computer, it was the world’s first digital watch. It was unlike any watch that Carson, or anyone else, had ever seen before. It had no hands or dial. Instead, it had a blank, red, rectangular computer-like “time screen” (Hamilton’s term), made of synthetic ruby, set in a gold cushion-shaped case. To tell the time, you pushed a button on the side of the case. Three (or four) red digits, indicating the hours and minutes, appeared on the screen for slightly more than one second and then blinked off. If you pressed the button longer, red seconds digits replaced the hours and minutes digits on the screen and then disappeared.

The watch was too weird for Carson. To Bergey’s horror, he declared, “This will never put Mickey Mouse out of business,” and tossed the gold timepiece over his shoulder.

Johnny’s verdict turned out to be right. Digital watches did not replace watches with hands, Mickey’s or otherwise. By the end of 1977, Hamilton had not only stopped producing Pulsars but had sold the Pulsar name.

Moreover, Pulsar’s battery-depleting, time-on-demand, light-up-display technology, known as LED (light-emitting diode), was soon replaced by a superior technology, LCD (liquid crystal display), which displayed the time constantly and is the standard for digital watches today. ... ed-watches


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