Jan 3, 2015

"Watch" me now! The new fangled digital watch craze

Growing up in the 80s was an amazing experience.  So much technology was being thrown at us, and digital watches were one of the many wonders that excited me to no end.  When I was perusing the watch section at the store the other day, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they are still making Casio digital watches, and.. they don't look too much different than the varieties of Casio watches I owned as a kid back in the 80s.

I graduated to digital watches around 1980 when I felt my Mickey Mouse watch was a little to "kidsy" for me.  My uncle gave me a Hewlett Packard digital watch with red LED numbers that burned bright red with a simple push of a button.  After that watch broke, my old man bought me a Pulsar digital watch that I adored, and I ended up wearing it out rather quickly.

As the years passed, I owned many digital watches with all kinds of great functions. I loved the stop watch features many watches had, and would time everything from how long I could hold my breath.. to how long my old man would occupy the bathroom. (Those two events weren't related by the way).  I also really got a kick out of the little lights that illuminated the screens,  and would use that function every chance I got. 

I also owned an obscene amount of video game watches which included Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Q-Bert, and Legend of Zelda.  I even owned a couple nifty Casio calculator watches (a lifesaver in math class).  I've owned countless varieties of watches since the age of seven, but it seems like I periodically go back to dipping my toes in the digital display variety of watches from time to time.

From Mickey Mouse to video games, there has never been a shortage of pop culture themed watches.  The 80s were no exception, and digital watches provided an easy way to plaster marketing all over the face of the watches.  Some of my favorites have to do with 80s pop culture.  Check out a few favorites from my personal collection..

This is my snazzy Unisonic LCD stainless steel quartz version of the "Dukes" watch.  It has an adjustable steel band, a backlit display, and even an alarm that plays Dixie!

Back in the mid 90s, a modern marvel was unleashed on the public called the Timex Datalink digital watch.  Co-developed by Timex and Microsoft, the Datalink was basically a wrist watch computer that was a wearable alternative to the PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) that was so popular at the time.

 The Timex Data Link digital watch

You basically would use a computer program to input phone numbers, appointments, and events.  The watch had an optical sensor that could read a series of light flashes the computer program would emit, and would in this way copy the information directly from the computer onto the watch.  Dead batteries posed no problems in regard to data loss, because you could easily download the information from your computer at any time.

The trifecta of these watches having a cool Indiglo back-light feature, being certified by NASA to travel into space, and that they were being used by astronauts on actual missions, made them all that much cooler.  My geeking out over these watches did not go unnoticed, and my wife bought one for me as an anniversary gift.  This was before the advent of smart phones, and the Timex Datalink proved to be an invaluable piece of technology back when I owned an operated my own business.

Yes, digital watches definitely hold a special place in my heart, and I'm sure I will continue to acquire more varieties both new and old.  I'll make sure to post any new unique retro finds here when I come across them.

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