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Digital Watches

The first models (circa 1972) were very expensive and featured a flat black screen. One needed to press a small button on the side to see the time light up inside. These were LED (Light Emitting Diode) watches.

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The pulsar, from HMW, was the first all-electronic wristwatch. The pulsar utilised LED that would light up as red digits at the push of a button.

For a paltry $2100, a piece of the future – The Time Computer – was yours. Or you could wait a couple of years and buy the first watch ever made for under $20.

That watch was the latest in technological wizardry: the digital watch with the LCD (Liquid Crystal Display).

The new technology improved readability, reduced power consumption, and best off all, was continuous in display and did not require a button switch for time.

Everyone was strapping on the simple metal band with the push-button knob and plenty of nifty features: a stopwatch, an alarm, a light switch when you were caught in the dark. Could it get any cooler?

This new-fangled contraption took the world by storm, and the foolproof timepiece promised the future. The next step was the handy calculator watch: the smallest calculator and computer in the world.

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Not just for pocket-protector wearing nerds, this seemingly harmless device – no larger than your wrist – created junior Einsteins in Algebra class.

Okay, so that perfect score wasn’t because we memorised theorems, but wasn’t that what technology was for? Taking away all the boring work?

Over the years, digital watches came to feature everything from video games to data banks (to store telephone numbers and messages) to cool blue ‘Indiglo’ lights.

The digital watch catapulted science into a new realm, a constant reminder that one day, “Beam me up, Scotty” would be as casual as “Excuse me, sir, do you have the time?”.