The first LED (light-emitting-diode) digital wristwatches appeared around 1972, when an inventor named Roger W. Riehl produced an all-electric watch with no moving parts. Called the Synchronar, the watch featured red LEDs and utilized solar panels to power the timepiece’s NiCad battery. The first Synchronars cost $1,700, but by the end of the decade the price had dropped to about $130.

Around the same time, Hamilton Watch Company launched the "Pulsar-P1." These 18k gold units had an original price tag of $2,100—for some collectors they remain the Holy Grail of vintage LED wristwatches since only the 30 or so examples are known to exist. More widely available are the Pulsar P2s, famously worn by Roger Moore in the 1973 James Bond movie, “Live and Let Die.”

Other vintage LED wristwatches favored by collectors are calculator watches. These include the 1977 Pulsar 3822 and the 1977 Hewlett-Packard HP-01. Models with green displays are also rare.

Even though they were considered state of the art at the time, LED wristwatches had their drawbacks—they drew a lot of power, which caused some manufactures to make models that forced the wearer to hold a button down in order to see the time. For this reason and others, LEDs were largely replaced by more efficient, always-on LCD (liquid-crystal-diode) displays in the mid-1970s—Texas Instruments mass-produced one model for only $20.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Nerd Watch Museum

Nerd Watch Museum

This gallery of hundreds of LCD and calculator watches from the 1980s includes nerd-friendly brands like Casio, Sei… [read review or visit site]

National Watch and Clock Museum

National Watch and Clock Museum

This virtual museum, created by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, lets you stroll through tim… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Mens Excellent Original 1975 Pulsar P3 Time Computer Stainless Steel Led WatchMega Rare Vintage 1 Button Stainless Steel Pulsar Hamilton Qed Led Digital WatchVintage Rare Led Synchronar Solar Watches For Sell100% Working & All Original 1976 Bulova Computron Red Led Quartz Driver Watch Pulsar P2 - 14k Gold Filled - James Bond Astronaut - Red Led Vintage WatchSs Pulsar P2 Led Watch Famous For James Bond In Live And Let DieSynchronar Sunwatch Riehl Solar Led Watch Vintage Mens Pulsar P3 Led Time Computer Digital Watch With Magnet For Repair Vintage Longines Wittnauer Polara Led Watch Gold Plated Working Working Vtg 1970's Datatime Red Led Wrist Watch Gold Tone Hong Kong Usa RoundWenger 70433 Nomad Led Compass Nomad Wenger An Analog-digital Watch Black Black Vintage Pulsar Led Watch With Box And PapersVintage 1970's Led Commodore WatchCasio Super Illuminator Led Mtd1080-7awc Mens Silver Stainless Steel Watch -788901 The One Ze107b1 Zerone Watch Blue Led'sHuge! Vintage Recent Mechanical & Quartz Watch Lot Led Timex Casio Seiko 345 PcsVintage Timex 202 H Cell Red Led Gold Tone Watch Rare FindVintage 1970's Ladies Led WatchVintage Red Led Watch Lot Cases And Bands Parts Or RepairVintage Benrus L.e.d. Mans W/watch 1970s As IsVintage 1970's Gruen Led Digital Men's Watch Maybe For Parts Or ProjectAs-is Rare Made In France Sf Vtg 1970's Red Led Wrist Watch Gold-p Round Vi1 426Vintage Compuchron Red Led Wrist Watch Casio Mens Chrono,world Time Alarm Led Watch Light Weight IlluminatorMens Led Digital Watch 5atm Waterproof Military Countdown Shock WristwatchMen's Stainless Steel Wristwatch Led Electronics Calendar Bear Watch Rose GoldGent's Jls Red Led Digital WatchMens Black And White Led Watch1pcs 20 Projector Led Digital Moana Princess Watch Children Wristwatches GirlMen's Stainless Steel Wristwatch Led Electronics Calendar Bear Watch SilveryVintage Ladies 1970's Hamilton Qed Kojak Red Led Pulsar Watch W/ Box & Papers1pcs 20 Projector Led Digital Moana Princess Watch Children Wristwatches GirlVintage 1970's Bulova Led Red Display Mens Wrist WatchVintage '76 Citizen Cq Crystron 8600 Early Quartz Watch, Kanji, Led Light, RunsDc Comics Batman Led Watch Lights Up 1pcs 20 Projector Led Digital Moana Princess Watch Children Wristwatches GirlLed Digital Electronic Multifunction Waterproof Child Kids Boy's Girl's Watch UsMen's Watch Touch Screen Calendar Red Led Digital Wrist Watch Unique Watch