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    

1977 Hewlett-packard Hp-01 Chrome Prototype Led Calculator Digital WatchRare Working Vintage Pulsar Led P3 Date Command Watch Auto Set Solid Link BandVintage Mens And Ladies Pulsar Led Watches.Vintage 70s Gold Bulova Computron N6 Wrist Watch Red Led Display 1970s Works!Pulsar P2 James Bond Astronaut Digital Led Stainless Steel Men's Watch Microsonic Nos Rare Old Vintage 1970s 70s Digital Led L.e.d Lcd Mens Swiss WatchPulsar P2 James Bond Astronaut Digital Led 14k Gold Filled Men's Watch W/ Box Vintage Pulsar Led Calculater Watch Box, See Pics1977 Hewlett Packard 01 Led Day & Date Mens Gold WatchVtg Very Rare 1974 Longines Led Ss Mens Watch Date Cal: 782.1New In Box Diesel Dz4243 Men's Sba Blackout Red Led Chronograph Watch Vintage Bulova Red Led 1974 Watch Works! No ReservePulsar P4 14kt Gold Filled Led Digital Watch 5310-2 Time ComputerVintage Heuer Led /led Chronograph Watch Rare Nr Stock Car Timer Nr .99 RetroVintage Led Watch- Novus, No Reserve, Free Uk Shipping.Vintage Led Watch- Belair, Frontier Module Free Uk Shipping.Vtg Pulsar Time Computer Led Wrist Watch In Original Box & Instruction BookletVintage Time Computer Pulsar Led Men's 14k Ygf WatchOmega Tc1 Time Computer Vintage Digital Led Watch White Gold Pulsar EraPulsar P2 Steel Magnet In Clasp Vintage Mens Led WatchRare Vintage 1970's Texas Instruments Series 500 Red Led Wristwatch Watch RetroVintage Wittnauer Polara Led Wrist Watch For Parts Or Repair Vintage Retro Collectible Pusar Spoon Stainless Steel Mens Watch Red Led W170Rare Vintage Red Led Compu Chron Watch With Original Box And ManualRare Vintage Led Digital Gold Bulova Big Block N5 Bracelet Men WatchVintage Pulsar Led Calculater Watch Manual, 19 Page..not A Copy1975 Bulova Accuquartz 228 Led Digital 10k Rgp Men's Watch W/ Box & Display E48Gulf Thermometer Motor Oil Gas Pump Texaco Petroleum Globe Mobil Sign Metal CanInfantry Police Mens Sports Quartz Army Luxury Steel Wrist Watch Blue Led Light1970's Vintage Red Led Wrist Watch. By Ross. New Battery.Luxury Red Mens Shark Digital Date Led Sport 3d Dial Quartz Analog Army WatchVintage Digital Watches Timex And Texas Instruments Lcd And LedShark Led Digital 3d Dial Date Day Black Yellow Men Quartz Wrist Sport WatchTvg New Waterproof Led Quartz Watch Wrist Silver Band Sports Dial Men Gift L8925Old 1970's Vintage Compuchron Pen Led Watch ClockVintage Retro Wittnauer Polara Led Watch Screw Back For Parts Or Repair OnlyMutli-function Unisex Led Wrist Watch Pedometer Calorie Counter Signature WhiteNos Vtg Citizen Independent 1481010 Led Quartz Black Watch W/case & Box NipMen 3d Shark Digital Led Date Black Dial Big Face Sport Quartz Wrist WatchBlack Blue Men Gulper Shark Army Date Digital Led 3d Big Dial Sport Quartz WatchFree Shipping Japanese Anim One Piece Sign Led WatchOhsen Mens Boy White 7 Mode Led Backlight Quartz Waterproof Sport Wrist WatchDiesel Men's Large Retro Red Dot Matrix Display Led Watch Model Dz7164New Natural Sandalwood Maple Led Men Calendar Alarm Wooden Watch Collection +boxMens Yellow Shark Luxury Led 3d Design Big Case Date Sport Silicone Quartz WatchGulf Thermometer Motor Oil Gas Pump Texaco Petroleum Globe Mobil Sign Metal CanOhsen Mens Montre Black 7 Mode Led Backlight Quartz Waterproof Sport Wrist WatchWaterproof Tvg Blue Led Watch Black Silicone Diving Mens Womens Gift Box L8861Men Women Digital Alarm Chronograph Led Silicone Sport Wrist Quartz Watch WhiteXeo Time Gunmetal Blue Laser Ice Samurai Unisex Blue Led WatchVtg. 70s Men's Led Electronic Watch - Hudson Harris 10k Gold Filled In It's BoxU8 Pro Led Capacitive Touch Screen Bluetooth Smart Watch For Iphone Android NewSolar 360 Turntable Rotating Jewelry Watch Phone Ring Display Stand /w Led LightU.s.a Shark Digital Led Date 3d Analog Big Face Mens Sport Army Wrist WatchShark Led Digital Date Day Alarm 3d Dial Black Military Quartz Men Sport WatchFashion Men Classic Steel Led Digital Design Alarm Date Light Gift Sport WatchesKitefin Shark Led Digital Analog Red Date Day Leather Wrist Men Sport WatchLot Of 14 Unused Watches! There Are 10 Geneva Watches, And 4 Led WatchesUnique Design 3d Numeral Led Black Steel Military Design Mens Quartz Watches TopInfantry Mens Led Digital Quartz Sport Stainless Steel Wrist Watch Army Stylish