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    

C.1977 Vintage, Mint In Box, Looks Unused Pulsar 3502-2 Led Men's WatchUltra Rare Rado Led WatchVintage Buren By Hamilton Red Led Quarts Digital Mens Watch & Box 1970s As IsExcellent Working Pulsar Led P3 Date Command Dot Display Watch Solid Band BoxHeuer Chronosplit Led/lcd Vintage Digital Led Watch Working200m Casio Mens Alarm Chronograph 280 Dw 1000 Led Digital Mens Watch Vintage 80sMens Working Red Led Watch Swiss Button Display Circa 1970 S With Ss Strap FwoRare Vintage Pulsar Time Computer Executive Led Digital Watch Large WristVintage Rare 1975 Zenith 470 Time Command Led Gold Plated Mens Watch Date Microsonic Nos Rare Old Vintage 1970s 70s Digital Led L.e.d Lcd Mens Swiss WatchData Time Vintage Gents L.e.d Digital Watch In Superb Condition1.55"led Capacitive Touch Screen U8 Pro Bluetooth Smart Watch For Android IphoneRare Vintage Bulova N6 Red Led Digital Calender Men WatchHamilton Led Vintage Wrist Watch To Fix Or For Parts No ReserveVintage Bulova Computron Red Led Mens Stainless Steel Watch W/band 1976-worksLed Vw /t4 /t5/ Ford/ American/car Dial WatchNos 1974 Bulova Accuquartz 228 Led Digital Stainless Steel Watch W/ Display Box Old Quartz Watches Quez Led Casio Alarm Chronograph Dgw 30 Arw 320 Pulsar Parts Rare Vintage Hamilton Led Watch, Chrome For Parts Repair Infantry Mens Army Led Digital Quartz Sport Wrist Watch Black Stainless SteelOmega Led WatchFossil 2002 Led Digital Watch Jr-7811 Quartz Vintage Retro Green Crystal CoolUsship U8 Pro Led Capacitive Touch Screen Smart Watch For Iphone Android SamsungMatrix Cuff: Cool & Unique Digital Led Watch - Brown Leather / Amber Led'sLongines Led Gemini Men's Vintage Watch 12k Gold FilledVintage 1970's Texas Instruments Series 500 & 600 Red Led Digital WatchesVintage Bulova Computron Drivers Digital Led N7 Wrist Watch €Nice Man's Led Display Wittnauer Polara Wrist Watch Stainless SteelNice Men's Led Display Wittnauer Polara Wrist Watch 14k Gold Electroplate Bezel2 Vintage Timex 202 Red Led Digital Mens Watches W/coordinating Bands Vintage Pulsar Digital Led/lcd Watch PapersVintage Gold Plated Quasar Led Watch With Box & ManualMens 3d Epozz Digital Led Date Analog Big Face Sport Alarm Quartz Wrist Watch7 Colors Led Light Digital Analog Army White Mens Boys Quartz Waterproof WatchKisai Seven Tron Blue Led Wrist Watch 7ron - Mint!Luxury R-watch Bluetooth M26 Smart Led Watch With Dial/call Answer Android, Ios01 The One: Kerala Trance - Cool Binary Led Fashion Watch (kt202w2)Void V01led-po/bl Led WatchDiesel Men's Dz7080 Silver Sba Led Digital Mirror Dial Watch ***super Rare***Vintage Large Antique Space Age Red Crystal Led Lcd Mens Watch ... NrEpozz Men Casual Watch Analog & Digital Led Black Full Steel Fashion WristwatchMen Touch Screen Circular Pattern Day Date Silicone Sport Led Wrist Watch BlackWeide Mens Black Race Digital Red Led Date Dual Time Sport Quartz Wrist WatchKisai Seven Tron White Led Wrist Watch 7ron - Euc!Led Bluetooth Bracelet Watch W/alert Micamp;amp;speaker Oled Call Reminder УMens 3d Epozz Digital Led Date Analog Big Face Sport Alarm Quartz Wrist WatchEpozz Men Casual Watch Analog&digital Led Display Full Steel Fashion WristwatchBaby Gift Princess Flashing Frozen Elsa Led Clock Watch Doll Anna Alarm Date J#Led Magnifier Double Eye Glasses Loupe Lens Jeweler Watch Repair 10x 15x 25x 20x23 Old Led & Analog Watches 4 Parts/repair,timex, Casio, Texas Instrument, EtcAk-homme Mens Luxury Stainess Steel Led Digital Analog Wrist Watch Xmas Gift NewRed Hands Mens Watches Led Digital Alarm Light + Money Clip Christmas Gift SetShark Led Date Black Red Quartz Stainless Steel Men Sport Army Wrist Watch01 The One: Slider - Cool Analog & Binary, Dual Time Led Fashion Watch (sd130r1)Genuine Goblin Shark Led Digital Date Day Silicone Men Black Quartz Sport WatchShark Led Digital Black Dual Movement Date Leather Wrist Quartz Men Sport Watch01 The One: Ibiza Ride Iii - Cool Designer Fashion Led Watch (irh302rb1)Compuchron Rare Silvertone Led Pocket Watch Case Nos Unused MintBlack Red Mens Gulper Shark Army Date Digital Led 3d Big Dial Sport Quartz WatchNew Nike Led Watch Black Band