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 WatchExcellent Working Pulsar Led P3 Date Command Dot Display Watch Solid Band BoxVintage Rare Bulova Accuquartz Led Digital Watch In BoxBulova Carvavelle Vintage 70s Quartz Digital Red Led Watch Nos W BoxVtg Pulsar Time Computer Led Wrist Watch In Original Box & All Paper Work200m 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 FwoMicrosonic Nos Rare Old Vintage 1970s 70s Digital Led L.e.d Lcd Mens Swiss WatchVintage Hamilton Led Stainless Steel 10k Rgp Mens Watch Vintage Wittnauer Led Mens WatchVintage Rare 1975 Zenith 470 Time Command Led Gold Plated Mens Watch Date Pulsar Time Computer Led 14k G.f. Watch 1.55"led Capacitive Touch Screen U8 Pro Bluetooth Smart Watch For Android IphonePrincess Flashing Frozen Elsa Led Clock Watch Doll Anna Alarm Date Baby Gift J#Vtg Very Rare Texas Instruments Led Ss Mens Watch Date Data Time Vintage Gents L.e.d Digital Watch In Superb ConditionDiesel Men's Dz7092 Black Sba Scrolling Led Digital Black Dial WatchPulsar Led, Omega Led, Hamilton Led Watches Case ToolDiesel Digital Red Led Men's Watch Dz-7092Hamilton Led Vintage Wrist Watch To Fix Or For Parts No Reserve Vintage Hamilton Led Watch Band Champion Band Has MagnetLuminox 2211 Led Wrist Light Watch SurefireVintage Bulova Computron Red Led Mens Stainless Steel Watch W/band 1976-worksHewlett-packard Hp-01 Led Calculator Watch Case Opener Tool1970's Pulsar Led Mens & Womens Watch 14k Gold Filled Time Computer + Other100pcs Wholesale Lr44 Battery Sr44 Ag13 A76 357 Equivalent For Toy Led Watch UsaRare Vintage Hamilton Led Watch, Chrome For Parts Repair Vintage Hughes Aircraft Led Red Crystal Watch + Jb Champion Bracelet For RepairUsship U8 Pro Led Capacitive Touch Screen Smart Watch For Iphone Android SamsungVintage Fairchild Led Digital Mens Wrist Watch W Original Signed Bracelet As IsFossil 2002 Led Digital Watch Jr-7811 Quartz Vintage Retro Green Crystal CoolNew Black Dice Industries Special Led Time Quartz Men WatchLed Vw /t4 /t5/ Ford/ American/car Dial WatchVintage 1970's Texas Instruments Series 500 & 600 Red Led Digital Watches Vintage Pulsar Digital Led/lcd Watch PapersInfantry Mens Army Led Digital Quartz Sport Wrist Watch Black Stainless SteelVintage Gold Plated Quasar Led Watch With Box & ManualNew White Mini Travel Blue Led Alarm Car Clock Thermometer Calendar Stop WatchKisai Seven Tron Blue Led Wrist Watch 7ron - Mint!U8 Gold Led Capacitive Touch Screen Bluetooth Smart Watch For Iphone Android HtcMens Shark Luxury Led 3d Dial Big Case Date Sport Silicone Quartz Watch Yellow Vintage Compu Chron Led Stainless Steel Mens Watch Citizen Independent 1481010 Led Gsd Round D420 Digital Watch JapanGenuine Goblin Shark Led Digital Date Day Silicone Men Black Quartz Sport WatchBlack Red Mens Gulper Shark Army Date Digital Led 3d Big Dial Sport Quartz Watch2 Vintage Timex 202 Red Led Digital Mens Watches W/coordinating BandsWeide Men Military Led Date Day Dial Steel Band Quartz Wrist Watch Us Wh230903Luxury R-watch Bluetooth M26 Smart Led Watch With Dial/call Answer Android, Ios7 Colors Led Light Digital Analog Army White Mens Boys Quartz Waterproof WatchOutdoor Sport Infantry Men's Blue Led Quartz Digital Stainless Steel Wrist WatchSawback Angel Shark Led Digital Yellow Date Alarm Leather Quartz Men Sport Watch23 Old Led & Analog Watches 4 Parts/repair,timex, Casio, Texas Instrument, EtcLed Black Ohsen Digital Date Rubber Waterproof Watch Men Boy 889 Gift Oh03Xeo - Gunmetal Blue Laser Ice Samurai Unisex Blue Led WatchGruen Led Vintage Mens Watch For Parts/repair -corroded Batteries Does Not WorkDiesel Men's Dz7080 Silver Sba Led Digital Mirror Dial Watch ***super Rare***Kisai Seven Tron White Led Wrist Watch 7ron - Euc!Ohsen Led Flashlight Alarm Date/day Waterproof Digital Quartz Sport Watch SilverKitefin Shark Led Digital Analog Blue Date Day Leather Wrist Men Sport WatchAk-homme Date Compass Analog Led Digital Mens Stainless Steel Quartz Wrist Watch