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    

Hp 01 Led Men's WatchVery Rare Pulsar Led Pulse Rate Monitor (prm) Watch - Not Working - Complete SetPulsar 5530 Led Watch Early Digital Runs Great Looks Good!Vintage 14k Gf Omega Tc-1 Led Digital Watch W/ 10k Champion Usa Jb Band 1973 Nr!Vintage Bulova Led Digital N6 1976 Computron Wedge Driver Sideview Watch Works 70s Tiffany & Co Pulsar P3 Watch With (3013) Led Module. Spare Or RepairVintage 1973 Pulsar P3 Led Watch Stainless Steel For Parts Or Repair ProjectVintage Mens Wittnauer Red Led Wristwatch Watch Used Vintage Men's Led Accurist WatchVintage Seiko G757-4000 James Bond Octopussy Quartz Lcd Led Watch For Parts12 24hour Astronaut 70s 1970s Old Vintage Style Led Lcd Digital Rare Retro WatchCasio Super Illuminator Led Mtd1080-7awc Mens Silver Stainless Steel Watch 19 Vintage Pulsar Time Computer P3 Led Watch. Spare. Parts. Project. Sold As IsVintage L.e.d Gents Watch-workingMens Storm Designer Watch Mk2 Circuit Stainless Steel Led Module BlackMens Storm Designer Watch Nesis Led Module Stainless Steel LeatherVtg 1970s Gold Wash Adjustable Band Usa Red Led Wrist Watch Time Seconds DateWeide Mens Led Digital Analog Display Wrist Watch Date Week AlarmVintage Majestron Red Led Wrist Watch WorksCasio Stls110h-1b Mens Solar Watch Digital World Time 5 Alarms Led Light Black Stone Special Led Time Quartz Men WatchDiplomat Illuminum Led-lit Aluminum Expandable Single Automatic Watch WinderPulsar Time Computer Led Watch Module Service Test Case. Lot Of (6) Vintage Ladies Watches Bulova W/ Box Led Longines Gf Waltham PocketBulova Led 1967 Wedge / Driver Gents Wrist WatchDesigner Led Watch. Superb Watch.ladies, Boys, Mens/Cool Vintage Mercury "sears & Co." Led Red Screen Digital Men's Watch. 38mm.Mens Optel Red Led Watch Nr!!!Solar 360° Rotate Jewelry Phone Watch Display Table Stand Mount Holder Led LightLed Digital Electronic Multifunction Waterproof Child Kids Boy's Girl's Watch UsHamilton Six Watch Winder With Led Light