History of Digital Watch
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We explore the evolution of digital timepieces from 1972 to present day.
Forty years ago this month, Hamilton introduced the world's first commercial electronic digital wristwatch. It retailed for the pricey sum of $2, 100.(It would go for about $11, 400 today.) By the end of the 1970s, however, the price of the average digital watch dropped drastically; they would regularly retail for under $10 a piece. And in the 1980s, they became a novelty. You could even find them in cereal boxes as cheap giveaways.
Today, some tech pundits often wonder if the wristwatch has become obsolete. But don't tell that to Sony. The company just launched its SmartWatch ($150), an Android-based watch that supports email, text messages, and social media updates. Folks, this is not your grandfather's hand-me-down! It's the next evolution of the digital timepiece.
But, we digress. Let's get back to our little history lesson. Over the last 40 years, the electronic digital wristwatch has undergone dramatic evolutionary changes. There have also been dozens of offshoot permutations that aim to squeeze every bit of functionality you could imagine into a wristwatch. (For more on those wristwatches, check out our story on " 12 Ultra Nerdy Watches of Yore.") Perhaps the most dramatic change of all, though, has been pricing, as demonstrated above.
In the following slideshow, we'll be looking at 11 notable firsts in the evolution of the electronic digital watch, and we'll examine a surprising mechanical precursor that few people today know about. This collection is by no means comprehensive—the watch market has played host to more innovations than one could fit in a humble slideshow—so feel free to share thoughts on your own favorite digital watch in the comments area.(.)