The first LED watches were produced in 1972 following a prototype seen in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. This was the “Pulsar LED” made by the Hamilton Watch Company. This men’s LED watch was made in gold and cost over $2000 when first sold, so was not affordable to many.
Not only were they very expensive, but also the display could only be seen by pressing a button, because the power consumption of the LED display was so high.
By 1975 Texas Instruments produced a mass produced plastic cased LED watch for $20, reduced to $10 by 1976. This resulted in financial losses to the Pulsar watch brand and it was sold to the Japanese watch company Seiko.
Even with the dramatic price drop for LED watches their mass production was short lived. This was due to introduction of the more efficient LCD watches, technology that allowed them to have a permanent time display again.
Up until the introduction of watches having a digital display, watches with hour hands, minute hands and seconds hands were just watches. So to differentiate the two types of display those with hands became known as analogue watches as opposed to digital watches.
Modern LED Gents Watches
Men’s LED watches have once again become mainstream, both in retro look watches, harking back to their introduction in the 70’s with red LEDs, to a host of new styles in watch design. Now you will find LED watches with many other color LEDs besides red.
Gents LED watches padding
These are one of the radical new watch designs being sold. This types of watches have neither hands or numeric displays, but show the time using 2 rows of dots that display the hours and minutes as a binary code.
Other types of men’s LED watches displays include watches that indicate the position of the hour and minute hands on a traditional round or square dial face. See Left.
Without the need for the round display of an analogue watch, the display and case can be very exotic.
Power consumption of modern LEDs is better than the original ones, now employing more efficient CMOS technology. So batteries for modern LED watches should last a reasonable time, depending on usage, but you still won’t have a permanent display of the more efficient LCD display watches.