Get the LED Out

I was born in 1977, at the same moment the brief, bright craze for LED watches was coming to its abrupt end; by the time I was technology-aware, in the early 1980s, LCD displays had achieved what would turn out to be a lasting dominance. But some amount of the obsolete tech was still abroad in the world, and for unexplored reasons, it imprinted itself deeply on the young me. Then I mostly forgot about it for four decades, though the occasional glimpse (or even thought) of an old LED display would invariably trigger in me an almost savage nostalgic ache.

So it was inevitable, upon my developing a midlife interest in watches, that I would at some point realize that any number of these old LED timepieces can readily be obtained on eBay, and that I could therefore actually own and wear what had been more evanescent sensation than concrete memory. Which is what has come to pass.

For a very modest outlay, I now possess this Texas Instruments Model 101 from the year 1975. It is just slightly older than me, and in about the same condition: obviously worse for the wear, but still fundamentally operational. I love it despite--or maybe even because of--its absurd limitations. Because the display is such a battery hog, a button press is required to activate it for just one brief second. (Which is plenty for time-telling, but quite the inconvenience for the sort of person given to taking photos of his watches.) The folded-link bracelet and stamped clasp are every bit as mediocre as one might reasonably expect from a mass-market offering from a company that only got into the watch game to sell the LED modules. (And my bracelet in particular appeared not to have been given much in the way of cleaning since its manufacture, so it's overdue for a good ultrasonic bath.

But for that one brief second after the button is pressed, when those tiny rectilinear numerals come to life, razor sharp behind the ruby-colored crystal and extending a faint halo of illumination to the surrounding circuitry, I'm young again.

Reply

That take me back to school I love it 馃榾 that a stunner 馃槏

How many button presses do you reckon you get per battery?

ToolWatchTom

How many button presses do you reckon you get per battery?

I look forward to being able to answer this question. Ideally in a matter of months, rather than weeks or days--but right now it's anyone's guess!

I mean, I could probably look it up online or something, but I really do try to avoid effort whenever possible.

For all we know, I'm wearing the one from the Smithsonian's collection! "Currently not on view" could mean "sold on eBay to this one guy on WatchCrunch."

I am the original owner of this one and you just about convinced me to get a new battery put in it.

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lhanddds

I am the original owner of this one and you just about convinced me to get a new battery put in it.

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What a beauty! Bring it back to life, I say!

Yes and get it to the ultrasonic quickly. 馃槅

lhanddds

Yes and get it to the ultrasonic quickly. 馃槅

For sure! I gave the bracelet on mine a cursory cleaning when it arrived, but even in the course of snapping a few photos today I thought "do I really want this touching my wrist?"

Big fan of the old LED's something magical about them, probably because of also growing up when they came out, when you get tired of battery changes I recommend the Armitron Griffy all modern insides and ultra bright display, I got the green display one, I know they aren't vintage but I just love mine.