Can you remember the first digital watches that started appearing in shops back in the nineteen seventies? Most had blacked out screens, and you need to push a button in order to see the time which was typically displayed in red. Interestingly, those were not really the first digital watches.
The very first commercially available digital watch was introduced by Hamilton, and it came with an eye watering price tag of $2,100. However, the cost of digital watches soon began to tumble. Soon, you were able to find cheap electronic watches for around $10, and by the late 80’s and early 90’s you could even find them being given away for free. Even today, if you visit some countries like Thailand for example, you can buy digital watches for less than one dollar. Of course these watches generally don’t last long, and many of them are simply thrown away once the battery dies because new batteries cost more or less the same as the watches do.
Casio – The Undisputed King of Digital Watches
There is no denying the fact that Casio is the undisputed king when it comes to the digital/electronic watch market. It wasn’t all plain sailing for Casio when the company first decided to diversify and begin making watches rather than only making calculators. Japanese watchmakers at the time were not too keen to let other players into the market, but when Casio launched their very first timepiece called the Casiotron back in October 1974, the company changed the watch making industry for ever.
To this day, Casio is still the biggest manufacturer of digital timepieces, and some of their creations have featured all sorts of things, including calculators and watches. Today their G-Shock and their Baby-G watches are by far the most popular Casio wristwatches on the market.
Digital Watch Technology
By the year 2000, many people firmly believed that digitally made wristwatches had reached the end of the road. Millions of people who once wore digital watches had now switched back to traditional mechanically driven watches. In most cases, this was because people felt that electronic watches just didn’t possess the same amount of character as regular watches do.
However, several wristwatch manufacturers, including Casio, were not willing to just give up on such a lucrative industry. Instead, they decided to level the playing field citizen watches through innovation. This led to the birth of analog cum digital watches, and these watches have become immensely popular.
When I was a child I remember my brother buying an automatic watch, but back then, automatic watches never seemed to take off. Years later, Seiko introduced their now hugely popular Kinetic watches. Other watchmakers also offer automatic watches, and it is clear that automatic watches are here to stay this time.
Digitally made watches needed something to help them compete. With automatic wristwatches there are no interruptions. With digital/electronic watches on the other hand, there is one reoccurring interruption in that you need to routinely change the batteries. Once again, innovation came to the rescue, and today you can buy digital/electronic watches that don’t require new batteries because they are solar powered.
Personally, I think the future of digital/electronic watches looks very bright. We are already seeing some watches featuring some truly useful technology, and we are also starting to see an increase in the number of smart watches arriving on the market. As technology continues to expand, digital watches very likely may become wearable mobile devices which many people won’t be able to live without.
From personal health monitoring, to GPS navigation, digital/electronic watches are rapidly becoming the most sensible option for people on the move. And, let us not forget the fact that even really high quality digitally made watches are relatively inexpensive when compared to high quality mechanically driven timepieces