Many watch collectors become more than a little sniffy when the subject turns to digital watches. For some they have all the wrong ingredients; cheap quartz movements, low rent finishing, not a blued hand or a guilloche dial in sight, and therefore generally not worthy of serious consideration. While many watch connoisseurs regard them as the poor relation of horology, there was a time in the early to mid-70s when digital LED watches were out of reach to the average man in the street, and they were a much coveted plaything for the rich and famous.
Today digital watches are well within reach of most budgets and remain hugely popular. Casio, perhaps more than any other brand, has pioneered the mass appeal of digital with not only the mighty trendsetting G-Shock range but also the ProTrek series as well as a wide range of budget priced digital timepieces to suit all budgets.
For this reason watch collectors feel they are not interesting or worthy of attention, but there’s no denying, if you want to know the time simply, reliably and accurately, it’s hard to beat a trusty digital watch, and every collection should have at least one. Also, if you take time to explore the world of vintage digital watches there are still some fascinating early examples to be snapped up.
Timex Men’s Classic Digital Gold-Tone Expansion Band Watch
This unerringly simple watch has been a Timex best seller for a very long time, and it’s probably because it looks like a pleasing cross between a sports watch and a digital watch, and, while it doesn’t actually tick, it does take a licking and keep on giving you good, accurate, digital time with a satisfying little beep on the hour just to keep you regularly updated. $30.00
Casio A500 WA-1
The perfect casual watch for travel. This watch comes with a world time feature so you never have to guess how many hours difference it is between your location and home. $39.95
Nixon Unit Black LCD Display
Surfer brand Nixon goes digital with a 43mm black polycarbonate encased watch with a black rubber strap. The black digital dial displays hours, minutes, seconds, am/pm, date, day of the week and temperature. The watch is water resistant to 100 meters and features a countdown timer, chronograph, alarm, and light functions. $69.99
Swatch Yellow Flake
Swatch’s digital Touch watches are undeniably distinctive. They feature a large LCD screen and there are no push buttons. They look futuristic but also a little retro at the same time. Of course being a Swatch, the Swatch Yellow Flake doesn’t only come in yellow, there’s a wide range of different colors and designs to choose from. $100.00
Latin Grammy Gucci “Limited Edition I-Gucci”
If you’re simply not content with a low rent digital, spice things up a little with the Latin Grammy i-Gucci. The watch displays a logo celebrating the partnership between Gucci and the Latin Grammys. The pink gold PVD case and the black dial with yellow digits or hands are complemented by a black Guccissima patent leather on a black rubber strap. These special edition timepieces boast multiple functions such as chronometer and countdown as well as other options. $1,299
1974 Kojak OMEGA Time Computer 1 Watch
Remember Kojak? Telly Savalas was the chrome domed New York detective, and as mentioned, he was one of the early celebrities to wear a digital watch at a time when they were an expensive luxury item. This was one of the first LED watches ever made, sporting more transistors than the smallest TV of the time, and made even more celebrity style with its gold plate body. OMEGA reintroduced this model for nostalgia purposes, and at $3000 it’s still expensive for the average man in the street. It’s available but still hard to find. Thankfully I got through this paragraph without saying ‘Who loves ya baby.’ Doh!
Black Gold G-Shock DW-6900
If you think your G-Shock doesn’t say enough about you, pimp it. This Black Gold G-Shock is literally made from black gold complete with set black diamonds around the bezel. It does everything a normal G-Shock will do, because it is, after all, a G-Shock, but an expensive one at $3,260.
Sparc Sigma MGS
The SPARC Sigma MGS will initially be offered in a black or satin finished steel case on a bracelet or high-grade rubber strap. Ventura uses “Durinox” which is a form of hardened steel for the case. This watch has a pebble-like curve that has wraps around the wrist with a sideways wrist stance that makes it possible to read the time without having to turn your wrist. $5,400
1978 Heuer Chronosplit LED/LCD digital watch
Currently available on eBay, this is a rare Heuer Chronosplit 1978 LED/LCD watch as worn by F1 Ferrari Legends such as Niki Lauda and Gilles Villeneuve in their racing days. It looks to be in perfect condition without so much as a scratch on the glass. The asking price is $5,500.