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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It seems to me that digital watches are enjoying a comeback. I see them more and more in shops, on people, in the media. Anybody got the same impression? Is the comeback already fully there and I'm late or am I sensing it when it's just coming up? Seeing ghosts?

If there is indeed a comeback I dare to advance an explanation. People have been getting used to digital time telling in their cars and their cell phones and computers. They now want the same method on their wrist again.

Till
 

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It seems to me that digital watches are enjoying a comeback. I see them more and more in shops, on people, in the media. Anybody got the same impression? Is the comeback already fully there and I'm late or am I sensing it when it's just coming up? Seeing ghosts?

If there is indeed a comeback I dare to advance an explanation. People have been getting used to digital time telling in their cars and their cell phones and computers. They now want the same method on their wrist again.

Till
Probably it is fashion driven too. Back in the 70s and 80s there were fantastic choices in digital watches. Now with the advent of e-Ink display high res screen technology, I am sure digital watches will experience a raise in popularity once again.

I am thinking of dumping $500 on a new German made digital watch in the upcoming months.
 

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Do you include Casios? If yes then there's no comeback because their digitals have been everywhere as long as I can remember.

Also I guess that digitals are cheaper to manufacture so there are a lot of inexpensive digital watches here made by some less well known manufacturers.

But if you're only thinking about watches older people wear, they still prefer analogs from what I can see here.
 

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I've been seeing mostly analogue around here. I HAVE noticed more people wearing watches. Maybe they've grown tired of the return to "pocket watches" cell phones have facilitated(glad to see it happening, too).

Josh
 

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Absolutely they are - with some of the advances in LED / LCD technology, etc. over the last decade or so, there's a lot more that can be done with digital wrist watches now.

I think we're also going to see more and more functions / information being communicated in increasingly attractive and high-end digital watches. the Suunto Elementum is a good example of this. Watches that actually look good (cough cough Casio cough), and provide a wide range of information and capabilities, and can be worn on a daily basis in almost any foreseeable circumstance. What's not to like in that package?
 

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I've been seeing mostly analogue around here. I HAVE noticed more people wearing watches. Maybe they've grown tired of the return to "pocket watches" cell phones have facilitated(glad to see it happening, too).

Josh
I've noticed more people wearing watches too. At first I thought it was just my WIS-syndrome, but I'm seeing more and more celebrities and TV figures with watches, and I'm seeing more and more people wearing watches.

I don't know if digital watches are making a comeback, but fashion watches are certainly fashionable. And a lot of fashion brands do make digital watches. So maybe that is the correlation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the interesting replies! :)

So if there is a comeback, which at least some here think there is, there would be the following reasons. They all make sense to me:

- higher acceptance of digital time reading because used to it from phones, cars, computers
- economic reasons, digitals are cheap and practical
- cycles of fashion (when will we see big 80s hair again ;) )
- technological progress with new display methods (e-ink_
- design progress where they actually make attractive watches (as we've seen here and in the other thread)

I like the theory on in-conspicuous consumption after the global financial crisis (that is global if you exclude China and India who were doing rather swell). That will be something to look out for. Brilliant stuff.

Till
 

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Digital didn't die. It was just taking a short kip in the afternoon sun.

Apparently the G-Shock forum has more traffic than any other forum on WUS.

I can understand why a lot of people don't like the look of Gs. But I love the look of many, and so do many many watch enthusiasts. I also feel that when people throw out a blanket statement like all Casio G-Shocks are ugly, or all Casio digitals are ugly, they loften have no idea of the breadth and depth of the Casio digital range.

Suunto have some fantastic digitals, and the Tag microtimer is superb, probably my favourite Tag. I think a sports newsreader was wearing one on TV last night...

It's great to see Seiko stepping up to the plate with high quality digitals once more. And being truly innovative with the new e-ink model released at Basel 2010.

If we broaden the definition to include ana-digitals, Breitling surely lead the field here. At a more affordable level, for those who would never drop $2k+ on a digi, Orient do a decent ana-digi, Seiko also have some good ones (although no backlighting on some of them).

As has been said already, the fashion brands do all sorts of crazy stuff with digitals. Unlikely that all will appeal, but enough variety that maybe one or two will.

So perhaps not so much of a comeback, in that digital has always been big. But recently more appreciation by watch enthusiasts. I feel that recently quartz has been more warmly embraced by WE too - it's great to see :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the post, Jason. Excellent info, as usual. I didn't even know Orient made an ana-digi. Very cool stuff. And the price is killer; in a good way.

Till
 

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It seems to me that digital watches are enjoying a comeback. I see them more and more in shops, on people, in the media. Anybody got the same impression? Is the comeback already fully there and I'm late or am I sensing it when it's just coming up? Seeing ghosts?

If there is indeed a comeback I dare to advance an explanation. People have been getting used to digital time telling in their cars and their cell phones and computers. They now want the same method on their wrist again.

Till
My sense is that digital watches didn't fall much much in popularity. If anything they gained over analog watches during the 1970's and 1980's and have simply retained market share since then. Casio and Timex have continued to lead the pack with the sheer volume of digital watches produced. Seiko and Citizen periodically produce interesting digital and digi/ana watches. Citizen has produced numerous digi/ana world time models and the venerable digi/ana/temp line has been produced for over 30 years. Seiko and Pulsar watches that used the H021, H022 and H023 calibers proved to be very popular in the 1990's are early 2000's. The segmented display seen below is particularly attractive in person.

 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
John, I always respect your opinion very much and always agree with what you say (even if I don't voice the agreement), but in this case I think it's unlikely that digital watches retained their market share constantly over the last 40 years. I think they took a great market share when they came out in the 70s and were able to build on that in the 80s. Then Swatch came out and with Swatch there was a return of the analog dial but also of Swiss mechanics as opposed to Japanese digitals. I don't have any numbers but it would make sense that digitals then lost market share between say 90's to 2005 or so. I've only seen more digitals recently, within the last year or so.

The economic explanation given by another poster might actually account for that.

BTW, that's a very nice Seiko there. What's the model?

Till
 

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John, I always respect your opinion very much and always agree with what you say (even if I don't voice the agreement), but in this case I think it's unlikely that digital watches retained their market share constantly over the last 40 years. I think they took a great market share when they came out in the 70s and were able to build on that in the 80s. Then Swatch came out and with Swatch there was a return of the analog dial but also of Swiss mechanics as opposed to Japanese digitals. I don't have any numbers but it would make sense that digitals then lost market share between say 90's to 2005 or so. I've only seen more digitals recently, within the last year or so.

The economic explanation given by another poster might actually account for that.

BTW, that's a very nice Seiko there. What's the model?

Till
Wish I had one. Here's an interesting thread from SCWF that includes that model and others. http://www.larrybiggs.net/scwf/index.php?mod=103&action=1&id=1082019341

edited:

I may be overstating what actually happened to digitals in the past 20 years - there is really little more than seat-of-the-pants information to go by. My sense is that large numbers of mostly moderately priced watches continue to be produced, but who knows for sure. I think that a "Comeback" understates the current condition of the market for digitals however.
 

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Funny you should mention that. I was at a department store the other day looking at what they're selling and many of them are strickly digital or have that Tissot T-Touch look where there's a little rectangle LCD on the bottom of an analog dial. Even Casio G-shocks, known for their digital watches, have the analog/digital dials/hands. So, yes, there are a lot of digital-only watches out there, but there are also a lot of hybrid looking ones.
 

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Digital have been back & more heavily marketed/sold over the last 12-18 months, with the likes of Quadtec, BlackDice, Momo et al - I know a post earlier on said they never went away, which in fact is true (as a factual statement), for the likes of Timex, Polar, Casio G have been around for years. Here is the difference though, as I would not wear one of these out - they are not cool, which is also a fact - they are mearly produced as a functional watch (running, hiking, water sports etc). In saying that, I hope no one tries to put a thread under this saying that I have got it wrong, and in fact, the Casio G, Timex etc are cool - clearly you would not get out much in the more fashionable parts of the world, like London, Paris, Milan & NY. Having said that, a moderen take with a retro piece is cool, and if you want an up-to-date piece of retro cool - then get your retro digital in yellow gold :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
That depends on the definition of cool, of course. If you count Tokyo and young people as one of the very fashionable and fashion conscious places then G-Shocks are definitely cool. If you are among runner buddies, even a Timex will be cool. If you look at rappers with blinged out G-Shocks, they seem to find them plenty cool.

But they are definitely not fashionable or stylish in a classic chic way, I give you that. OTOH, one could probably pull of a nice stealth black G with an outfit by Comme des Garcons, Prada or Costume Nationale. But with a Zegna zuit a G would just be wrong.

As for cool digital watches, look at this one:
https://www.watchuseek.com/showthread.php?t=387397&highlight=Seiko+owner's+thread

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