I collect these fascinating watches since many years with specializing mainly in watches which are nearly unworn and in mint condition. For this reason, my collection is subject to continuous modifications. I buy further watches constantly and sell others at the same time.
The objective of my collection is to own nearly any LED watch model ever produced, new and unworn, together with its original box and the corresponding documentation.
I achieved this goal already in a countless number of cases, but for the same endless number it seems to be impossible, because these particular watches are so rare that they remain in collectors´ hands.
Often it happens that only for one original box, a four-digit amount has to be paid when it is extremely rare. Nota bene: without watch.
With this website I would like to make LED watches available and understandable to a broad public, hoping that collecting LED watches will not continue to be be practiced only by a minuscule number of persons world-wide.
How many different models of LED watches are there?
This is a good question which can not be answered clearly.
But I assume that there were more than 1000 different models, as many brands offered an amazing diversity. Furthermore, it happened in many cases that one and the same watch was distributed under different brand names or even without any name at all.
Again and again LED watches turn up which are completely unknown hitherto. The reason is that the LED era only lasted some years, when the LCD technology, much more progressive and energy saving, replaced the LED watches quickly.
The first LED watches turned up in 1972 and in 1980 they disappeared completely from the screen. Many manufacturers simply destroyed or scrapped their entire stocks and dismissed the whole LED chapter as a giant flop.
There are also many ladies’ watches which are completely unknown. It is a mistery to me that LED watch collectors mostly collect men’s watches and that for the many, many different types of ladies’ models – often very beautiful - only low prices are paid.
That is why a significant part of my collection consists of Ladies’ LED watches.
Why collect LED watches?
Well, a personal fascination for the mostly red glowing watches can for sure be traced back to the fact that one came across these watches in the 70s as a child or a teenager. That is why nearly all serious collectors are well over 30 years old, in other words they were at least old enough at that time to know what to do with a watch.
But LED watches are still a very disregarded sector of watch collecting, precisely because they appeared on the scene for only such a short period of time until they disappeared completely.
For collectors of „normal“ watches, LED watches do not seem to exist, because these people, which often have a watch collection worth millions, do not consider digital watches as „real“ watches, because they have no mechanical pieces of art but only machine-made electronic circuits with no hand-crafted value.
In principle, this point of view is comprehensible, but LED watches represent an important step in the history of watches and a milestone in electronic miniaturisation. At this time, people asked themselves how it can be possible that there is a watch without clockwork, hands or other mechanical indication, just with glowing numerals.
Without doubt, LED watches are one of the epoch making inventions of the space age and even today, there is something futuristic about these glowing watches.
This might be the reason why LED watches enjoyed a real revival in the last years due to the fact that countless and some well-known manufacturers placed a large and diverse range of modern LED watches on the market, stylistically modelled exactly after the LED watches of the 70s.
Examples: < not yet available>
LED watches were an absolute innovation in the 70s just as home computers were in the 80s. They play a role in many 70s movies. „James Bond“ and Kojak are only some of the most famous of them.......
Anyway, one of the main reasons for collecting – at least some particular – LED watches is their rarity. For instance, of the Pulsar 1, the first series produced LED watch in the world, only 450 pieces were produced. But there are even more rare LED watches, produced in very limited editions. However, countless Rolex and Breitling watches, some of them were or are still produced in editions of tens or hundreds of thousand, are sold more expensive nowadays. This shows clearly that still today, LED watches – at least the rare ones –are totally underrated. In my opinion, the main reason for this is their low degree of popularity. And that is exactly what I want to change with this website!
Where to get LED watches nowadays?
Currently, the most likely popular platform for the international purchase and sale of LED watches is ebay.
As everybody knows, everything – no matter what – ends up at ebay some day and thus a lot of LED watches are offered there. And first of all, also a lot of scrap.
In most cases, for example, it can be assumed that watches offered as untested or with the comment „no batteries available“ are defective and that seller knows this very well.
Frequently, one and the same watch changes hands in ebay even several times over the course of one year.
Furthermore, there are a lot of modern LED watches from the last years, some of them reproduced stylistically down to the smallest detail of the 70s LEDs.
Often they are very cheap, but they are indeed not real 70s watches. This can be seen on the display and, in the majority of cases, on the pushers.
I devoted a particular chapter to these modern LEDs although I only collect original 70s models except for some occasional ones.
In the course of time, it becomes easy to distinguish them, but for beginners it is not so simple.
However, on ebay you can get worn, properly functioning non top brand 70s LED watches sometimes amazingly cheap.
Depending on manufacturer, accessories and especially on technical and visual condition, prices shoot up to astronomical heights.
There are of course a number of sources apart from ebay.
I recommend to search, search, search.
You are always on the safe side when you buy a watch from a well known collector, such as me or one of my collector fellows all over the world. All of us have something to sell at any time.
As a basic principle, I only sell watches I have at least twice. And thus the frequently asked question why I sell such an amazing watch, becomes unnecessary.
The following difficulties may arise when buying a 70s LED watch:
1) bad visual condition due to wearing and/or damages of glass, strap or case
2) functional, irreparable problems, mostly caused by leaked batteries
3) reparable functional problems, mainly contact problems
Furthermore, the typical things may happen when buying on the internet, especially on ebay, such as:
1) bad or wrong description or presentation
3) high forwarding charges
4) high import duties (customs duty and VAT, together about 25%) if not of EU origin
This is why the seller and his references should be checked very carefully before buying....
What to pay attention to with LED watches?
First of all make sure that it is a genuine 70s LED watch and not a modern remake.
But this is not so easy because these watches are also offered as 70s watches, especially on ebay. Mostly the term „retro“ of other misleading information is used. Basically it can be said that all watches which do not glow red or green, are no 70s watches.
But this does in no way allow the conclusion that everything giving either red or green light is definitely a 70s watch!
In the course of the time you learn to see the difference immediately.
My large picture library may help with it.
However, it can not be expected that an over 30 years old LED watch shows the same reliability and robustness we are used to with other watches.
On the contrary, LED watches are markedly failure-sensitive and delicate, the reason why they broke often and brought their owners nothing but expenses and trouble.
Pulsar, for example, the inventors of the LED watch, collapsed because of these watches in spite of enormous sales.
After all, the electronic modules used in LED watches are the first steps of mankind concerning mass miniaturisation of digital circuits.
This is also the reason why LED watches turned out to be losing bargain for all manufacturers and so they suppressed or actually forgot their existence.
And this is why the manufactures do not offer any spare parts and information for most of the LED watches.
At Omega, for example, it is not possible any more to have LED watches repaired completely, like it is with other Omega watches from the 70s or before.
Most of the LED watches finally ended up in the trash.
The watches which have survived until today have to be treated very carefully and are mostly not suited for daily use. They should be worn on special occasions only.
Often they have no more watch accuracy or waterproofness and an LED watch may go wrong several seconds a day. Among other things this is due to ageing of the electronic elements. However, the largest problems are caused by the batteries and the fact that they were changed without the required know-how and the proper tools by previous and – unfortunately - also by the current owners, or because they were left too long in the watches.
Thus, most defects are caused by oxidation of the electronic module due to gas emitting or leaking batteries or to humidity entering through damaged or simply omitted gaskets.
Human perspiration on the wrist alone can lead to internal oxidation and irreparable damages after a short time, when there are missing or defective gaskets or when the batteries are replaced with bare hands.
Especially today, where people believe that they can do everything on their own and that experts became unnecessary, many LEDs which survived until today are destroyed carelessly or even willingly.
Therefore please pay attention to my watch care tips or send me your watch for maintenance.
What exactly is an LED watch?
Definition of terms:
LED = abbreviation for Light Emitting Diode
LCD = abbreviation for Liquid Crystal Display
Digital watch = A watch indicating time not with clock-hands but by displaying numbers or symbols.
Digital circuit = circuit consisting mainly of TTL logic elements such as AND, NAND, NOR, NOT gates, XOR, XNOR and others, gating digital yes/no information.
Quartz watch: watch with electronic clockwork without balance wheel but with a fully electronic, digital or electro motor driven clockwork clocked by a quartz oscillator.
The following true statements can be derived from these principles:
1) A digital watch is always a watch without hands
2) Normally, a battery driven watch is always a quartz watch
3) An LED or LCD watch is always a digital watch and also a quartz watch
4) A digital watch is not necessarily also a quartz watch *
5) A watch with hands can not be a digital watch but can be a quarz watch
* There are also mechanical digital watches with rotating discs, either as wind up or automatic watch. Examples:
A LED watch is a fully electronic quartz watch with digital display, mostly consisting of 4 digits with 7 segments each, controlled by a miniaturised digital circuit with one ore more microchips.
Contrary to the popular – and wrong – idea, there is no 70s LED watch with „Dot Matrix“ or „Matrix“-display, but with Dot Display. This simply means that the single segment (of mostly 7) of the digit does not consist of a continuous bar – a single LED – but of several small dots, thus of several LEDs (dots).
Often one and the same module was offered both with Dot and also with Line-Segment-Display.
Basically it can be assumed that modules with DOT display are older design, although this is not always the case.
DOT Segment Displays look very cool because they simply have more glowing single elements than BAR Segment Displays.
The displays of the LED watches differ in size, luminosity, angle and type of the segments (bars/dots), depending on manufacturer and design.
A 70s LED watch always needs two 1.5 V button cells, in some special cases even three or four (mostly for calculators). Size and type of the button cells vary according to manufacturer and model of the module.