The Strange Story of The “Grandfather” of The Smartwatches: So Was The Seiko TV Watch in 1982

History is full of devices that are ahead of their time. I do not mean machines literary or cinematic as Kubrick tablet or multiple predictions by Verne, but other devices that they were put on sale for decades and now we are aware of that are very similar to some of the latest gadgets on the market.

One of these inventions was the Seiko Watch TV. Once this rarity was considered and recognized as World’s smallest television, and even made appearances in some films, but today you can escape anyone their amazing resemblance with the current smart watches, and in some ways we can say that we we have a distant relative.

The revolution in

The history of this device began in 1972, but the first step not Seiko gave it but another American company called Hamilton. They were the creators of the press P1, the first digital watch history doll. The Japanese acquired the Americans, and they undertook their own way to the digital age by launching its first such clock in 1973.

At that time it was said that society moved towards a revolution in visual information, and to add to it with its new range of watches the Japanese company began working in research and development of active matrix liquid crystal (LCD) panels If you were able to reproduce moving images.

During the following years these efforts helped that their watches were becoming increasingly small and thin, with a higher density in its components and more efficient energy. Also they were implementing new features as the clocks and calculators.

After three years of development and hundreds of millions of Yen invested, the summer of 1982 Seiko announced in Tokyo a new clock. It was the TV Watch, the first to get that at last we could watch TV on our wrist.

Thus it was the TV, Seiko Watch

A clock which can see the television. Today this concept seems simple, but then to carry it out was a bit more complicated. The TV Watch was composed of three different elements that it had to connect together to make it work. The result was a product of science fiction, Yes, but a little awkward to carry.

On the one hand we had the watch, but this had to connect it to a receiver of radio and television the size of a walkman. We also needed a set of headphones, and they also had to be connected to the receiver. And how could be either wire above way moderately comfortable? Very simple, attentive to this drawing that appeared in your manual.

As you can see the trick was in Insert the cable of the receiver below the sleeve to connect to the clock. But if we did not want to complicate life, TV Watch also had a function to preview only the audio of television broadcasts.

The clock itself had dimensions of 40 x 49 x 10 mm and weighs 80 grams, and all its magic was concentrated in its innovative 1.2 inch LCD in black and blue with a resolution of 32k pixels and 10 shades of gray. He also had a second smaller screen that could see the time, set the alarm and stopwatch to use as with any other digital watch.

During the presentation of the device, its creators had to give certain explanations about how he had gotten such ingenuity. They said that their new panels controlled the molecular arrangement of liquid crystal in an electric field, and that this made it possible to create thumbnails with very low consumption power. Especially if compared with the conventional television cathode ray tubes.

The receiver had measurements of 74.5 x 125 x 19 mm and weighs 140 grams. This was too big to take it in the back pocket of the pants, but perfect for the inside jacket pocket. Her battery consisted of two AA batteries that gave a five-hour autonomy, and adorn both channels VHF & UHF television and FM radio.

What could be and was not

TV Watch hit the Japanese market in December 1982 with a single DXA001 model costing 108,000 yen, but then came a second model DXA002 cheaper. The difference between the two was that the second incorporated a headset instead of headphones, and their price down to 98,000 yen. In return, these two models today they would be worth around 600 and 500 euro respectively.

The presentation of the device managed to generate much interest, and clock occupied front pages in newspapers and television headlines. It was considered innovative for allowing us product access a wealth of information in real time, and he called so much attention that a year later ended up coming to the U.S. market.

During its launch in Japan Seiko managed to sell 2,200 units, and the President of the US subsidiary of the company said that the reception of the American media had been so good that I thought to sell all that replacing. This optimism resulted in the production of between 15,000 and 20,000 units ready to be exported.

But not everyone saw the Watch TV as a so-called invention to revolutionize the market. In fact, it is known who at Sony came to say that its laboratories had the capacity to develop a similar product, but that they did not believe that there was a large enough market for this type of devices. At the end it turns out they were right, and clock not ended to become a successful product.

In the curriculum of the TV Watch, we have several dates. In 1982 he won the Nikkei Prize for products and services of Superior quality, and a year later made an appearance in the new James Bond film, Octopussy. The clock ended his career in 1984 upon entering the Guinness Book of Records as the smaller TV in the world.

In 1983 Seiko took advantage of the technology that had been developed to go a little further and present the first liquid crystal color display. This new screen was implemented in the natural successor of his successful clock, which eventually called colour Pocket TV. But this is another story.