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Time Displays

The first quartz watches had analog dials.

Analog The first quartz wristwatch prototypes, developed in Swiss and Japanese laboratories in the 1960s, had an analog display with rotating hands. Despite their similarity to mechanical watches, it was necessary to develop a new technology to transform the timed intervals provided by the quartz crystal into mechanical energy to rotate the hands. A small stepping motor was created to drive the hands using very low power, guaranteeing a battery life of at least one year.

Solid state technology enabled the development of digital displays.

LED Electronic displays with time displayed in digits, rather than with hands and dial, caused a sensation when first introduced. The first electronic display, introduced in 1970 on the Hamilton Pulsar, used light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to indicate the time of day in flashing red digits at the push of a button.

LCD At the same time, other researchers were working on the development of liquid crystals for use in digital watch displays. Early liquid crystal displays suffered from high power consumption and poor readability. Improvements in LCD technology eliminated these problems and by the late 1970s LCD watches had become more popular than LEDs.

Digital displays allow the representation of much more than just the current time. Multifunctional watches may also indicate pulse rate, temperature, numerical data, and even short messages.

By 1986, consumer interest shifted away from watches with digital displays back to the more traditional analog dial.

Battery ~ Quartz Crystal ~ Integrated Circuit

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