I am confident (at least I hope it wasn’t just me!) that most men around my age would agree that as a young boy, digital watches were a ‘must have’ and we ogled at ones with more buttons and heaven forbid a bloody calculator!
It was probably something to do with the fact that it was our chance to own our first piece of high technology combined with the fact that it could tell you the time in Kathmandu! Digital watches were introduced initially as a novelty and a sign of changing times (excuse the pun!). The widespread growth of mobile phone technology ultimately made the limited functionality of the digital watch and its offshoots obsolete in the long (or short) run, but my love of them remained.
This digital watch fascination was nestled in a love of all things old and ancient – especially things I could dig up. So before long, when I heard that these digital watches had genesis in the 60s and 70s in the form of mechanical digitals – another fascination was started.
I have always had a fondness for design from these decades and the watches certainly did not disappoint. Some of the designs from this era are so ‘ugly’, that they become beautiful if that makes any sense at all. The combination of straight lines, soft curves, primitive technology and the fact that some were gold – were perfect for me. I started casually collecting and whenever my parents asked me what I wanted for my birthday, “One of them mechanical digitals from the 70s’ was my reply.
My friends used to call them Viva Dashboards (for those of you who are too young, that referred to a cheap Vauxhall car from a similar time which had ‘cheesy’ design delight on some of the dashboard features!)
There’s something delicious and seductively dorky about wearing a big chunk of golden 1970s techno-bling on your wrist just because you can. I struggle finding any at the moment but this is compounded by my lack of time looking. If you find one, my birthday is 4th April! If you’ve got any tips on where I can go to continue my digital dinosaur collection then please let me know!
Over and out,