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Pulsar Wristwatches

In 1972, the Hamilton Watch Co. released the world's first digital quartz wristwatch, the Pulsar Time Computer. It was not like any watch then on the market, and people were very intrigued by the radically different appearance. For one thing, it had no moving hands on the dial. Instead, it had a red, rectangular blank screen made of synthetic ruby that was surrounded by a cushion-shaped case. The time was displayed as three or four red digits for the hours and minutes. This first digital watch was the precursor of a wave of digital quartz watches, of which the Pulsar was a continuing presence and produced several iterations of the original model.

What type of movement does the Pulsar have?

The Pulsar has a digital quartz movement. The watch features a quartz crystal that vibrates at 32,768 Hertz, which was around three times the frequency of quartz analog watches when it came out. This movement had a +/- accuracy of 3 seconds per month, which made it the most accurate watch in the world at that time. The Pulsar was powered by a 4.5-volt rechargeable NiCad battery, which had an average charge use of six months.

Were the first Pulsar timepieces LED watches?

The first Pulsar Time Computer digital quartz watch, released in 1972, had an LED display. Subsequent 1970s Pulsar watches also had LED displays. Later models, produced by Seiko after 1980, featured LCD displays. Timex watches have a similar feature called Indiglo, which is a backlight for the dial.

Is the Pulsar watch still in production?

The first Pulsar watch was produced by the Hamilton Watch Co. in 1972. The company was later acquired by Seiko in 1979, and the watches are still in production. Some of the more notable watches over the years include:

  • Pulsar Time Computer (1972): The Pulsar P1 was the very first digital quartz watch and was released in a limited edition of 18k gold watches.
  • Pulsar P2 (1972): The P2 was the second iteration of the Pulsar.
  • P3 Date/Command (1974): This Pulsar was the first digital quartz watch with a calendar function.
  • P4 Executive (1975): The Executive was one of three designs in the P4 series and featured new bar and segment displays.
  • Pulsar Calculator Watch (1975): This Pulsar digital quartz watch doubled as a mini calculator and was first released in 18k gold.
  • Pulsar PX5031 Chronograph (2011): The PX5031 Pulsar Seiko watch has an analog display, a tachymeter bezel, and a Japanese quartz movement.
Pulsar PX5031 Chronograph vs. Seiko Prospex Alpinist vs. Rolex Explorer
Pulsar PX5031 ChronographSeiko Prospex Alpinist (2020 edition)Rolex Explorer
MovementAnalog quartzAutomaticAutomatic
CasebackSolid stainless steelDisplaySolid oystersteel
Dial ColorBlackBlack, white, or greenBlack
Case Size45 millimeters39.5 millimeters39 millimeters
LugsWidth: 21 millimetersSpacing: 46 millimeters, width: 20 millimetersSpacing: 43 millimeters, width: 20 millimeters
BraceletLeather strapCalf leather or metal braceletOystersteel bracelet
Water Resistance100 millimeters200 meters100 meters
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