Going Digital

By Jake Gloth

The year is 1972, and life is hard in a world where telling time is done by deciphering the movements of long hands on a clock face. Suddenly, salvation hits the shelves in the form of the first digital watch: Hamilton’s Pulsar. The digital numbers were powered by a new technology called light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which were essentially lights that were activated by electric currents. To celebrate this shiny legacy, Hamilton has announced the return of the Pulsar brand with the limited edition PSR MTX. 

This retro digital watch does away with the archaic LED display of the original in favour of a dazzling liquid crystal display (LCD), which uses the light changing properties of liquid crystals to make a vibrant image. 

The Hamilton PSR MTX comes as part of a collaboration with the new Matrix film, Matrix Resurrections (2021), starring Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss. The partnership has given the watch a retro-futuristic look and has included the famous Matrix digital green rain pattern on the case. 

The path from the first Hamilton Pulsar to the new PSR MTX has been a long one that has seen many great leaps in the watch game. While Hamilton may have sold the first digital watch, the first LCD watch was sold by Seiko in 1972: the Seiko cal 0614.

From then on, LCD watches dominated the digital playing field and even the silver screen. You may remember a bulky watch on the arm of Marty McFly, the famous protagonist of Back to the Future (1985). This LCD device was the Casio CA53W Twincept Databank, which had a calculator, calendar, stopwatch, and an alarm. 

While those features may have been cool in 1985, they weren’t very useful in the 2010s when many people had a smartphone that could do all that and more. Digital watches seemed to be obsolete in this new era, or at least that was the case until 2015 heralded the release of the Apple Watch Series 1. 

These new LCD smartwatches revolutionized and reinvigorated the digital watch trade by connecting them to smartphones. Marty McFly’s Casio never stood a chance. 

To celebrate this fantastic legacy and the return of the Matrix film saga, Hamilton is selling 1,999 sleek neo-retro PSR MTXs. If you’d like to learn more about this historic return or grab a watch for yourself, you should head to hamiltonwatch.com.

If you enjoyed “Going Digital”, you may also like “Swatch; Time in the 1980s”.