A calculator watch is a digital watch with a built in calculator, usually including buttons on the watch face. Calculator watches were first introduced in the 1970s and continue to be produced, despite enjoying a heyday during the 1980s. The most notable brand is the Casio Databank series, though watches made by Timex were also popular.
Calculator watches first appeared in the Mid 1970s introduced by Pulsar (1975, then a brand of the Hamilton Watch Company) and Hewlett Packard. Several watch manufacturers have made calculator watches over the years, such as Pulsar and Timex, but the Japanese electronics company Casio produced the largest variety of models. In the mid-1980s, Casio created the Databank calculator watch, which not only performed calculator functions, but also stored appointments, names, addresses, and phone numbers. When mass-produced calculator watches appeared in the early 1980s (with the most being produced in the middle of the decade). Due to increased exposure in popular culture, calculator watches are considered synonymous with the 1980s. On the front cover of The Police song Wrapped Around Your Finger, frontman Sting can be seen wearing a calculator watch. Al, pilot in the Tom Hanks film Cast Away is seen wearing one. Also, Marty McFly in the Back to the Future series can be seen wearing one in the first two films. As a homage to this stereotype, Dwight Schrute, playing the egomaniacal and nerdy character on NBC's American version of The Office, can be seen wearing a Casio Data Bank watch. Current users of calculator watches are more common among the trades and technical fields. Heavy Metal lead singer Rob Halford of Judas Priest wears calculator watches as seen in interviews possibly insuring the watches popularity. During the live series of Mr Bean, the titular character wears a calculator watch, which he famously lost whilst stuffing a turkey. More recently, Walter White, the main character of the AMC TV series Breaking Bad, can be seen wearing a calculator watch throughout the series. Trevor Philips, one of the protagonists of video game Grand Theft Auto V, can also be seen wearing a calculator watch.
The future of the calculator watch as a practical and useful electronic device has been impacted by the introduction of PDAs, cell phones, and other powerful multi-functional compact computing devices. As a result, many calculator watches are used for aesthetic purposes.
However, calculator watches can serve a useful practice while traveling to calculate conversion rates between currencies. Due to their relative low cost, they provide practical use for travellers.
- Nelsonic game watch - Multipurpose wrist-watches allowing the wearer to play micro video games, these units were the technological descendants of the calculator watch and were patented under calculator watch patents.
- Programmable calculators - Specifications and descriptions
- WATCH. History of the modern wrist watch. - Section on Calculator Watches
- Vintage Digital Watches - Home of Vintage Retro Digital LCD Watches