While the best men’s watches claim to be timeless, there’s something to be said for a watch that evokes a specific point in watchmaking history, whether it’s the triangle-shaped Hamilton Ventura. ‘Elvis or the Seiko Roger Moore sported in The Spy Who Loved Me. This is precisely why we love retro digital watches. And the best retro digital watches harken back to the silly but stylish design of the 1980s, when boomboxes and arcade games reigned supreme.
Although cheap Casios and fancy watches are associated with the Reagan presidency, the first electronic digital watch was introduced in 1970. It was made by Hamilton and called Pulsar, and it was inspired by the space age in its name and design. Since it was so new, it was actually more expensive than mechanical watches of the time. Casio’s first digital watch appeared in 1974, but the brand took hold in the 1980s.
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The Casio F-91W is perhaps the most iconic digital watch ever made, and that’s because it perfectly embodies all that’s great about digital watches. For one thing, it’s incredibly cheap. It’s also reliable and packed with features in its small package. But as awesome as the F-91W is, we love a ton of retro digital watches, including options from Casio, Timex and beyond. So strap on your fanny pack and read on for SPY’s favorite retro digital watches.
1. Casio F91W-1 Digital Sports Watch
The F91W is stylish precisely because it doesn’t try to be. It’s made from cheap resin, not metal, and the case is adorned only with handy button information. It is water resistant enough for daily use and has many features such as daily alarm, backlight, date and chronograph.
2. Timex Classic Gold Digital Watch for Men
If you wore a wristwatch in the 80s, 90s, or early 2000s, you might remember the importance of Indiglo, the glow-in-the-dark technology that seemed so modern back then. This retro Timex gold watch is a timeless classic, and it’s sure to earn you plenty of compliments from your nostalgia-obsessed friends.
Buy: Timex Men’s Gold Digital Watch $34.30 (Original $49.00) 30% off
3. Timex Reissue Q Digital Wristwatch
Timex’s Q series consists of watches that the brand has reissued, meaning they’re not just retro-inspired, but true to the original. This particular watch was first released in the late 80s, and it is one of the most unique digital watches on the market. Long before Apple pushed the idea of a digital watch face that looks like an analog watch face, Timex incorporated an analog LCD screen into this watch, which also has a digital display, alarm, and timer. timer.
Buy: Timex Q Digital Watch $149.00
4. Hamilton American Classic PSR
BEST WATCH FROM THE 70S
If you want to go back, Hamilton has reissued its Pulsar watch from the 1970s. The original required you to press the button to read the time. This retro watch model has been slightly updated, with a hybrid display that is still readable when the button is not pressed. You can brighten up the display by pressing the button, sticking to the tactile nature that made the original so fun.
Buy: Hamilton Pulsar Digital Watch $745.00
5. Casio Vintage CA53W-1 Men’s Calculator Watch
BEST WATCH FROM THE 80S
Digital timekeeping was still relatively new in the 1980s, but the technology was more affordable, so brands used the 80s as a sandbox for experimentation. One example is this calculator watch, which combined two things that Casio was good at making. You probably won’t get away with using this watch to cheat on your math test, but it will at least come in handy when it comes time to calculate the restaurant bill.
Buy: Casio Calculator Watch $21.19 (original $24.95) 15% off
Thought digital watches couldn’t be stylish? This evokes the classic watch design of the 1960s, but offers a little extra functionality in the form of a digital window at the bottom of the analog dial. You can cycle through digital time, alarm, month/day/date, time zone, and stopwatch functions with the touch of a button. The small dial makes it less ostentatious than the average gold watch.
Buy: Casio Gold Analog Digital Watch $48.00 (orig. $52.40) 8% OFF
7. Timex T80 x SPACE INVADERS Watch
BEST NEW WATCH
It doesn’t get more ’80s than this digital Timex, which combines a classic square plastic watch with a design inspired by space invaders. While you can’t play the game on the watch, you do get features like Indiglo backlight, chronograph, calendar display, and an alarm.
Buy: Timex Space Invaders Digital Watch $89.00
8. Bulova Archive Series: Computron
Bulova’s Computron is a real oddity, and it’s no surprise that it originated in the 1970s. While today’s digital watches are all about function, it’s certainly a question of shape. The case is trapezoidal in shape, tapering at the top and widening at the bottom, evoking a computer console one would expect to see on a spaceship. The actual time display is housed at the very bottom of the watch, leaving most of the case mostly decorative. Note that the button must be pressed to display the time.
Buy: Bulova Computron Watch $89.00 (original $350.00) 75% OFF
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