HP-01 calculator watch
March 27, 2005 12:03 AM   Subscribe

"Time: elusive and immediate...limited yet infinite. Because time is important to you, Hewlett-Packard introduces the HP-01, a new dimension in time management and personal computation." Truly, such an important model number could only be bestowed upon the king of all early calculator watches. No less than three batteries were required (two for the LED display alone), and even HP's impressive engineering was unable to save the HP-01 from the curse of bulkiness; it did not sell well at the $650 price point. The HP-01 was discontinued in 1980, as inexpensive LCD calculator watches began flooding the market (don't lie, you know you had one).
posted by Galvatron (17 comments total)
And yes, I too fell prey to one of Casio's calculator watches from the early 80s. As much fun as that was, I think I got more mileage out of my Kronoform.
posted by Galvatron at 12:06 AM on March 27, 2005

They were before my time, alas - but now that gold one would be considered true oldschool bling. A true wrist clock. Thanks for turning me on to these things, now I have another thing to add to my wishlist.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:09 AM on March 27, 2005

"Southend seems to be melting away ... the stars are swirling ... a dustbowl ... my legs are drifting off into the sunset ... my left arm's come off too." A frightening thought struck him: "Hell," he said, "how am I going to operate my digital watch now?"
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:24 AM on March 27, 2005

My dream digital watch (back in the day) was the Synchronar 2100 Sunwatch...

Invented by Roger Riehl back in the early 1970's, the Synchronar went on sale in 1974, and was featured in gadgethead droolworthy print advertisements throughout the rest of that decade.

The Synchronar's features included: perpetual solar power, permanent hermetic seal for diving to 750 feet, perpetual calendar (requires user input every 3 out of 4 centuries), visual (!) alarm, and user adjustable speed correction.

Now -- 30 years on and watch manufacturers have yet to match the functional robustness of the Synchronar 2100 Sunwatch!
posted by fairmettle at 3:12 AM on March 27, 2005

don't lie, you know you had one
I didn't, but I so wanted one.

Nice post.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:17 AM on March 27, 2005

posted by sklero at 4:48 AM on March 27, 2005

See also Nerd Watches.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:58 AM on March 27, 2005

OMG! I just had a flashback to my youth. I once had a watch/computer system where the watch could plug into a simple computer and then you could write basic programs for it and make printouts. I can't remember all the details, anybody know what I'm talking about?
posted by crazy finger at 6:29 AM on March 27, 2005

It would have been cheaper to just wear a sign saying "take my lunch money" but in 25 years no one would want to post it on MeFi.
posted by tommasz at 7:34 AM on March 27, 2005

I bought a TI digital watch in New York in 1979 and wore it proudly to a performance the next night at a SoHo gallery. At exactly 9:00 PM, the naked lady was playing her cello in a tub fully of jelly when my watch started playing "The Yellow Rose of Texas"...
posted by 327.ca at 8:37 AM on March 27, 2005

there are 2, hp-01s currently on ebay
posted by emdog at 8:54 AM on March 27, 2005

Combining the old, the new, and having a nerd factor of about 11, the Nixie watch.
posted by eriko at 8:54 AM on March 27, 2005

I've still got my old HP-01 somewhere. Had a friend working for HP at the time so got a deal on it, but it was still an arm and a leg. But those were the days when I was single, carefree and er...stupid? Nah, it was a great watch, excellent for impressing people down the pub because you could input somebody's birth date and it would tell you what day of the week they were born on. Well I thought it was clevar!
posted by Duug at 12:51 AM on March 28, 2005

crazy finger: Absolutely! I'm pretty sure you're talking about the Seiko UC-2000, an early 80's wristwatch which came with either one of two keyboards. The watch itself was more than anything a display/storage unit, and the large keyboard had a z80 processor where you could run simple BASIC applications. There was also a ROM reader and a small thermal printer built into the large keyboard. There were several ROMs, and I briefly remember having a translation dictionary which I could run on the watch. Also the phone book was outstanding considering what other people had on their cheap Casio data bank watches.

My dad brought home one of these after a travel to Japan and it was utterly weird and fascinating. Unfortunately I managed to dip the watch in water, rendering it useless, and it was since lost. If I see one of these on Ebay I'll probably go for it. It's still pretty cool and has a very uniquely 80's design to it.
posted by rune at 3:47 AM on March 28, 2005

Looking at how they stored the stylus in the buckle reminds me that we haven't advanced all that much. PDAs also need a stylus, and whether it's a little thing that stores in a buckle or slips into a hole in the unit, if one careless drops the stylus it's a pain in the arse to use your toy until you get another one.

I think it's time to start genetic engineering to develop humans that have a stylus for one of their fingers to save them this agony.
posted by Doohickie at 6:14 AM on March 28, 2005

I think it's time to start genetic engineering to develop humans that have a stylus for one of their fingers to save them this agony.

Then again, there's always growing out your pinky nail...
posted by PurplePorpoise at 9:29 AM on March 28, 2005

Asteroids, anyone?

posted by deemer at 6:25 PM on March 28, 2005

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