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What Makes This Unique Vintage Smartwatch So Valuable?

A device from a time when digital was cutting edge tech

Michael Cruickshank
What Makes This Unique Vintage Smartwatch So Valuable?© 2019 Led-Forever.com

While we wait for the imminent release of the Moto360 smartwatch, and hear rumours of the iWatch coming in September or October of this year, it might be strange to remember that manufacturers have been trying to build ‘smart’ watches for years. Decades even…

The first really attempt at building a watch with secondary computing abilities, was the HP 01, a calculator wristwatch released in 1977 by Hewlett-Packard. Featuring an innovative (for the time) LED display and unique calculation abilities, this watch was truly before its time.  On the face of the watch was 28 buttons, which rather than facing outward, were recessed inward and intended to be used by a stylus.

Image: © 2014 Led-Forever.com

Packed full of what was, 37 years ago, high tech equipment, this watch was a rather chunky beast of a device. It weighed in at over 170 g and was 1.5 cm thick, making it much heavier than today’s smartphones.

Now a single-run prototype chrome model of the HP 01 is being sold on Ebay for the asking price of $14,500 - a massive sum for a product which sold for as little as a tenth of this almost 40 years ago. This being said, the device is now a collectors item, and as smartwatches become more and more of a popular product category, their value as a piece of history is sure to only increase.


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