MTV Music Television Reminder Watch


This is an early MTV Wristwatch from the 80’s. It’s got a metal case and bracelet in black and a digital face. The face has an image like a TV screen (I just noticed that after having this watch for about 8 years) complete with what appear to be dials or buttons down the right of the TV. The watch has a day indicator at the top with a special feature- a reminder box. The reminder box displays a beating digital heart in the upper right of the LCD. I don’t know for sure but I bet the beating heart reminder came on when MTV was airing a particular show. Headbanger’s Ball, perhaps? I found this at a thrift store in Pennsylvania. I’ve acquired about 5 MTV watches through the years. This is the earliest model I’ve seen.

Snickers Candy Bar Advertising Wristwatch


This is an interesting find- a Snickers candy bar watch with moving dial. The seconds dial displays Snickers candy bar wrapper designs from 1930-1990. The face is gold with shiny, embossed stars across it and the case and hands are also gold. It has a Japan quartz movement and Mars, inc. 1989 written across the bottom of the face. I’m guessing this was a promotional item celebrating the new design of the wrapper that came out in 1990. I got this from a collector a few months back and it’s in perfect condition. This is definitely the most luxurious-looking advertising watch I have seen. No manufacturer is listed and I can’t find any mention of the promotion on the internet. This is gorgeous in hand.

Nestle KitKat Advertising Wristwatch


In Europe, the KitKat candy bar is different from the one that is sold in the United States. I like this watch because I didn’t see it promoted in the US. I got it from England where I know we’re talking about a whole different kind of candy. Watches in tins are valuable to me, so I had to have then when I ran across it. The band is black and red faux leather and the face is oval with the KitKat logo on it. The manufacturer isn’t listed but I can tell you that the quality is pretty good. The case is metal and sturdy and the movement is quartz. It had warranty papers with it but absolutely no indication of brand. The only piece of info is that the service center has an address in the U.K. Because of this watch, I like England all over again.

Eastman Drum Major Novelty Character Wristwatch


A whole new kind of collectable watch is one with animation. Mechanical animation. Check out this Eastman manual wind up watch. A common type of mechanical animation seems to be the eyes of a character displayed on the face of the watch. That’s what happens with this watch when you wind it up. With the beating of the seconds, the character’s eyes move up and down. The cool thing about this Eastman is that the character appears to be a drum major! I have never seen any other watch that commemorated the fine sport. I wonder if this is the only one that is or was ever available? I bought it on eBay about 5 years ago solely because it was a drum major. It’s in perfect condition with a thin leather strap that is very small so it must be a children’s watch. I’ve been known to wear this one on special occasions. When needing to pass time, there is something to be said about becoming mesmerized as the mechanical ticks steal your seconds away.

Ohm's Law Novelty Wristwatch


Surprise! I’m a geek. The TechNoteTime Ohm’s Law wristwatch is actually useful to me. Need to calculate power, current, voltage or resistance? This watch will remind you how. And in case you forgot the color coding for resistors, its got you covered. The Ohm’s Law wristwatch has cleverly placed colored bands at the numbers corresponding to resistor color codes. For example, the 1K ohm resistor would have a brown-black-red mark. Reading from the watch would make 1-0-2 which equals 1000 or 1K ohm. Genious. If only I had this in my first year of college, I could’ve spent more time on that electronic cat pee detector that I was making. I so wish I were kidding. Geek.

Sharp Wheel of Fortune Game Watch


Will the real Wheel of Fortune watch please stand up? Here it is. The first and original watch from the game show of the same name. Made in the 80’s, when Wheel of Fortune was the show to watch, this watch wasn’t considered a novelty or an advertising watch. It was a legitimate, high-quality timepiece from Sharp. I had to wait until my birthday to get this watch because it was $24.00. For a kid, that was a lot for a wristwatch in the early 80’s. It came in black and white, and it included a game booklet. Inside the booklet are 50 unsolved phrases, questions, nouns, etc., from the show. Using the crown to stop the seconds wheel from turning, you can imitate a spin, play the game and try to solve the puzzle. All the answers are in the back of the booklet. I call this the real Wheel of Fortune watch because a 2nd watch came out in the 90’s that is similar. The 90’s version came in a tin and was much cheaper looking. It was called a “collectible” but is a far cry from this original Sharp model. The easiest way to tell is that the wheel on the cheap version was not a direct replica of the wheel on the game show. The cheap version can be found in abundance on eBay and still at some stores today. This original version is hard to find. I bought a few of the original Sharp models from eBay over the years so now I have a few black and white models. But this, this is the original one I received on my birthday. It still has the Sears price tag on it. This is quite possibly the watch that made me realize I needed to start collecting. I love this watch.


ChatterBox Novelty Recording Wirstwatch


How cool would you have been in 1990 sporting this Sasquatch of a watch on your arm? It looks more like a portable radio than a voice recorder. Check out the size of the 2 batteries it needs! Way back in 1990, apparently before we had computers or fashion sense, tape recorders where the size of a shoebox. So wearing this must’ve been the way to impress your friends or get someone’s phone number. As you can see, it was shown on Entertainment Tonight and various other TV shows. I’m not saying it was the iPod of the time, but it did get some air time. Enough knocking it, though- If I had seen this in 1990, I would’ve bought it. Personal voice memo devices (digital) were popular back then and of course, people were no longer buying tape recorders. This probably was a neat item to have especially since you can mess with the playback speed. I bought it on eBay for I’m sure way less then it was sold for in 1990. There are other voice memo wristwatches out there ranging from adult, name brand types to plastic, children’s types. None have voice changing capability and none are as...large.

Purely for voice recording, try this one.

Del Monte Alvin and the Chipmunks Pop Up Advertising Watch


Pop-up watches are very collectable. In the 80’s and 90’s, there were many floating around. This watch was a mail order promotional item from DelMonte. DelMonte teamed up with Alvin and the Chipmunks , who at the time, had a cartoon show. It’s interesting in a couple ways. First, the pop-up button is the DelMonte snack cup that Alvin is holding. Next, incorporating the cartoon holding the product is a great marketing idea. I saw this same watch in a thrift store in Texas with a $45 price tag on it. That was in 1999 and it surprised me back then. Once again, if you come across a promotion for a wristwatch such as this one, try to get more than one.

Donald Duck Orange Juice Happy Birthday Watch


This is another one of my favorite watches, style-wise. It was a promotional item commemorating Donald Duck’s 50th birthday, available from Donald Duck Orange Juice in 1984. The style is what makes this watch. It has the typical Bradley style of the timeframe with the round, metal case and digital display. The colors and Donald Duck perched at the top of the digital display are perfect. Interesting that it doesn’t say anything about the product. If I had two of these I would wear this watch. That says a lot about this piece. It also makes my Corum jealous.

Chupa Chups Advertising Watch


What best to pair with your Chupa Chup cola-flavored lollipop? An airplane trip, of course! That’s why there’s a floating airplane inside this Chupa Chup’s watch. Don’t worry- I didn’t get it at first either. I was at Schipol airport in Amsterdam in 2000 when I found this at the gift shop. I had to buy a 50 pack of Chupa Chups to get the watch. Totally worth it. As any Chronophile knows, the watch is more valuable as the oddity increases. It’s got a quartz movement behind the bubble and Chupa Chups lollipops are pictured on the band. After 8 years the water inside the bubble watch is still full and clear. After 8 years, I’m still giving away Chupa Chups at Halloween.

Pierre Rucci Thermal Time


What in the heck is thermal time? I got this watch at a thrift store several years ago. It has a ceramic Fossil-esque case that makes it look legitimate. It says thermal time on it and has a temperature track on the outside of the time track. I figured it must do something, right? So I took it home, put in a battery and waited. Nothing. It tells time of course, but what about this whole thermal business? Maybe if I heat up the case, the temperature band will change color indicating what temperature it is? Nope. Maybe it’s just broken? I took it apart (of course) and nothing inside but a standard quartz. Disappointing. Regardless, it still looks cool and seems like it’s doing something. If I’m missing it, someone let me know.

The Original Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner Watch


This was the original or first macaroni and cheese promotional wristwatch. In the late 80’s, Kraft had a promotion for this wristwatch in exchange for 3 UPC symbols from the back of the box. I love this watch because of the shape. It’s long and rectangular just like a box of mac & cheese. I also like that they had a nice image on the face of the watch and kept true to the colors of the product. The only thing I cannot figure out is how to change the battery. There are no physical indications on the back of the watch for opening the case. The only think I can guess is that you go in from the face or you simply don’t ever change the battery. I’m not about to mar the watch just to get to the battery so the three I have will stay non-working. There was a second wristwatch promotion that came out a few years later, but the watch is no where near as interesting.

C-Watch Talking Time Watch


Feel like being insulted? Then this is the watch for you. The C-Watch does it with a frown. If you didn’t guess it by the unfriendly digital face, wait until you hear it. At the push of a button, the watch will tell you what time it is and then insult you. Sometimes it gets so mad it just makes a loud, nonsensical chattering. It’s not without any charm, though. It has a stopwatch complete with running man animation, an alarm and most importantly, an off button. I found this at Toys R Us in the electronics section about 8 years ago. This is a bad digi-pet that ignorance won’t kill.

Advance "Astrolon" Wristwatch


I love research and development. There’s no other way to get from here to there. In 1971, Tissot was on the bleeding edge. They came up with a concept called Research Idea 2001. Another name for it was Astrolon. This well-respected brand made a watch almost entirely of plastic. The research effort was in part to find cheaper means to make a mechanical watch but mostly to try new materials. The result was big, futuristic and inaccurate. What is labeled as a “marketing disaster” almost jeopardized Tissot’s future. But it didn’t. Tissot is strong and edgy still today. Have you physically touched a Tissot T Touch? This is the beauty and risk in R&D. Failures make you and your competitors stronger. Do you think there is any link between the Swatch (which came out more than a decade later) and the concept of the Astrolon? I thought of the Astrolon when I saw this Advance in a case at a thrift store. It’s a quartz and does run on a battery, but most of the internal gears are plastic. It’s plastic exhibition case let’s you see everything on the inside from the front and the back. I’ve never heard nor seen any other Advance watch like this one. Another interesting fact about this model is that it’s really loud. I have it in a case with the glass door shut and I can hear it from several feet away. I’m so glad I ran across this. I think I paid $5.99 which is a lot at a thrift store for a plastic watch. I’ve yet to get my hands on the original Tissot version. Sears made one similar to Tissot and it’s called Astrolon, too. I’ve seen both models on eBay but usually they are non-working.

Bud Light Wristwatch Runs on Beer


Another great example of a novelty wristwatch. This Bud Light digital watch is shaped like a can and it runs on beer! Thanks to the joys of a wet cell battery, you can actually soak this watch in beer (or any other liquid) and it will power up the digital display. I love this watch because it has two things going for it- the shape and the functionality. I would’ve bought it just for the shape, but throw in the fact that I can soak it in beer and now I’m looking for my Frat Rock CD and a 40 of Natty Light! I found this on eBay not too long ago. Wet cell battery power is a very old technology. Watches that run on water were a novelty in the mid to late 90’s. I don’t know how or where this watch was offered. It could’ve been a promotion or it could’ve been sold at a brewery or on-line store. You will have a hard time finding one now. Check eBay.

Sea-Monkeys Aquarium Wristwatch


Many watches earn the title of Novelty. Some deserve it and some don’t. The Sea-Monkey Aquarium Watch earns this title with honors. Why? No one else thought it would be a good idea to make a portable aquarium for brine shrimp that you can wear on your wrist. They thought of everything. The aquarium part is removable and simply twist-locks onto the front of the digital watch. A Sea-Monkey extractor tool is provided for grabbing the little guys from their habitat and putting them into the aquarium. I got this for Christmas in 1999 and I have actually worn it with the Sea-Monkeys inside. They survived. Bravo Sea-Monkey people for thinking of us. Novelty Chronophiles salute you. You can get a Sea-Monkey wrist aquarium but it doesn’t have the watch on it anymore. It’s available from Amazon.

Coca-Cola Advertising Wristwatch with Polar Bear Display


Don’t underestimate the power of the packaging when it comes to wristwatches. Take this Coca-Cola watch, for example. Nothing all that special about the watch itself. It has a typical logo and product image on the face, leather strap and silver case. I wouldn’t have looked at this watch twice if it weren’t for the packaging. Because there are tons of Coca-Cola wristwatches out there, by itself, this watch would not have been special enough for me to acquire. But throw in a creative display like the stuffed polar bear, and the game changes. Now it’s unique and desirable. The added plus is that the polar bear is from an advertising campaign of a known timeframe. I know when I first saw a Coke commercial with a polar bear. I can relate it to a period of my life (first few years out of college). I remember who gave it to me and knew me enough to know I would like it. Now it’s forever meaningful to me and it all started with the packaging.

Unique packaging adds value. Always.

Reagan Time 1980 GOP Wristwatch


There’s a million Spiro Agnew and Nixon’s “I’m no crook” watches out there. I’ve seen one in almost every thrift store and they can always be found on eBay. When I last checked, there were a total of 9 Spiro Agnew watches of 5 different types. Other past presidents, thus far, don’t have the same showing when it comes to political apparel. That’s why I snagged this watch on eBay a few years ago. This is a perfect example of 80’s style digital watches. Chunky, square metal case, a clean, blocky face and a mesh band. This watch couldn’t have been worn to be in such good condition. The mesh band hasn’t bent or stretched, the case is unmarred and the LCD hasn’t bled. Not bad after 28 years. Too bad I can’t say that about the GOP. Clinton’s growing nose or backwards time might be easier to find in 8 years. I’m talking about the watches- what did you think I was talking about?

Old Navy Calorie Counter Wristwatch


I’m sure you’ve seen exercise or weight loss contraptions that you’re pretty sure don’t work but people seem to buy them anyway? I knew the Old Navy Calorie Counter probably wasn’t going to work when I spied it in the half-price basket at the checkout. Doesn’t matter. Had to have it. Would’ve paid $15 for it. If you’re a true Chronophile, you know why we do this. Does it matter that the “pedometer” doesn’t move regularly when I walk? No. Does it matter that the battery was dead before I bought it? Nope. Does it matter that the word Calometer written across the front is either misspelled or not a word at all? You know the answer. This only makes the watch more valuable and more of a novelty. What matters is that they tried. They tried to make an inexpensive yet gadgety wristwatch. I would much rather watch the mechanical flickering of the pedometer on the front of this watch than the Tech4o Traileader count it out digitally. But that really comes down to personal preference. Just like why you chose to put the neon yellow sport grips on your NordicTrack.

Don’t put neon yellow sport grips on your NordicTrack.

Tic Tac Mail Order Premium Watch


This is perhaps the best of the best of mail order promotional watches. Tic tac had a promotion where you needed to collect points from the back of their packages. They showed a picture of the watch on the mail order form, but didn’t show the nice tin it would arrive in. Watches in cool packaging like tins, boxes and plastic shapes hold far more value for the collector. That’s not the only reason why this is the best mail order promo, the watch itself is really pretty cool. The band is a bright, kelly green plastic that’s stuffed and then stitched, just like a leather band. The case and buckle are brushed aluminum, while the face bears reverse embossed numbers and tic tac logo. Lastly, the crown is at the 4 o’clock position, making it more refined than your typical mail order promo. This is one of the watches in my collection that I constantly take out and look at. They only offered it in this color and for a short period of time in the late 90s. I have all the original packaging for this one, and I also picked up another one recently from a collector, so now I have two. Attention to detail is what makes this watch valuable. I opened it up to take a peek at the movement and guess what...even thought it’s quartz, the movement case is all metal instead of the typical black plastic. Now that’s just going above and beyond to impress.

If you find a mail order promotion, try to get more than one. The promotion will be short-lived and the watch will only increase in value. You can’t buy this watch. I did find you a watch that will store your tic tacs, though. How’s this Freestyle Men’s lockdown hidden compartment watch?

McDonald's Digital Analog Hands Watch


I love it when a watch has digital animation. In the late 80s and early 90s, the big thing was the digital watch with analog hands. Interesting concept that’s so cheap to make. That’s probably why McDonald’s went with this model during a promotion in the early 90s. They came in different colors and I think you had to buy a sandwich to get one. I wish I would’ve eaten more than one sandwich.

LCD Electronic Piano Watch


The only reason to look through the Sunday paper as a child, was because of the adds. In the 80s, there were many mail order premiums for new products or advertisements that were only found in the paper. That’s when I saw the advertisement for the LCD Electronic Piano Watch. A one-page, color advertisement listed the watch for $14.99. It wasn’t that I didn’t have the money to order what was sure to become the prize in my collection, but I didn’t have a checkbook. It took a year for me to convince my parents to write me a check. By the time they did, the watch had been marked down to $4.99. After what seemed like another year, it showed up complete with a small book of songs. I was already into electronics as a geeky kid. Combining my love for watches with a mini electronic piano was such a cool thing, I didn’t even try to take it apart for about a month! This was one of the first dozen watches I started my collection with and it remains in the top 10 favorites of my collection. It takes three LR44s to power this guy up and yes, I can still crank out Long, Long Ago like your great aunt Bess.

You won’t find one of these new. Your best bet is a MP3 player watch like this one by Skullcandy.