Pulsar P2 (Gold-Filled)
The world's first mass produced digital watch!
Roger Moore as James Bond
with his 1973 Pulsar P2
Although the Pulsar P1 gets credit for being the very first digital watch, it was a limited edition (of only 400) and the P2 was the first to digital watch to be produced in any significant number. The P2 entered the market with a huge splash in 1973 during the opening scenes of "Live and Let Die", the first James Bond movie starring Roger Moore.
The P2 was a very simple digital watch by today's standards. With its single button, it only had the capability to show the time (hours, minutes, and seconds) - no date, day of the week, stopwatch, alarm, or any other features were included. Still, the P2 was a technological breakthrough and is today considered by horological historians as the first entirely successful digital watch in history.
Bond decides he's spent enough time with Miss Caruso in the opening scene from
'Live and Let Die'
What made the P2 a success was the first use of large scale integrated (LSI) chip technology in a wristwatch. The first LED watch prototype that was shown by Hamilton at a press conference in May of 1970 had 44 discrete chips, each very simple. Only three prototypes existed and Hamilton struggled to keep at least one of them running for the duration of the one hour press conference. When the Pulsar P1 was introduced in mid 1972, the chip count was brought down to 25 but the module still had over 400 discrete connections. It proved again to be unreliable and was recalled within months. Although the Pulsar P1 was a historical landmark, it was not a technical or financial success. When the Pulsar P2 was introduced in 1973, it's Pulsar 2900 module replaced the entire arrangement of chips and connections with a single integrated circuit chip. This finally gave the digital watch the solid state reliability that designers had dreamed about and resulted in a design that was practical enough to build reasonably economically and reliable enough to wear. These factors are why the Pulsar P2 is now considered to be the very first successful digital watch.
Bill Bixby with the lovely (and tragic) Brenda Benet on one arm and Pulsar P2 on the other
Jack Nicholson and his leather banded Pulsar P2
Despite its limited capability, the stainless steel Pulsar P2 sold for $395 in 1973 - more than a Rolex Submariner which cost only $385 at the time. Despite the hefty price, the P2 became a highly coveted icon of the modern age. The elegant lines crafted by Hamilton's master watch case designer Jean Wuispchard made the P2 an instant classic. The Pulsar P2 found its way onto the wrists of a number of celebrities including Bill Bixby who wore his P2 on and off-screen, Peter Sellers, Jack Nicholson, and John Entwistle from The Who.
The P2 was available in two models, a stainless steel model called the "Astronaut" and a 14 KT gold filled "VIP" model. Solid gold models in 14KT and 18KT were also produced as a special order item.
Almost 40 years since its introduction, the P2 is still a very stylish and comfortable watch to wear. The segmented bracelet (21 links) is extremely comfortable and the watch is lighter than it looks. In addition, the dot style LED display manufactured by Litronix has large, bright digits and is very readable and attractive.
Peter Sellers with his Pulsar P2
Case: Very good.
The case is in very good condition with a few small marks. There are a few small marks on the front bezel - one to the upper right and one to the left under the display. The case back has one small scratch and two tiny pinprick indentations.
Face / Hands: Excellent.
All LED digits and segments are complete and very bright.
Crystal: Very good.
The red mineral glass crystal is in very good condition. It has one small mark toward the top edge near the center. There are a few very small hairline scratches.
Band / Bracelet: Very good.
The 14kt gold filled bracelet is complete with all 22 original links and will fit a large 8" wrist. The clasp has a number of small scratches but no dents and it contains the original magenet holder and U shaped magnet inside. The date on the clasp is "9-73".
Function / Accuracy: Excellent.
All functions work perfectly, the button is very responsive with a light touch, it sets easily and keeps excellent, very accurate time. The display is brighter than average with brilliant evenly lighted digits. One slight issue is that every once in a while, when you press the button the time will stay on and you may need to tap the button again to make it go off.