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Texas Instruments TI-500

The first watch of many kids of the 70s


This Texas Instruments LED watch was one of the first digital watches that sold for under $50. At only $20, this watch was sold in large numbers and became the first watch for many kids of the 1970s.

Texas Instruments Home Computer Ad from the late 1970s

Unfortunately, this price war also had the dual impact of putting most LED watch companies out of business and also giving LED watches a reputation for being cheap and disposable instead of precision high tech instruments. The watch industry and the cachet of digital watches have never fully recovered.

Nevertheless, the TI-500 is a very simple and friendly looking digital watch with excellent accuracy, durability, and light weight. The display is reasonably bright and readable despite the fact that it uses small magnifiers above each digit to make the digits look larger. It's a comfortable and unpretentious watch and has retro appeal to the millions of kids who owned one in the 1970s. The brown color is so very 1970s and the round shape was common to many inexpensive LED watches of the era.


Case: Good.
The case and case back are in good condition with only minor scratches and nicks.

Face / Hands: Excellent.
All LED digits and segments are complete and bright.

Crystal: Good.
The plastic crystal has numerous minor but visible scratches and scuffs.

Band / Bracelet: Fair.
Time has not been the kindest to the band which is a bit wrinkled.

Function / Accuracy: Excellent.
All functions work perfectly. Digital quartz accuracy.