Waltham quartz wristwatch with LCD display, c 1976.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Digital watches were first released to the market in the early 1970s, sporting bright LED (light-emitting diode) displays. These LEDs used a lot of battery power so the displays only operated for a couple of seconds at the push of a button. By the mid-1970s, LCDs (liquid-crystal displays) were developed as an alternative. LCDs use only a fraction of the battery power needed to run LEDs so the LCD displays could be left on continuously. By the late 1970s, LED watches had all but died out. This early LCD digital wristwatch was made by Societe des Gardes Temps (SGT).