Fable: The Persistent Chemist

There was once a watch company that decided to make a watch with an LCD screen. It brought it out in 1973 at a price of $500.

One of the company’s directors asked the company’s chemist how much it would cost the company in customer claims if the whole lot failed.

The reply was $250-500,000. The director was happy to write that off
if needs be.

But the chemist couldn’t bear the thought of his product failing and initiated a range of accelerated aging tests to check out the watches.

None were returned in the one year guarantee period.

Although LCD digital watches were eventually replaced by a popular return to analogue watches, the work of the chemist had a massive pay off: LCD TV.

Moral: The rewards of technology development are often unexpected



  1. You’re right, Number Checker, I’ve changed it. Thanks.

  2. I think you are missing a zero in the third paragraph.

  3. You’re right Mark, Seiko was what I was referring to. But thanks for that. Interesting.

  4. I assume you’re thinking of Seiko and their 06LC watch. Whilst this was the first LCD watch with a six digit LCD display there were earlier LCD watches, e.g. see http://www.ledwatches.net/photo-pages/gruen-teletime-lcd.htm

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