Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) digital hands watch

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) digital hands watch

Nothing screams the 1980s (or maybe 1990s) like Kentucky Fried Chicken; before having the word ‘Fried’ in your name became a bad idea.

Not that KFC hasn’t stopped frying chicken, it’s just that now no one can tell that they do. Probably.

There was a conspiracy theory that suggested they changed the name, not for the ‘Fried’ but for the ‘Chicken’ when there was a theory put forward that what they served wasn’t actually chicken, but some genetically-modified creature that had eight drumsticks and some meat with bones, but couldn’t be described as chicken any more due to some FDA ruling. No one ever produced such a ruling, or any proof, so it died a death, or people just moved onto their next conspiracy.

At some time in the late 1980s in New Zealand though, Kentucky Fried had a promotion where you could get a digital hands LCD watch for buying some promotional chicken pack.

Which, of course, I did. Just for the watch of course.

It came in at least two colours — I know this because I originally had a black one and recently found this white version. My original disappeared around 20 years ago when I sold it as part of a lot of watches and regretted it since; especially since it still worked perfectly after all those years.

When this watch arrived, it didn’t. Sensing it was probably a leaky battery, I opened it up and sure enough there was old battery gunk all over. One good clean and some repainted traces with silver conductive paint later, I reassembled it and…nothing. It’s problems ran deeper than that.

Putting more voltage through it did nothing; putting it in the fridge did nothing either. But giving it a blast with the hair dryer made all the LCD segments light up and when they faded, it ran OK until it cooled down and went blank again.

I desoldered the crystal and tested it — OK. There isn’t much else on the board, besides the chip and two SMD capacitors.

So I desoldered the capacitors and tested them (around 55nf each) which is about right. Removed the old grey solder and replaced with shiny silver instead, resoldered and reassembled — boom! Now it’s working just like it did in the 1980s.

There’s just one button – on the side – and it’s to change the time. When you hold it in the seconds return to zero and the minute and hour hands move around until you reach the desired time.

Despite only having a single function I really like this watch. There’s a strong wave of nostalgia with it and I’ve always been a sucker for digital hands watches.

A classic of its time — and good for another 35 years I reckon!

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