Odyssey Programmable Melody Watch

Odyssey Programmable Melody Watch

Melody watches are pretty cool, ones with multiple melodies even better — but a watch that lets you program your own melody…priceless!

It has been suggested that Odyssey belonged to the UK electronic chain store Dixons, and they produced their own brand of watches under that name using mostly Beltime parts in the 1980s.

Thanks to a sticker inside the module, I can tentatively date this watch to around April 1982.

One slightly hidden but quite unusual feature of this watch is the ability to switch between American/British date format. I’ve only seen this in a couple of watches of this period and it’s a nice addition.

But what really makes this one special? It is, as far as I know, the only vintage LCD watch that lets you program whatever melody you like into it.

And that’s quite a feature! To accomplish this, it would have to have some writable ram to store these custom melodies, not to mention the functionality to even get the tunes in there in the first place.

It’s not the most intuitive watch, but that’s part of its charm – if it was too easy to use there wouldn’t be anywhere near as much satisfaction when you finally got your tune in there!

There is one built-in melody (The Sound of Music) and one space for you to make your own.

To make a custom melody you choose the note then the length of it (you can put rests in too) up to a max of 20 individual actions.

Thanks to the fabulously generous Mark Hill, I now have an electronic version of the manual. You can programme your melody in one of six keys — C Maj/A Min (default), G Maj/E Min (select sharp) or F Maj/D Min (select flat). The manual comes with a list of melodies but it’s more fun trying to find your favourite tunes in the right key and using them instead — thanks Mark!

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11 Responses to Odyssey Programmable Melody Watch

  1. Excellent! I had one of these around ’82 purchased from Dixons @ £9.99…. Only had it a week or so and the battery died so my father exchanged it for a more ‘suitable’ Casio (Module 160) can’t remember the model though. Thanks for the post!

  2. This watch was also branded a ZEON. (I had one as part of my collection when I started in 1979). It was a nightmare to program but the aesthetic appeal of the case sold me immediatley.

    • Interesting – I’ve never seen a Zeon like this; without the instructions it’s not impossible to program, but pretty close to it! Even with the instructions it takes ages but the results are definitely worth it – there’s something undeniably cool about a current tune blasting out of a 30-year-old watch 🙂 On the subject of other brands, I’ve seen a Buler version of this watch but without the buttons on the front – it uses four side buttons. Such a great watch!

  3. Interesting that you mentioned the Buler. There were many modules shared between the companies at the time, mostly used with the dual (battery rw46 I believe, or single battery (the most common) componentry with the Hitachi chipset, a larger version. The module I am referring to is the dep. 30423649. You can always tell these models as the buttons are at the very far corners of the bezel, it was a “tribute” to Seiko (as they all were ultimately;) The companies that branded THIS module were ZEON/BELTIME/ODYSSEY/ZETRON/INGERSOLL etc. BTW has anyone else spotted the fake Casios on e-bay that accommodate this (replica)module. It doesn’t even look like a Casio, their modules were somewhat specific unti copied by TIMEX eventually
    I could go on and on if anyone would like any assistance regarding parts or even information, I will gladly give it.

    • Do a lot of waiting… I think it was somewhere around the four year mark from when I started looking for one until I found it. A lot of people seem to remember the watch, but hardly anyone has one.

  4. Well, I have one of these – a “Zeon” branded example in fantastic condition with original strap and no battery rot despite containing it’s original “Ray-O-Vac” battery. The module is dated 1982 and when played with it loudly plays “The sound of music” but I cannot work out how to program it – it also has alarm and chrono features. The button at the side seems to just be a light, and the other three buttons are multi-functional.

  5. I have one of these somewhere in my attic… I wore it for years at school so it saw a lot of use. The brushed alu strip over the three keys on the front eventually came unglued and was lost…

    Yes, the default tune was “Sound of Music” but I used to program it with new tunes every week or so, songs I’d heard on the radio etc. I recall it worked quite well with tunes that had ever changing notes, but repeating notes needed a rest in between each one which ate up memory (which was very limited). The most annoying feature was if you accidentally pressed all three front buttons down at the same time, it completely reset the watch – so you had to set the time/date and re-enter your tune from scratch. I think the frustration got to me in the end so I put it in the drawer and got a cheapy Casio instead.

    I probably have the manual somewhere too, which includes a few tunes at the back. Must dig them out some time!

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