Sanyo is a name more associated with television and audio products, but for a time in the 1980s Sanyo also made a reasonable number of watches.
They had their own radio watch (which can still be found, used but in reasonable condition on eBay these days — mostly because it used an oval battery which hasn’t been available for years, so once the battery went flat they were put away and not worn to death) and made a great clone of the Nelsonic Grand Prix watch with the Sanyo V. Speaking of game watches, a very rare one is the Sanyo V Space Wars.
They either didn’t make their watches in large volumes, or those they did make have long gone to landfill, because while there are still vintage Sanyo digital watches to be found, they are not great in number, and often the ones you see will be the only ones of a particular model you’ll see.
Like this one — a rather stunning digital hands watch.
I had doubts this one would ever work again after finding it buried in a lot of old watches on eBay. Someone had attempted a repair and done some damage which I didn’t think I’d be able to repair.
Often (pretty much always) its easier to repair watches no one has touched yet, even if there is a lot of battery corrosion, just so you can go through a methodical list of things to clean, fix and test in order to get a watch running again.
If you get a watch where someone else has ‘had a go’ you can throw your list out of the window because you don’t know what additional damage might have been done.
A further issue with this one is the way the LCD is joined to the circuitboard. It does have zebra strips, but instead of the circuitboard being screwed to the module, there are clips on the case that must be bent and adjusted evenly so there is consistent pressure on all corners of the LCD. With this in mind, even if it’s going, there can still be a lot of segments not lighting up directly attributable to this.
And lastly, digital hands watches need a lot of power. There are a lot of segments to light up, especially when the display is being tested or the alarm is sounding and it plays an animation on the display. So components like SMD capacitors must be in range (and there’s no way of telling what the original range should be since there are no schematics for these, and the capacitors have no markings either).
But somehow I got lucky. Changing components, cleaning, adjusting, tweaking, whatever it was I got it working. I’m not keen to crack it open again though in case it un-fixes it again!
A lovely looking watch, with 12/24 hour time, date, stopwatch, hourly chime, alarm, countdown timer, and display/animated test – and it has its original bracelet too.
The only thing letting it down is the graphic on the front crystal. When the crystal was removed, some of the graphic stuck to the case so there is some crazing to the graphics if you look carefully. I could always recreate these another time though so it’s not a biggie. I’m really not inclined to touch it again, though, other than to wear and enjoy it — such was the effort required to bring it back to life!