Seiko’s D409 was a forerunner to Casio’s highly successful Databank watches and was released in 1982.
It had a number of case variations, some smooth and curvy, and others like this chunky and angular example, the 5010 Sports 100 version.
While it featured the usual digital wristwatch functions of time, date, alarm and stopwatch, it’s main selling point was the ability of the wearer to set a number of screens of alpha-numeric messages in a very readable dot-matrix display, for recall later.
These messages were inputted using the ‘sign table’ at the bottom of the LCD.
Video game players would have picked it up straight away since it worked the same way as inputting your initials if you reached a high score on many games of the early 1980s.
You cycle through the letters to select the one you want with one button, and select with another. The messages are shown on a two line display, each line having 8 blocks of 5×6 (covering 16 letters at a time). With each message having a total of 112 possible digits, there were seven screens that could be scrolled through. In one of the slots, the watch displayed the message ‘This is your memory watch. Let us memorize anything you like for example tel. no. card no. name and address’.
An interesting gimmick and one that sold well — there are always a few of these on eBay at any one time and while the prices fluctuate a bit, you can usually find one in the style you like best for a price that’s reasonable.