Sexum XXX animated watch

The Sexum XXX animated watch, produced by Cheong Koon Co. Ltd. dates from 1981 and is, without doubt, one of the most unique and unusual LCD watches ever.

There are a number of features that set it apart from most other LCD watches from the early 1980s, not least of which are the dual LCDs that make up the display. Double-layered LCDs were seen in a few watches, among them the Nelsonic Space Attacker and Pulsar invader-style game watch where the entire display was replaced when entering a certain mode.

To accomplish this, the LCDs were placed on top of each other with one line of contacts available for each (one top, the other bottom). More sophisticated LCDs required the top and bottom lines of contacts to control a single LCD, but the dual LCDs were an inspired design decision and one that wasn’t repeated in many watches (cost being a significant factor).

The other unique feature of this particular watch was the nature of its animation. There are few animated LCD watches from this era which aren’t games, and those that there are are generally triggered by the alarm going off.

Outside of this one, and the Nelsonic/Waltham Dixie Cannon watch, there isn’t much in the animation-only sphere, but this is the only one that you wouldn’t show to your grandmother!

That”s right – an LCD watch with pron! Well, kind of. Apple computer fans (I mean old school fans – ][+ and ][e style) might remember an app called French Postcard from about 1982 – it’s kind of like that.

Boy meets girl, clothes are shed, and some very consensual activity is undertaken.

And all to the tune of the Can-Can. At least that’s all I thought it was, before finding my third Sexum-style watch which played not only that famous French tune, but also another – La Marseillaise – the French national anthem! That certainly came as a bit of a surprise. The manual gives nothing away either – very nondescript.

UPDATE: I picked up another Sexum watch recently (see repair log below) that had a few problems but, once repaired, I was pleasantly surprised to find it had a different tune again – You Are My Sunshine – which I’d never heard was one of the melody options of this watch, so a bit of a bonus.

The animation repeats a couple of times while the alarm tune plays (you can also trigger it without setting the alarm by pressing the two right-hand buttons simultaneously.

Production numbers of this odd and unique watch vary greatly – one ebay auction stated (quite authoritatively) that only around 600 were ever made but I suspect this may be a few thousand short. The cost of producing this watch in such low numbers would have been prohibitive for the manufacturers, despite being located in the hub of ‘copy watches’ at the beginning of the 80s.

Even so, they are very hard to find today. I’ve been lucky enough to own three (almost four) of these conversation pieces – the unlucky fourth was sent from the US but never arrived; possibly a dodgy postie or letterbox thieving neighbour is sporting one of the coolest examples of 1980s tack on their wrist instead.

This is possibly the only LCD watch with such a risque display – several LED watches from the late 1970s had a ‘secret’ option to display a ‘Let’s F*ck’ message (along with some tamer messages) and one such LED watch even allowed the wearer to programme their own message onto the display.

I’ve another LCD watch with ‘Time to F*ck’ on the crystal but not part of the LCD itself; likewise, there’s an analog variety of watch with a sweeping black disk that reveals the ‘Let’s F*ck’ message for 10 seconds or so each minute.

The Sexum XXX animated watch though is in a class of its own. Check out the original advertisement for the watch, and also a review from 1982’s Infoworld magazine – and keep an eye out at garage sales, flea markets, and anywhere old watches tend to gather; you never know how lucky you might get!

VIDEO:

STATUS: NOT CURRENTLY FOR SALE

Repair log

While these watches are unique, they have a tendency to stop working, or have LCD issues, or no/quiet sound. A Sexum watch I picked up recently had two of those problems – the animation was only partially working, and it had no sound.

The animation problem was surprisingly easy to fix. Removing the screws from the module, one was quite different to the others. It was threaded, rather than self-tapping, and once the module was apart I discovered why. The original screw had been inadvertently dropped into the battery holder and had either shorted out one part of the circuit, or had separated the circuitboard contact from the LCD. This removed, and the module reassembled, and the animation was 100%.

The sound was a bit trickier, being two-fold. First the upconverter coil (assuming that’s what it is in these watches; it looked more like a magnet) had come apart and one part was sitting in its receptable not touching any part of the circuit. It’s a bit of a grind to unsolder/solder these from the circuitboard, and the one I replaced it with didn’t work; so I fixed the original and resoldered it back in.

Reassembled and there was sound. But way too quiet – you had to hold the watch right by your ear in a quiet room to hear it. I suspected the piezo was also at fault and separating it from the caseback revealed it was dirty and corroded. Cleaned up the caseback and looked for a better condition piezo from my spares box and came up with a winner.

Watch reassembled and tested – 100%. Better still, the melody was You Are My Sunshine which I’ve never seen in this watch before so a bit of an extra bonus.

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6 Responses to “Sexum XXX animated watch”

  1. Susan Wiegman says:

    I am looking for this watch. I have one that doesn’t work. Don’t know where to get it fixed. I want another one. Please let me know where I can get my hands on one. Have been checking e-bay for over a year.

    • liquid says:

      Hi Susan, I’ve seen a couple on eBay over the past 12 months but they all seem to have issues. I’m looking for one for spares, so if you still have your non-working watch and want to sell it, please get in touch 🙂

  2. aj says:

    Just found a xxx-rated sexum watch in a thriftstore today only paid $.50 for it baught a battery for it and it woks very good. This watch is so cool. What an awesome find.

  3. Burt Stern says:

    HI , was given a SEXUM watch that requires some repair work . wHERE CAN THIS BE DONE ??
    lIVE IN Florida .

    • liquid says:

      Hi Burt, that really depends on what’s wrong with it. What kind of problems does it have? Finding a watchmaker to look at an LCD watch is a bit of a rarity these days so hopefully it’s an easy fix. The modules are pretty flaky to be honest, particularly if old batteries have been left to leak inside them but you never know.

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