The Unitrex Monte Carlo game watch is credited with being the first LCD game watch and dates back to 1977.
It came in two different case designs and in gold or silver. And that was that.
Until I found this – the Windert Micro Game watch.
Few people know much about the Monte Carlo watch, and from everyone I’ve spoken to who does, none of them have seen this version before. It’s the same module, but branded Windert, and is a super rare version of a watch that’s super rare anyway!
The watch tells the time (hour/minute) or the date (day/date) or another variation of the time (minutes/seconds) with a press of the upper right button.
Bottom left button is the (surprisingly bright) backlight, but the top left button is where the magic is.
It cycles through 3 games, the first being Jackpot (slot machine). Jackpot starts by animating all the digits in a flashing pattern. When the upper right button is pressed, it freezes the right digit, then the middle digit, and the left digit. The animation even slows a bit after the button is pressed, like a slot machine wheel slowing down. Get three matching digits and the display changes to all J’s — for JACKPOT!
Dice animates two digits, slowing down to reveal two numbers between 1 and 6. Not so much a game as a dice throw simulator.
Roulette animates the display and slows to reveal one number between 0 and 36. Not super exciting, but for 1977 LCD technology – quite amazing!
There was an LED watch (Dr Suriano) that had two dice which could be rolled which appeared in 1976 but again was more of a simulator than a game.
This watch was non-working when I received it (no surprises there!) and took ages (months on-and-off) to be repaired. I tried replacing components, reflowing solder, rebuilding battery contacts — all to no avail.
I finally found the problem by chance when a track, hidden beneath another component, had a tiny cut through it – imperceptible to the naked eye (and even under the microscope unless it was touched at just the right angle).
A tiny dot of solder and the Windert Micro Game lives again!
Great piece of history this and one that will remain in the never-sell part of my collection.