Zeon 7 Melodies Chrono

Zeon 7 Melodies Chrono

Zeon was, and still is, a UK-based watch importer and distributor who, interestingly, also owns the Ingersoll brand.

In the 1980s they were closely tied to licensed brands like Nintendo, James Bond (Eon Productions), DC Comics, Thunderbirds and more. Most (all?) of their watches were manufactured in Hong Kong and included game watches, melody watches, digital hands watches and calculator watches.

This particular watch is a rarity — mostly because Zeon also offered a 16-melody version of the same watch and if you had the choice of seven or 16 melodies, most people chose the latter. This has the flow-on effect of there being more 16-melody versions still around today, although they’re still not common and command some high prices, making the 7-melody version a more valuable collectable.

The watch has some nice features (as many digital-hands watches do) — there’s AM/PM time, with date, and an analog representation of the time on the ‘home’ screen. Then there’s dual time mode which shows an alternative time in the analog display but local time in the digital display. Next is alarm mode where you can choose one of the seven available melodies (among them Dixie, My Darling Clementine, Oh! When the Saints, and more). Then a countdown timer mode which shows a patterned display in the analog section when the countdown reaches 0. A 1/100 chronograph (digital only) is the last mode before the time setting mode which also give you the option to display all the segments to check if any are missing.

Pressing both side buttons in normal time mode alternates between hourly chime (a beep), alarm, both, or none. There’s also a light which shines from the middle-left – potentially not really illuminating either the analog or digital display, but since all watches of that era had a light…

Lighting up all the digits indicates the far left number can go to 2 (although not a full 8) so potentially there’s a 24-hour time mode as well, but I haven’t found it by using combinations of button presses.

This particular watch arrived non-working, with broken LCD and without a bracelet. I found a donor LCD, picked up an identical stainless bracelet to that used by the gold version of these watches, and repaired the module. But … no sound would come out of it.

The piezo speaker was fine, the problem lay in the upconverter which boosts the power to produce audible sound. Newer watches have these connected with pins (which are much easier to solder) but this one had two wires, smaller than the thickness of a hair, connecting the upconverter and one wire had broken off.

Using a jeweller’s loupe and TS-100 soldering iron I resoldered the loose wire, reassembled and crossed fingers. And it worked!

The case and crystal were a bit of a mess too, so a clean and polish of both of them and the watch is now looking awesome.

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