Armitron has been making watches for years, some with melodies, some with calculators, but nothing like this gem that appeared in 1983 – the Armitron Piano Game Watch.
This may be the only calculator watch ever made that has a melody keypad – just like the full-size Casio calculators of a similar vintage, with 13 keys of tones spanning more than an octave of notes.
While this is pretty impressive, the Piano Game Watch also boasts an alarm, the usual time and date, plus the game.
Very unique and, given the space limitations on the tiny LCD display, a miracle of programming in the early 1980s, the game is a side-scrolling space invaders derivative, where you use keys to move your ship and fire at the marauding invaders. You can only shoot once before having to move your ship to a new spot and it becomes challenging very quickly.
The highest score achievable is 2999 (not the 9999 you might expect) which was doubtless a cost saver when it came to making the watch (a 2 would allow 24-hour time, but there would be a higher cost in adding the other segments of the 8 to enable the score to count up to 9999).
This watch doesn’t use double-layer LCD but rather cleverly makes use of the available segments to create a very fun game. Obviously it’s no PS3, but this was 1983 after all and our tastes were far simpler then.
This was produced by E. Gluck & Co in Hong Kong for Armitron, and the watch was also released in Germany under the Meister Anker brand.