Light Emitted Diode (hereafter short named as LED) has been used in watch industry in 1970s. It was a fashion and quite many brands made their own LED watches.
By seeing an old article from a book in end 2001 showing quite some images of these kind of LED watches, we were very interested to develop our own version of LED watches. However, by that year, LED manufactured are quite different from 1970s. So, we can only make the LEDs split in a larger distance of 1-2mm apart such as 1259 LED watch series.
The current is quite large at the first batch of Printed Circuit Board (hereafter short named as PCB). R&D team start new way of mcu driving method : "time-sharing”. By using our human eye’s natural “defects” and the way we see TV cartoons frequency of 25Hz or above, we can get the animation of Cartoons looks like moving smoothly, we apply this concepts into our LED watches.
After about a year of manufacturing 1259 LED watch and Barcode LED watch, we tried to source a totally new kind of small and tiny LEDs from southern part of mainland China that could display of dot-matrix type LEDs.
Over a month sourcing, we found a factory near Shanghai willing to try for us. We discussed and agreed the first production trial on our newly developed watch module. This new way of modules contains 18 columns x 5 rows total have 90 dot-matrix LED watch on 31mm x 31mm modules.
During 2002-2006, luckily, the copy fellows still thought our watches not selling good because to tell the time display, we need to press the watch key once and to get a few seconds LEDs light up. Every time users need to know the time, they need to press the key again. This is not a Watch Industry standard. Watch should be visible of time at any time. But our watches keep selling until copy fellows realised this kind of LEDs hit a new young trend.
In 2005-2006, Avatar movie is still production, our distributor send 1259 LED watches to them to select as a kind of futuristic watches in the movie. 1259B LED watch finally has been selected and we know that after the movie has been lreleased in 2009.
Even the first 2 years of the copy items came to the markets, their battery only can last about one third of our normal battery life. Their price are really killing the item after 3 more years entered this LED market segments.
Anyway, this ideas also gave us a good memory of using new material into watch industry. We are still keep watching of the new material using in LED industry and to explore any further chance to apply in newly designed watches.
Electroluminescent (hereafter short named as EL) sheet has been invented quite long time. It is operated by alternative current from about 60V up. Since 1997, we have successfully applied this back light technology into our POPHalo watches. It uses 3 - 5 segments of EL area flashing in sequent or in random. By using an ultra-small step up transformer, we use 3V lithium battery to boost up to 110V and make the custom made EL segments light up and to be used in different artworks or logos.
Later on, this technology use also in T-shirt and other big size promotional devices. They use a battery box hiding in the T-shirts or the devices to boost up the voltages same as we applied in the watches.
In 1997-1999, we have sold quite many pieces of POPHalo watches worldwide and later the copy fellows jump into the markets and we have finally ceased the production of POPHalo around 2000-2001. Anyway, this EL concept watch (POPHalo series) generated our first bucket of capital and won quite some awards.
EL is not new technology any more. The recent power required to light up the EL sheets are still nearly the same as 2001. So, this should be another better way to apply it again. Our R&D is still keep an eye on this material developments. We would like to apply it to a new application(s).
More are coming ...