[ Retro Scan of the Week ] My Robot Watch

September 12th, 2011 by Benj Edwards

Benj's Dirty Transforming Takara Kronoform Robot Watch - circa early 1980sIt’s like a Transformer on your wrist.

I don’t remember where this watch came from. Maybe my parents bought it for my brother before me. Maybe I begged for it when I saw it at a local Revco drug store (as I did with many toys back then). What I do know is that I played with it as a three-year-old kid, and I was completely distraught when I lost part of it in my back yard.

You see, this digital watch isn’t just a watch — it’s a transforming humanoid robot. The center piece detaches from the wrist strap and unfolds into a tiny robot man. It was first sold in 1984 by Takara, the company responsible for originating the popular Transformers toy line in Japan. At some point I lost the robot part of my watch, and I figured I would never see it again.

A few years later, my mom stepped in from the back yard and presented a dirty piece of plastic in her soil-stained hands. Joy swelled in my heart as I recognized what she had found while digging in her garden bed: my missing robot watch.

It was dirty, of course, and the clock portion no longer worked due to years of weather exposure, but I was still ecstatic. If you ever lost a favorite toy as a child, you know how painful it is. Rarely does one ever find such a missing toy again. This was the one that came back, the one small victory for lost toys everywhere. That tiny hole in my heart, the one left vacant by my missing robot buddy, had been filled.

Ironically, I probably just put the watch in a box and forgot about it. Decades passed. While looking through some childhood knickknacks recently, I found it again and thought you might enjoy the story. It still feels good to know, as I hold this toy watch in my hands, that not all things we lose are gone forever.

Discussion Topic of the Week: What’s the coolest digital watch you’ve ever owned? Did you ever own a robot or game watch?

13 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] My Robot Watch”

  1. Eagles409 Says:

    When I was a kid I lived for cool watches and had a couple of pretty neat ones. I had a GCE video game watch (sports games) and that one was my favorite because it had a little joystick. I also had a digital watch that played Dixie and there was a graphic that fired a cannon and confederate flag waved (this was 1980 or 1981, before people frowned on that sort of thing).

  2. Jason Says:

    That’s a Takara Kronoform watch. I used to have one of these. There were many knock-offs of these, but yours is the real deal. Matt from X-entertainment did an article on these. the link is below.


  3. Geoff V. Says:

    I had the Zelda game watch for exactly one day. My mom gave it to me on a Sunday and my math teacher confiscated it on Monday. I played the hell out of that thing for the day I had it.

  4. TheSaintOfPain Says:

    I used to have one that was in the shape of Starscream from Transformers, having gotten it through an ad in an old G.I. Joe comic book sometime around 1987 or so. It lasted maybe a week before I killed it by dropping it in our above-ground pool. I kept it for a while longer though, using it as a mini-me to my actual Starscream G1 figure, who used to do a helluva lot of battling with my special movie edition Hot Rod.

  5. Alexander Says:

    I had a digital watch that had a faceplate with a little robot toy glued to it, effectively. In retrospect, it sucked.

  6. BDD Says:

    Never had a robot watch, but my stepfather had a number of LED watches that piled up in a drawer as they died. I wish I would have taken them out of the “junk” drawer and put them away somewhere safe. Oh well. I’ll eventually get a vintage working one and replace the ostentatious Submariner on my wrist that was willed to me…

  7. Blake Patterson Says:

    I had one of these in elementary school!

  8. Donn Says:

    I totally had that robot watch! Wish I still had it, but it’s long gone with many of the other childhood knicknacks.

    I had an unassuming little digital watch that had played Fur Elise as it’s alarm; it was nice to wake up to. In retrospect it was probably a women’s watch, but it worked for me as a little kid.

    I also had the best Casio Databank watch, that was not just a calculator, but had memory and trig functions and stuff. It actually got me through Algebra in middle school.

  9. Pete Says:

    Not a game watch, but the most memorable watch I used was the Casio telememo 30 data bank watch. I wore this all that way through high school and college. It scores nerd points for being a calculator watch, but the unique feature is that it stores telephone numbers and other random bits of information that you can fit into 8 characters and 12 digits like lock combinations. I’ve had geek out sessions with friends over how useful this watch was. And Casio still sells it!


  10. Sir Fatty Says:

    Christmas 1979 (I was in eighth grade) I received an LCD watch. That was a big deal, previous digital watches were LED (which I also had). I new gold LCD watch had alarms, could play songs.. oh, and display the time and date.

  11. kashif Says:

    Its condition is very bad but its still a rare robotic style watch by Takara Tomy Art. They also release Handheld Nintendo Game & Watch Key chains on solar power.

  12. Matt Says:

    I had exactly this same watch as well, only mine was gray.

  13. Gamefreak2998 Says:

    I have the same watch as displayed in the article…Though in way better condition.

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