Unitrex Monte Carlo: The World's First Game Watch - Seiko & Citizen Watch Forum – Japanese Watch Reviews, Discussion & Trading
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Old 10-09-2019, 07:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Unitrex Monte Carlo: The World's First Game Watch

Today I finally scored a mini-grail watch I've been after for months. Behold the Unitrex Datatime Monte Carlo - the world's first game watch. Made in 1977, this is the first watch ever to feature a playable game. That's according to: https://www.polygon.com/a/smartwatch...watch-timeline . In fact, it has 3 games. There's very little information about the Unitrex company. I found pictures of 1 LED watch online, and this site says it was manufactured and sold in the U.S.A.: http://www.pambor.de/Personal/hobbyp..._lastwatch.htm

Time:
IMG_20191009_152014.jpg


The right upper right button shows day/date, then minutes/seconds.
IMG_20191009_152216.jpg

The upper left button is where the fun starts. It cycles through 3 games: Jackpot, Dice and Roulette. Jackpot is the most fun. It starts by animating all the digits in a flashing pattern reminiscent of a slot machine. When you press the upper right button, it freezes the right digit, then after a second, the middle digit, then after a second, the left digit. The animation even slows a bit after the button is pressed, like a slot machine wheel slowing down.
IMG_20191009_152119.jpg

If you match 3 numbers (a 1/36 chance), you get a flashing JJ-JJ display
IMG_20191009_154449.jpg

The next game is dice. You press the upper right button and it animates the digits, then slows down and freezes the right digit, followed by the left. I don't believe there's a way to win.
IMG_20191009_152129.jpg

Then 3rd game is roulette, which animates the digits and then displays a number between 00 and 36 with the same slow-down effect.
IMG_20191009_152135.jpg

The button left button turns on the micro light
IMG_20191009_152331.jpg

The back and clasp are signed
IMG_20191009_152251.jpg
IMG_20191009_152233.jpg

Google image search tells me it came in two known variants. My gold-plated version, and this rounded steel version.
unitrex-silver.jpg

I got really lucky when I purchased this watch. I bid a week in advance. When it ended it looked like a had no competing bids and won it for lunch money, but when the page reloaded, It showed I had purchased it for my max bid. My competitor had bid 11 cents less than my max bid at the last second! Maybe they were bidding in another currency that got converted to that strange number?

There's a YouTube video of the games here:
And the other functions:

Thanks for checking out my cool curiosity. If you know anything about Unitrex, please share!
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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congratulations on scoring a long sought after watch ....

that was cutting edge in the day - amazing!
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mwadner View Post
congratulations on scoring a long sought after watch ....

that was cutting edge in the day - amazing!
Thanks Michael!

Here's the Popular Science magazine from December, 1977 in which it was featured: https://books.google.com/books?id=hA...ompany&f=false
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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This is really cool. I grew up in this era but I don’t remember this watch. It’s impressive that it is still fully functional.


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Old 10-10-2019, 11:56 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Very cool! Probably not much more of them around. I wonder how much time it took the designers to come up with those games, having only the basic digits.
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