After nearly fifty years, the James Bond franchise has pretty much blown itself out. But back in The Good Old Days, one of the series’ key ingredients was to be first to showcase a new, state-of-the-art phenomenon.
Base-jumping, the Millennium Dome and the Bell-Jump “jet pack” all debuted to the public at large in a Bond movie.
But a personal favourite was the Pulsar Digital Watch.
Although having been launched in ’72, MOST people’s first glimpse of those little red LEDs was in “Live And Let Die” – released a year later.
However, at that time, you needed to be as RICH as Cubby Broccoli to own one.
Nevertheless – as always happens, the price dropped quickly (driving Pulsar out of BUSINESS) and within a couple of years, this historian could afford to join Bond in enjoying this new technology.
Of course in those early days, you had to change the battery every six to twelve months – the LEDs used a comparatively large amount of power. And while the early LEDs were bright enough at night – they were pants in the day time.
But this did not concern yours truly, as at that time he was a night-shift taxi-driver – and rarely SAW the Sun.
And today this reporter STILL has a digital watch. Except now, it has an LCD display – powered by a large, slim, seven-year lithium battery.
Thus, your humble scribe has spent ALL his adult life telling time digitally – and in 24-hour mode (which is ironic, given he taught HIMSELF time-telling in the Fifties when he was FOUR, with the aid of an analogue mantelpiece clock which had ROMAN numerals).
And so he found a story his Dad told him, sometime in the Nineties, particularly amusing. It went thusly…
In the mid-Seventies, his esteemed pater was walking down the road – nothing fancy, just one foot in front of the other (thanks, Chic Murray) wearing HIS new digital watch (which he also had on 24-hour mode) when an antediluvian East Anglian farmer asked him the time.
Not thinking, his father glanced at his timepiece and said, “Sixteen-O-Eight.”
To which the old boy replied, “Whassa’ ‘en?”