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What Is a Diode Watch?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 19 April 2014
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A diode watch is a specific kind of watch that uses a somewhat modern technology to present a digital readout. Diode watches continue to trend in fashion, along with the popularity of other LED, or light emitting diode, lighting designs. The diode watch uses LED lights for a "marquee" effect on the face of the watch. Although the liquid crystal diode (LCD), has long been a staple of the digital watch industry, the term "diode watch" usually refers to LED timepieces.

Some diode watch designs were actually created in 1970s. Some of these designs are considered “retro” diode watches, and sell within this particular market context. Other diode designs for watches are more modern, and have a newer, more futuristic style.

The idea behind the diode watch involves using specific points of light to create patterns, symbols, or numbers. Some of these watch types use the bar-style LED to create the squared digital numbers that are familiar on many watches and alarm clocks. In other designs, LED pinpoints light up to deliver a set of messages based on dot positioning. Some proponents of this watch design could call it “dot-matrix” technology, based on the now largely obsolete dot-matrix printers of past eras.

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Other diode watch designs produce messaging through lighting an LED dot that is beside an engraved or printed part of the watch face. LED designs can also be created to alternate in specific ways that make it look like the watch face display is moving. All of this is part of modern presentation for a diode watch.

In terms of the overall engineering of these watches, manufacturers often combine an LED or diode display with strong, well-crafted metal bands and face parts. A sleek, fresh look for a display face is also a common part of design. A number of high-profile diode watch models and designs appeal to today’s buying audience. For example, some designs integrate the readout directly into the wrist band, rather than using a more conventional glass display face.

Diode watches vary in price according to the rest of the watch design. The LED materials themselves are not inordinately expensive, as these kinds of displays have become common in consumer products. Much of the cost of higher-end diode watches is driven by the value of the actual structural materials. The most expensive watches generally include heavy metals or higher value structural pieces, which many people around the world consider an effective status symbol.

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