The Almost Mythical Sinclair FM Radio Watch
By James Grahame
It's hard to believe gadgets like radio watches were once virtually impossible experiments in miniaturization. It's also astounding that companies once sank vast fortunes into the development of such questionably useful gizmos.
Sinclair Research - creators of the ZX Spectrum and Timex/Sinclair computers - unveiled a futuristic prototype FM watch in 1984. The three separate cases hold an LCD watch, piezoelectric speaker and FM tuner, along with a separate battery compartment in the clasp. The watch design was spearheaded by Sinclair product design manager Dagfinn Aksnes, who recalls that Clive Sinclair's casual design brief was, "Design an FM Radio Watch as small as possible. The watch must have an integrated speaker and aerial. The aim is to design the first/smallest integrated FM Radio Watch in the world." Sinclair's partner TIMEX was selected to manufacture the revolutionary watch.
Unfortunately, Sinclair's precarious financial situation in the mid 1980s caused the project to be canceled after the production of a mere 11,000 units (the tooling was built to handle an annual production capacity of 500,000 watches) and only a few remain today.