Top 10 Retro Toy Watches of all Time

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Not too long ago I was thinking about the watches we used to have as children and how much fun they were. As the watch seems to be losing the child market in the present day due to smart phones, MP3 players and all the other gadgets us older people never had growing up, I thought it would be great to look back at some of the play watches and remember what made them individual and great.

I grew up in the nineties (I literally hit my teens in the year 2000) so a few of these watches are the ones I remember, and three of the mentions on this list I actually owned myself. Knowing that there many notable kid’s watches from before and after my childhood, I dug a little deeper to find the ones I would have liked to own had they been around at the time too. I’d also like to add that this list does not have any girl watches, mainly because I was a boy and can’t remember any. I apologize to any nostalgic 90s chicks who might be reading this!

Some of the newer kid watches I saw (including the Ben 10 watch) looked like incredible toys, but didn’t have a time keeping function so I didn’t include them. Once you take away the clock you’re no longer looking at a watch but instead a glorified play wrist strap.

Anyway, here are my personal top ten children’s toy watches of all time…

10. G.I. Joe Watch

GI Joe

(Via Retroist)

A classic homage to the days when all you needed was a bulky bit of over-the-top plastic and a couple of pointless functions to make a kid say “WOW”. The right dial is the clock whilst the left dial flips open to reveal a compass, all bought together by a classy looking gold-sprayed plastic eagle.

9. Kronoform Watch

(Via Youtube user autoblindato)

Further proof that kids were easily impressed all those decades ago is the Kromoform, which can only be described as a watch crossed with a Transformer. Toy developers had it easy back in the day; just stick a “cool” teenager in the commercial and a cheesy 80s song complete with over-the-top sound effects and you’re in business.

8. Transformers Watch

Speaking of Transformers, here’s their attempt at the 80s watch market. Although the Kronoform was a bit more sophisticated it let itself down in the flimsy category as any toy with small moving plastic parts does, whereas the Transformer watch went for simplicity and pulled it off. Essentially it was just a mini transformer action figure with a digital clock display that attached to a wrist strap, but having a toy on a wrist strap was different back then.

7. Super Mario World Video Game Watch

Super Mario Watch

(Via Toy Archive)

The video game and home console market was the new technology no one could get enough of in the late 80s, and with it came Mario; Nintendo’s loveable and now iconic mascot. This watch had an extremely primitive built in LCD version of Mario Brothers built into the watch face which consisted of playing the same backdrop layout over and over. Not really on par with the original Game Boy let alone a PSP, but as a novelty watch it’s cool.

6. TV Remote Control Watch

TV Remote

(Via Retro Thing)

I remember a few kids in my school having these in the mid-90s, and I never saw any proof that they actually worked. In fact I was sat next to a friend during a class where the TV had been rolled in to watch an educational video and told him to try it out but it did nothing. Looking back it might have been due to the TV being about 20 years older than the watch itself, that TV might have even back dated the invention of the remote control. They also functioned as a calculator so at least not all purpose was lost.

5. Power Rangers Watches

Power Rangesr

(Via Compare Store Prices [left]and Ebay seller nevergrowup123 [right])

As with any franchise that re-invents itself about 8 times and lends its name to just about anything, there’s too many Power Rangers watches to keep track on. The watch on the left is the “Jungle Fury” laser projector that shows the time along with a picture.  The one on the right is based on the original series morph watches. The front has a lenticular picture that changes from human to Power Ranger which flips open to reveal a simple digital quartz display.

4. Mighty Max Watches

Mighty Max

(Via Flickr user V&A Streamworks [left]and The Toy Museum [right])

A miniature version the Mighty Max play toys that served as the boy’s answer to Polly Pocket, complete with a digital display and a detachable Max figure inside. All three of the above were based on the bigger play sets too.

3. C-Watches

(Via Youtube user JupiterStudiosSTL)

C-Watches were a brief crave in the 90s made by the now defunct Trendmasters. The C-watch was a basic digital screen similar to old mobile phones with an animated “toon” (there were several available all with different personalities) that would tell you the time at the press of a button, as well as shouting various phrases for alarms or just randomly for a laugh. Various licenced spin off versions were made for the likes of South Park, Austin Powers, The Powerpuff Girls and Ghostbusters too.

2. Pokemon Pokétch Watch

(Via Youtube user Japancommercials4U2)

This watch was a 2006 Japanese only release which mimicked the Pokedex-style watch in the TV cartoon series and video games. The toy has various play functions as seen in the commercial but due to being a Japanese only finding an in-depth description written in English seems to be impossible. I still want one though. I think there will always be a part of my brain that gets excited over bright flashing lights and loud noises!

1. Whizz Watches

(Via Youtube user WhizzWatches)

Whizz Watches are made by Wesco and are only a few years old, but I felt the need to include them as it’s the first homage to the “play watch” I’ve seen in a long time. Although extremely bulky and unpractical for everyday use, the watch is in fact a miniature remote controlled toy. They are available in several themes for franchises such as Star Wars (R2D2) and Doctor Who (Dalek) to name a few.

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This list was put together by Dan Callis on behalf of online watch webstore: http://www.findwatches.co.uk. If there are any old watches you remember as a kid or recent watches that look like fun not included in this list, let me hear about them in the comments section! I’m all in for debate and discussion…


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11 Comments

  1. Ummm … shouldn’t the Mickey Mouse watch be somewhere on this list somewhere? I think it should. Believe it or not, I still have an original Mickey Mouse watch from the 1950’s. I have heard that these things can be worth a good deal if they are in working condition and you still have the original box. Unfortunately mine does not work and the original box was discarded years ago. In any case, I think the Mickey Mouse watch should be on this list somewhere.

    • I did state the list is open to interpretation and was my personal selection! There’s no such thing as a definitive list if based on opinion!

      Do you mean the one with Mickey’s hands as the actual clock hands? My Dad had one, although I don’t think it was a 50’s one. If so I did debate adding it to this list, but it is more of a novelty design than a toy. I compare to to saying a novelty kids drinking cup is a toy; aimed at kids yes, but not something that you can have much fun with!

      Dan.

      • Yes the watch I was thinking of is the one where Mickey’s hands are the watch hands. At least I understand now why you left it off your list. In my opinion the Mickey Mouse watches of the 1950’s where some of most iconic watches designed for children. I can understand why you do not think they should considered as “toys”. I guess it all boils down to what one considers a “toy”. Thanks for your explanation in any case.

  2. I had a pokémon watch (and I’m a 90’s girl) but not that one. It was huge, yellow, played pokémon videos, did pokémon creature searches, and told the time! I loved it, but it made noise so I teacher took it from me and I’ve never seen it since =[ haha

  3. Those remote control TV watches actually did work, I saw it several times at school. I guess you had to tune them to the TV first, but I don’t know since I never owned one.

    • I’ll be honest, I just wanted the Kayne reference. It makes blogs sound 8 times more readable! Glad you like it.

  4. A friend of mine had one of those remote control watches and yes, it worked like a charm. This one even had a learning function, so you could point your remote to the watch and that way you could add more and more remotes. The best though; in an amusement park we used to go to a lot there was this shooting range, where you could shoot things that started moving (a pianoplayer, chickens, the lot). We figured that the guns might be working with infra-red, so we pointed the gun at his watch and lo and behold, it worked!! The beam that came from the watch was in a wide angle, so we could shoot 5 targets at the same time. We had a lot of fun with that thing, until the guy who ran the range sent us away. Ah, the good old days 🙂

    • Haha, was just thinking the same. My friend had one and kept switching the tv off in class. The teacher almost had a break down! Good times.

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