What's Inside
Watch Wars
Cool Watches

Nunzio Luce headed the team that developed the first LCD digital quartz watch.


In 1970, Nunzio Luce left RCA along with his associates Louis Zanoni, George Graham, and Joel Goldmacher to join the Optel Corporation in Princeton, New Jersey. There the team developed the first digital LCD watch utilizing a dynamic scattering display.

The Optel team faced the challenge of fitting all the necessary components into a watch case.

breadboard The team's initial steps in designing the LCD watch involved the creation of a large "breadboard." In cooperation with Solid State Scientific Corporation, Optel was able to reduce the breadboard tot he size of a wristwatch by utilizing a CMOS chip to drive the LCD display. Beginning in 1970, Optel designed and produced LCD watches for several watch companies. Optel later marketed LCD watches under its own name.

In the dynamic scattering liquid crystal display, an electrical charge is applied which rearranges the molecules so that they scatter light. These early DSM displays proved unsatisfactory, suffering from relatively high power consumption, limited life, and poor contrast. For these reasons Optel later used the field effect display (invented in 1969 by James Fergason).

Nunzio Luce went on to become president of Optel Corp. He subsequently founded his own corporation, SEI International, which manufactures and develops advanced LCD and quartz analog watches. Luce holds 11 patents, either separately or jointly, for digital watches. Among other achievements, he incorporated the use of solar technology in the development of LCD watches.

Today the LCD is the most common digital watch display.

In the early 1970s LCD watches were in competition with LEDs for the electronic digital watch market. By 1977 consumers came to prefer LCDs over LEDs.

Before 1960 ~ After 1960

Contents Timeline Forum