Despite the surprise that came from Apple’s choice to call their upcoming wearable “Apple Watch,” this isn’t the first time that the name has appeared with something from Apple.
If you can believe it, wrist watches were really common before the era of smart phones. The following watches from Apple mark a little bit of the company’s history, from a time before the smartwatch.
Apple IIGS watch
This watch was released in conjunction with the Apple IIGS in 1986, which was the most powerful computer that Apple released in the Apple II lineup. The computer was manufactured until the end of December 1992.
Before the iPod and iPhone, Apple had released another handheld computer (PDA). It had a stylus, and it was called the Newton. The platform was produced by Apple from 1987 until 1998. This watch featured the Newton lightbulb logo.
Mac OS Apple Watch
The watch is noticeably less “minimalistic” than today’s Apple products,using several colors and materials. The hands consist of a rather conventional red minute hand, with a triangular green hour hand, and a squiggly yellow second hand.
A rubber strap featured raised “Mac OS” lettering. The watch was part of a System 7.5 promotion. Customers could select between the watch or a game called Conflict Catcher 3 when purchasing the 7.5 upgrade, which was first released in 1994.
Mac OS 8 watch
As one of Apple’s more clever watches, the arms were shaped to form an eight as the watch approached 7:40. The watch had a Mac OS 8 theme, to go along with the operation system released in 1997. Other unique features included an Apple logo at the 3 o’ clock spot, and a Finder icon in the 12 o’ clock position.
Apple made some matching promotional watches to go along with the candy colored iMac in 1998. Coming in all five iMac colors, the watches featured matching bands and crystals.
A limited run of 500 watches were made as a sales reward to Comp USA employees and VIP’s. The watch face features an aerial view of an iMac, and sports an overall classic look. Each watch came with a certificate of authenticity.
In commemoration of apple.com, Apple sold this watch at The Company Store, which is Apple’s memorabilia store on the Apple campus in Cupertino, California. The watch features some pre-OS X Mac icons on its crystal, and a black leather strap.
“Think Different” Apple Watch
As part of their famous “Think Different” campaign, Apple released this watch. Its most unique feature was its backward quartz movement (meaning the watch runs counterclockwise).
The bezel came in black or silver, with watch faces in white and black. Some featured a six color Apple logo. The box humorously had a “System Requirements” section on the back, listing “female or male wrist,” “left or right hand version,” and “ability to have a good time.”
“Planet Apple” Apple Watch
Seemingly the final analog watch from Apple, the Planet Apple watches came in a large variety of colors and watch faces. The aluminum bezel resembles Apple’s logo, with a polished button filling the bite.
Some faces were along the lines of a traditional two arm style, and others used clear plastic disks with little apples instead of hour and minute arms. That technique created a bit of an orbiting illusion. Watch bands were made of a mesh material, backed by a thin piece of leather with embossed “APPLE WATCH” and “WATER RESISTANT” labels.
The drop off in watches from Apple in more recent years signifies how influential the company has been in effectively “cannibalizing” the need for a traditional wrist watch, with so many people opting to use their phones instead.
Now, with another Apple Watch around the corner, it should be interesting to see what becomes more of a fad – the bare wrists of the early 2000′s, or the smartwatches meant to wrap back around them.