Friday, 11 January 2013

Seiko Wrist Information System UC-2001

It's time for my first Seiko of the new year, and it's a geeky high-tech one :-).

In the early 80s, various companies (such as Casio and Seiko) started releasing watches capable of storing memos or notes (-I think Seiko was first with a release in 1982). By the mid 80s, these watches had increased in complexity to be basically wrist mounted mini-computers, and the Seiko UC range from 1984/5 were one of the first to be marketed as such.

Today's UC-2001 is one of those wrist computers and was called the Wrist Information System. It is a variation on the UC-2000 designed to specifically interface with the Apple II computer (and one of the first, if not the first, computer connectable watches) . To connect with the Apple II computer you used the UC-2301 interface module which connected into the computers game port, and this module transferred data to/from the watch wirelessly. On the computer, the watch was controlled by the Time Trax II software, which was a scheduling program that could also utilize the interface module. The software would send appointments to the watch is chronological order until the watch's memory was full. The watch has 2kb of memory which can support two 1kb memos, 2kb of schedule, or a mix of both.

The UC-2000 also had two keyboard dock interfaces (UC-2100 and UC-2200) but I don't know whether they were compatible with the UC-2001. The larger dock (UC-2200) also included a thermal roll-fed printer, additional RAM, and ROM that could be used to run programs (including MS Basic), properly turning the watch into a mini screened computer.

The watch itself has a large dot matrix LCD display. The display is split into 4 rows each with 10 segments, and each segment is a 6x5 matrix of pixels. The default display uses the top row for date, second row for day, and bottom two rows for time (6 digits, but the seconds only use the bottom row). It has 4 buttons along the front for mode selection, text input, and starting data transmission to the dock. For modes, it has two memo slots (marked A and B), an alarm, and stopwatch (which shows two lines of information - elapsed time and split). Even though there is a button marked set, the time is adjusted by cycling through the modes with the last item being the setting option.

On the back, it shows a model number of UW01-0040, and this one was made in Jan 1985. The strap part number is KH002.

The original sale price was pretty steep at $500, and I have read that it wasn't sold in high numbers.

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