The Citizen Ana-Digi Temp is one of the most curious 80s artifacts you’re likely to come across, and the integrated thermometer is really just the tip of the iceberg. It’s quintessentially 80s in its design, and is the end result of years of jockeying for position between the Swiss and Japanese for control of the watch market as quartz began to take hold. Now, nearly 40 years after the watch made its debut, it’s getting a special edition run courtesy of Japanese retailer BEAMS.
Before we get to the new version of the Ana-Digi Temp, I highly recommend that you head over to Two Broke Watch Snobs and check out this post for a detailed and well researched account of how the watch came to be. Writer Damon Bailey goes deep into the history of the watch, and contextualizes it properly in the very volatile horological landscape that was the early 1980s. The Ana-Digi Temp has a complicated and fascinating history, and while you might think the thermometer played the starring role in the watch’s life story, it’s actually the development of the LCD screen, a burgeoning technology at the time, that had the greatest impact on the Ana-Digi Temp and other watches like it. Let’s put it this way: if you thought this was a purely Japanese technology, you’d be mistaken.
Now, back to the BEAMS limited edition. What we have here follows a collaboration between the Japanese retailer and Citizen from last year, where the two brands joined to release a limited edition gold tone version of the Ana-Digi Temp. That release from last year also featured a wood grain dial, a deep 80s throwback if there ever was one. This release recreates the much more common silver colorway, and is a little bit more under the radar than a gold plated, wood dialed watch, even given the Ana-Digi Temp’s unusual case shape and display.
This is pure 80s nostalgia in a very different way than some watches from G-Shock and Timex that we’ve seen in recent years that hit similar notes. There is a techy aspect to the Ana-Digi Temp that would seem to put pure technological innovation ahead of horology. This watch is pure gadgetry, and doesn’t have a lot to do with centuries old art of watchmaking at all, which is part of its appeal. You can also see a clear line between the Ana-Digi Temp and modern smartwatches, which do all sorts of things apart from time telling in formats that traditional watches simply can’t replicate.
The Ana-Digi Temp has a dual time feature (the two analog registers at the top of the dial can be independently set) as well as a separate digital time readout, plus an alarm, date, and, of course, a thermometer. The reissued Ana-Digit Temp is expected later this month, and can be purchased through BEAMS for approximately $245. More information can be found on Hypebeast here.