Armitron's Griffy Is a Splashy, Retro-Futuristic Watch That Time Forgot

Watch brands, like the great stadium bands of decades past, love nothing more than celebrating their greatest hits. Whether it’s TAG Heuer’s original 1963 Carrera chronograph or Vacheron Constantin’s swanky gold 222, every watchmaker with a few decades of history to its credit (which is most of them) has an archive full of stylish retro tickers waiting to be dusted off and rediscovered. The Armitron Griffy is exactly that breed of watch, and unlike the archival gems from the big Swiss luxury brands, it can be yours in all of its retro-futuristic 1970s glory for around 30 bucks.

Founded in 1975 by a scrappy immigrant with a knack for entrepreneurship, Armitron is one of America’s great watchmaking success stories. Known for its affordable quartz watches and its giant clock at Yankee Stadium, Armitron came onto the scene in the midst of the “quartz crisis,” a tumultuous period when cheaper and more reliable quartz designs were transforming the industry and threatening the future of traditional watchmaking. 

Among the era’s biggest debuts was the LCD digital watch, whose blinking red numerals and Six Million Dollar Man vibes were the pinnacle of futuristic cool. Bulova, Hamilton, and a handful of other big-name brands had released popular LCD watches earlier in the decade, but these high-tech accessories were anything but cheap (Hamilton’s 1972 Pulsar—the world’s first digital watch—cost around $13,000 in today’s money.) Armitron’s version, however, offered peak LCD watch style (including a gold-tone case and those big red digital numerals) at a fraction of the price.

Half a century later, Armitron is one of a few American-owned watchmakers still standing, and it still specializes in affordable and durable watches designed for the masses. Like Hamilton and Bulova, both of which have recently dusted off their early digital designs to ride the wave of enthusiasm for ‘70s watches, Armitron is back in the LCD game, too. The Griffy, the brand’s reboot of its best-selling LCD watch, is a faithful tribute to the 1970s original, with a chunky gold-tone case and oversized red numerals that light up at the touch of a button. Better yet, like any watch bearing the Armitron name for the last 47 years, it’s priced within reach of pretty much everyone—a value proposition that makes as much sense in 2023 as it did in the disco era.

Armitron “Griffy” watch

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