Presented By
From the Sept. 21, 1953, issue of TIME

Tech junkies have fantasized about a wrist-phone ever since comic book detective Dick Tracy first donned a two-way radio watch (described above) in the 1940s. In 1953, TIME reported that the U.S. Army Signal Corps had developed a wearable radio with a 40-mile range — but only in the past decade or so has the concept of a “smartwatch” really taken hold, with popular models from companies like Samsung, Motorola, and LG, mostly running versions of Android OS.

One company is notably absent from that list: Apple. Apple is rumored to be unveiling its take on a smartwatch — maybe called the “iWatch” or “iBand” — on Tuesday, in a move that would shake up an already exciting product category.

But modern smartwatches aren’t brand new inventions — many have tried to perfect the “smartwatch” over the years. Let’s take a look back on how the devices have evolved, as told by TIME:

1. Seiko Message Watch, 1994

2. Fossil’s Palm Pilot Watch, 2002

3. Microsoft’s Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT), 2003

4. BMW MP3 Watch, 2004

5. Suunto X9 “Wristop Computer,” 2004

6. Samsung and Sony Smartwatches, 2013

Your move indeed, Apple. Let’s see what you’ve got up your sleeve — or on your wrist.

More Must-Reads From TIME

Contact us at

You May Also Like