Industry News – Inventor of Digital Wristwatch Dies

Peter Dimitroff Petroff, a NASA engineer and later an inventor whose enterprises developed heart-monitoring equipment and originated the digital wristwatch 30 years ago, died Feb. 27 at his home in Huntsville, Ala. He was 83.

Born in Brestovitsa, Bulgaria, Mr. Petroff arrived in Toronto in 1951 via wartime France and Germany. He graduated in electrical engineering at what is now Stuttgart University in 1947.

Moving to Huntsville in 1963, Mr. Petroff was recruited by Wernher von Braun for work on the new Saturn rocket for the Apollo space program. In that period, his employers were the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Boeing and Northrop, its contractors.

He went into business on his own in 1968, founding Care Electrics, a high-technology company that developed a wireless heart monitor for hospital use. The venture evolved into Electro/Data, which created the prototype of the digital watch.

Marketed by the Hamilton Watch Company as the Pulsar, the odd-looking device sold for $2,100 in 1971. (Fifteen years later, it was not unusual for digital watches to be given away as favors during baseball games.)


Source: Washington Times