Sunday, May 19, 2024

Nintendo Love Peace "Smiley" e-clock (Love Peace 電気時計, circa 1971)

I have been collecting vintage Nintendo toys and games for around twenty-five years now, and although there are still plenty of items on my search list, they tend to be - obviously - the rarer ones. As a result, the finds occur with decreasing frequency.

Recently I was able to add two items to my collection that are both very rare and hard to find: the Nintendo Time Bomb (covered here) and the Nintendo Love Peace e-clock, which is the topic of today's post.

The Love Peace electric clock (「Love Peace 電気時計」) is one of the seven known variants of electric clocks released by Nintendo in 1971-1972. Of these seven different clocks, the four featuring the Tokusatsu heroes Ultraman, Kamen Rider, Mirror Man and Silver Kamen are the most common. The clock with the Disney figures is rarer, and the Panda clock can be considered very rare, with only a handful copies known in collector circles.

The Love Peace clock is the rarest of all these clocks. The one I was able to acquire was only the second one I had ever seen.

The box and clock itself are decorated with the well-known "Smiley" design. Created in the 1960s by Harvey Ball, this design soon exploded in popularity, and was recognized worldwide by the 1970s. It was produced by the millions in the form of stickers, buttons and used to adorn almost any object you can imagine.

To this day, it is considered a design icon, and closely linked to hippy culture of the 1960s and 1970s (and later the acid house scene of the 1980s).

As an aside, it seems that Mr. Ball did not copyright the design, and a certain Mr. Loufrani subsequently claimed the invention and ran with, creating a multi-million dollar licensing company in the process. At least, that is what I gather from various sources online.

Anyway, origin and copyright issues aside, the design also became popular in Japan, and Nintendo decided to use it on one of their clocks in 1971 or close to that time.

Japan's mains network had 50 Hz and 60 Hz regions at the time, and this particular model runs on 50 Hz. It was originally priced at ¥1,800, which is roughly ¥6,000 in today's money, accounting for inflation.

When I bought this clock back in March of this year, over fifty years after its original release, it was offered for that original 1970s retail price of ¥1,800, with free shipping thrown in. Calling it a bargain is an understatement.

The box a little bit smudgy, but that did not stop me in any way from smiling from ear to ear (pun intended) when I scooped this up.

The clock itself was in good condition.

The "E-clock" name is embossed on the front.

It comes with a good length of cord that plugs directly into the mains power.

This cord runs from the round housing that holds the electric clock mechanism.

The back includes a sticker from the Love Peace Association (the Japanese Licensee at the time?), an indication that the clock draws one Watt of power, and a patent pending note by Nintendo related to the clock itself. 

Now, this clock wasn't the only product released by Nintendo featuring the Smiley.

Nintendo also sold round-shaped playing cards featuring this design (and that same Love Peace Association sticker).

Nintendo brought out several different sets of playing cards with this round shape, and for this one, that shape makes total sense.

With the acquisition of this Love Peace clock, I completed the set of seven Nintendo e-clocks. Well, at least for now, until - maybe - yet another design is discovered. This is not unthinkable, given that it took around twenty years before spotting the first Smiley clock.

For more information about the Nintendo e-clock and the other clock designs, check out these previous posts with an introduction and description of the Panda clock.

No comments:

Post a Comment