The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

3 May 2007

That wristful feeling

I own three watches. The Helbros, acquired in 1966, stopped working in 1980 but still looks pretty good. (It's been to the repair shop once; a new crystal was installed some time in the middle Seventies.) At the time, the combination of penury and hardware lust led me to acquire a Casio digital watch — pace Megadodo Publications, I still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea — which is still in use today, though its band (a knockoff of the Speidel Twist-O-Flex) is seriously worn and the pins that hold it in place, well, don't.

As usual with me, Plan B took precedence over Plan A, and I purchased an Abacus "atomic" watch from Woot. It was incredibly bulky compared to my old Casio; more to the point, it had a Rolexoid bracelet that Fossil, Abacus' parent, had thoughtfully prepared for the wrist of one of the Kansas City Chiefs. I spent about an hour and a half resizing the band, mostly because I had only the vaguest comprehension of how to work the pins. I wasn't even sure that "pins" was the proper term.

A few minutes of Googlage led me to the storefront of The Watch Prince, which patiently explained that these things are properly called "spring bars." What's more, they actually offered a tool to compress the skinny little troublemakers, for a measly nine bucks. It looks vaguely dental, except for its matte black finish, which is probably useful if you have bad eyes since it contrasts with the band and the watch itself. I had to have one, even though I'd finished redoing the Abacus' band, simply because at some point in the next 40 or 50 years I may have to do this again.

While I was at the site, I picked up some spare spring bars (a stunningly-negligible dollar a pair), and just for the heck of it, dialed over to the bands and ordered a genuine Speidel Twist-O-Flex for the old Casio. The Prince, reasoning from my shopping cart that I didn't have a farging clue, threw in two sets of bars to fit the Speidel. The Casio is now back in play, the Abacus is sitting on my dresser downloading a time signal from WWVB, and I'm starting to wonder if maybe I should have the old Helbros fixed.

Posted at 7:27 PM to Bushel of Currency , Entirely Too Cool

Whenever I've tried to do anything with the spring bars, it's always ended up with them looking as if Atom Ant was showing off for his girlfriend. Needless to say, I always ended up having to replace them.

And at least once, having to replace the replacements before they even got installed.

Posted by: McGehee at 8:50 PM on 3 May 2007

Even though I have a good antique working Hamilton, a 1960s self-winding Bulova, and a couple of others, analog and digital, I gave up wearing a watch when I got my first cell phone with a reliable and easy to read clock display that syncs to the Cingular system which in turn syncs to the dripping of water in a cave at a secret location in Northern Alabama.

The phone clock suits me just fine since I don't like the restrictive feeling of bands, bracelets, rings, or ankle irons. Of course it also provides most of my daily regimen of exercise, yanking it off and returning it to the belt clip to admire the intricate workmanship handed down through several generations of Chinese craftsmen.

Posted by: Winston at 9:07 PM on 3 May 2007

On the "daily" watch prior to the one I have now, I replaced the band five or six times (OK, so I'm hard on watchbands) using nothing more than a pocketknife. Generally, putting them back IN is more difficult than getting them out, mostly because my eyes aren't what they used to be.

I only have two watches: the one I wear every day and the one that belonged to my granddad. He's been gone for thirty-five years. It still works and keeps good time. This was his everyday watch; needless to say, I do NOT wear it. Its value to me has nothing to do with money.

Posted by: unimpressed at 9:44 PM on 3 May 2007