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.