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Friday, February 25, 2011

Life's Mundanities: A New Watch (and how it relates to bicycling)

I am a watch person.  I've worn one since I've been 8, so I'm quite used to that bracelet-type thing on my left arm.  It's jewelry that serves a purpose: tell time.  And "back in the day", it was a necessity if you were going to be outside of your house or an office.

Nowadays, we've got lots of blingy electronic devices: cellphones, iPods, GPS devices, etc.  And they all tell time, plus do a bajillion other things.  I'm guessing we've probably seen a downward trend in watch sales.

My last watch I bought about 5 years ago from one of those crappy discount department stores.  This watch decided to bite it earlier in the month.  At first I noticed that the time was off, but it took a few weeks for the battery to finally die.  I could get a new battery, but the problem is that most watches need to be brought to a jeweler or watch repair place these days, which costs $$.  I already changed the battery once, and never really cared much for the thing in the first place due to it not having a back light, so I decided to let it die.

But should I get a new watch?  My cellphone can tell me the time, date, and even the weather forecast.  So can my iPod touch.  And theoretically my cyclecomputer also has a clock on it, but for some reason it's always been "off", and you can't reset the time without clearing out the odometer, which I think is pretty stupid as one needs to change the time at the minimum twice a year. So I decided to see if just using my phone for time would work.

And it mostly did, except for one exception: riding my bike.  There was no easy way for me to just glance at the time while riding, something I was accustomed to do with the watch.  So new watch it was!

But what kind of watch?  Something inexpensive and basic is what I've gone for lately.  Analog face, maybe date, back lit, water resistant.  That's all I need.  I'll get a fancier, classier watch someday, but right now a basic watch will do.  I thought briefly of trying to get one of those classy Russian watches that Mr. Rat Trap Press down in Fort Worth just got, but Wednesday night April and I found ourselves at the Fred Meyer in Gateway for grocery shopping, so it was just convenient to get one there.

I've been partial to Timex watches in the past, partially due to their reliability and maybe because they are from Waterbury, Connecticut,* which is just up the Naugatuck River** from where I'm from. But their most basic watch was over $40, so I opted for a Casio, another brand of watch I've had in the past, which was a little over $20.  And what does it do?  It tells the time, the date, is water resistant, and has a back light.  That's all I need!

*Well, technically, the headquarters moved one town west to Middlebury (one town east of Southbury, where I lived for many years and went to high school (go, Panthers!)), but Timex was originally based in industrial Waterbury.  Not that it really matters anymore, all the watches are made overseas.
**There was so many clock/watch making enterprises based in "The Valley" back in the day, we earned the nickname "The Switzerland of America".  Besides Timex, there was the Ansonia clock company in my hometown, and Seth Thomas who made the clock inside Grand Central in New York and the clock that adorns the tower at Portland's Union Station. Now the Naugatuck Valley is better known as the "Armpit of Connecticut."


  1. It's funny that you questioned whether watch sales are declining due to the overwhelming availability of electronic items that tell time-I was wondering the exact same thing. A watch used to be one of those items that every man must have. I also wonder if kids nowadays know how to read an analog watch? I bet the sale of inexpensive watches has declined while the high dollar stuff is still going strong, it's an easy way to display wealth.

    By the way, I like the Casio.

  2. A nice simple watch...with ticking hands...that just tells the time is essential in my books.

    The time on my cycle computer is off by an hour...I'm just waiting for the clocks to change again. Shouldn't be too long.
    But still...a wrist watch is so very useful.
    Quick and easy.


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