It was with great sadness that I acknowledged the passing of my wrist watch yesterday. I am not a wrist watch or fashion tart, I am a one watch man so you will appreciate the gravity of the situation. I like big watches and the last choice was a Casio G Shock lazy man, the lazy man is my addition but I feel it’s a good term. In order for this watch to always provide me with accurate time I had to do no more than let it see some light occasionally. Those clever Japanese had added solar power and radio controlled time, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised after all they produced a calculator watch in the 80’s and that was so early that we still haven’t worked out we need one! There were oddities to the watch, despite a stainless steel bracelet the watch itself was encased in rubber painted silver. But I like to think that these added character rather than taking anything away from the device.
The battery has finally given up after some 8 years of loyal service, I can charge it but it randomly demands ‘charge’ with the air of a spoilt child. Unfortunately the general condition of the device is such that I cannot justify replacing the battery and instead set off to seek a new device. Being an Engineer I did, of course, have to have a full autopsy of the dearly departed first and it revealed a tired machine. This watch has left my wrist at high-speed and survived, it has remained on my wrist when the wrist itself didn’t survive (leaving only at the last-minute). The burns on the strap are from a car battery short-circuit incident, glass scratches come from inadvertent contact with tools whilst searching for one in particular. With the rubber removed the fretting marks and erosion of plastic parts were clear evidence of the work that it had survived. Taking it one step further and dismantling the operational heart of the machine I was reminded that despite spending a reasonable amount of time in Japan I have never seen an adult with six child sized hands, as required to assemble such a device. Clearly the special ones are kept from the public gaze for fear that we would condemn the breeding program or perhaps their other deformities are too hideous.
The search for a replacement watch was not good, it revealed that the world has fallen out of step with me when I wasn’t looking. I like chunky watches with metal straps, I don’t think that is a lot to ask. I also fail to see why any right-minded adult would want a collection of needles (they call them hands) on a watch. This is a device for conveniently and readily telling the time, it is not the control panel for a nuclear power station. I wish to glance at my wrist and read the time not study my wrist and decode the complex co-ordinates that are presented to me. I can hear you now muttering that “surely he can tell the time” well yes actually I can but I can also perform long division that doesn’t mean I don’t have a calculator. If you call yourself an analogue purist then please allow me to correct you, you are in fact a snob. If there were ever a last-minute dash to the end of the world you would waste your time adding the 1/10thsecond hand to the other three. This is time that I would spend drinking your beer in the safe knowledge that I could recognise :00. Analogue watches are like baking pies in the oven, a great concept and the original way but useless to a hungry drunk. Digital watches are the microwaves of timepieces, you don’t even need to know which way up is to find out you have missed your last train home. I wonder how many people are killed every year trying to focus on a timepiece that looks like the internals of a safe while drunk. Wandering in front of moving cars, trains and fat people whilst trying to figure which dial has the hours on.
So we understand the basic requirements are a heavy, chunky watch that displays the time numerically, with a metal strap to which I have to do nothing for at least 8 years. The G Shock metal strap is no more because the Chinese have discovered war and are buying the world’s metal production to make warships and bullets. There is very few watches that meet my criteria, there used to be loads so what happened? Clearly the longevity of the last watch is such that I have not engaged with the market for some time, in that time the market has wandered off into madness. I don’t want a plastic strap around my wrist all the time, that is what they do to you in hospital. I don’t like wearing condoms why would I want rubber wrapped around my wrist 24 hrs a day? They apparently now have straps that are treated to ‘reduce sweat generation’ why? I expect to sweat in plastic that is why I don’t wear latex! But apparently anyone that wants a digital watch is almost obliged to have it attached to a combination of recycled car tires and durex. Oh if you are an analogue freak you can have a metal strap but has anyone checked the first 4 letters of analogue though, pretty clear to me.
I did find a watch that met my requirements, thanks again to the Japanese. The price was substantially higher but I consider that this is because Mr Yan-San has grown 3 more hands and they are smaller than a rats paws, such breeding doesn’t come cheap. Undeterred by the lack of market for the calculator watch he has crammed an altitude sensor, barometer and temperature sensor into a wrist watch. It still charges itself and sets itself. It is good for 200M under water and can tell me what the weather is going to do next. Most importantly there is a digital display that tells me the time, in numbers. Clearly, unlike the rest of the world, My Yan-San has understood the inherent safety risks with analogue watches, he has added a compass. Oh I know that the brochure says this for Kayakers and mountaineers but I know the truth, it’s so that I know which way is up when I’m drunk. So while you analogue snobs are falling under cars and elephants trying to determine the time I will focus the N upwards and pass out, its evolution my friends.