Saturday, September 8, 2012

Watch complete--with my Twist-O-Flex watch band

Behold! The Twist-O-Flex watchband. Yes, I bought one and had it put on my new automatic watch.
   Why did I do that?
   Actually, that question has been aimed at me, by me, for the past several days.
I explained in an earlier post (or two, or three) that I'm tired of putting batteries in my watch every year. I admit that I don't hold a quartz watch with the same high esteem I hold a mechanical watch. I like the idea that my watch contains lots of gears, gears that turn with the power of a small spring.
   I'm not an engineer. I'm not a gear head. Seriously, my wife does get very, very nervous if I use a tool or machine. The sewing machine--which is mine, by the way--is the only machine in the house I can use without making her pulse race with concern for my health. I've written some about that topic too.

   I think on some level, I wanted the watch I had as a kid. It was a Timex self-winding watch with a little Boy Scout logo on it. I had that thing for years and it worked great. Not sure what happened to it. I think I gave it to someone in a moment of weakness, while staring with wonder at a digital watch I thought I would like...and probably did until I realized it contained no magic, and had a battery that would die eventually.

   So, when my Alias Kim automatic (which means self-winding, but sounds more modern) watch arrived a couple of weeks ago, I wore it with pride. Showed it off to people who had never seen a mechanical watch. I like everything about the watch. Hated the band. It was what the Chinese manufacturer called man-made leather. Yeah. I didn't know what that was either, until I decided to remove the stitching on the side of the strap and see for myself. What I found was a cheap combination of leather (the part that touched my wrist) with a layer of vinyl, covered by another layer of a stamped vinyl.

   I had long been a fan of leather watch straps. They're adjustable, and they're not expensive. I went out and bought one for $15 and had the jeweler put it on my new watch. It was okay, and definitely a step up from the piece of crap the manufacturer put on it.

   Still, I wasn't entirely pleased. 

   I remembered that old Boy Scout watch of mine. I remembered buying a Twist-O-Flex watch band for it. Twist-O-Flex is made by Speidel. I hadn't seen one in a long time and figured they had gone away, like a lot of otherwise good products, replaced by something more modern. (Much like automatic watches). I don't like the metal bracelets that are standard today. My wrist gains and loses as much as 1/2" in circumference during the day. That's enough to make a watch bracelet (the kind with a clasp) slide up and down on my wrist, and that drives me nuts.
   Twist-O-Flex. I'll admit, I think it's a nerdy, out-dated name. But! I like 'em anyway. There is no clasp. The band is made of little links. You slide it on over your hand and it contracts to the wrist. When my wrist expands during the day, the band expands with it. I have a small wrist and had to have the jeweler remove several links, but that's a one-time deal. I researched how to remove the links myself--and can see why having a jeweler do it is more than just a good idea. There are a lot of little prongs holding the thing together, and although the band is hard to break, it's also hard to take apart.

   This morning I picked up my new watch band--my nostalgia filled Twist-O-Flex. They've been around since the 1960's, these little miracle linky things. I like it because I won't have to adjust it during the day when my wrist expands and contracts. It won't slide around on my wrist, but does move enough--just enough--to keep my watch wound. One of the problems I was having with the leather strap is that it held the watch a little too tight to my wrist, and that didn't allow the rotor (weight) to move enough to wind my watch. This one will.
   It will also last a really long time. One of the benefits of it being a single piece is that there's no clasp to wear out. The links and the pieces of metal that hold them together are tough, and even if one breaks, I have the links the jeweler took out to use to replace them.
   Yeah, I'm a happy camper. I have my nostalgia watch (that keeps great time and was, for a mechanical watch, a very affordable $28, and a durable, comfortable band for another $20. No battery to replace, no clasp to replace, and some sweet memories of my very first "grown up" watch.
    I wish I still had that old Boy Scout Timex self-winding watch, by the way. I saw one on eBay for $179.00! Sigh.

   One last picture. It's not my watch, but it is the same model Twist-O-Flex I have on my watch. Mine looks better than the one in the photo--my watch is gold with a black face.