What am I addicted to Flik Flak? I didn’t know about them until a few years after they came to be in 1987. I must’ve been blinded by Swatch. I didn’t own one until I picked up this Toucan at the Thrift Store in the mid-90s. It would’ve helped me had I gotten one earlier. Why? I couldn’t tell time until I was in 3rd or 4th grade! I remember being taught in 1st grade but not really getting it until years later. Flik Flak has a great way to help. They collaborated with educators to develop a unique time teaching method using two brothers, Flik and Flak. Flik is attached the the minute hand and Flak to the hour hand, making it easy and fun to learn how to tell time. Flik Flak is owned by the Swatch Group and is the world’s best-selling children’s watch. I like the metallic case, which is made with recycled aluminum BTW, and the fact that you can wash the entire watch in the washing machine. It was designed that way! I wasn’t a germ-o-phobe as a kid, but now that my GAD has fully developed and allowed me to explore fears such as germs, I love this concept! Of course, I am waiting on the more grown-up St. Gallen Rescue, but until then, I will continue to wear and wash my Flik Flaks. And then repeat.
Pillsbury has had several promotional campaigns over the years. In 1999, the selection of items you could send away for after collecting Doughboy points was pretty motley. A football, stadium blanket, book bag and even wallpaper! One such gem was the Doughboy Millennium Countdown watch. This was no ordinary promo- this large watch features both the analog display with the Doughboy on the face and a digital display for both the time and a countdown feature. It has an alarm, stopwatch and the programmable countdown timer. I’m not saying you can switch this guy out for your Breitling Aerospace but it does have more functions than your average mail order promo. The real story here is that something great happened that year with the feared Y2K conversion- the Pillsbury folks had a glitch in their order fulfillment center. The system got “stuck” on my address and started sending me all the merchandise from every order placed after mine. Of course I called after I had received a couple days worth of bounty, but it still took another week for the already sent mail to make it to my house. Pillsbury apologized (?!) for the inconvenience and told me to keep the stuff. Merry Christmas to me! I got three cast iron banks…a ball cap…a cookbook…5 Christmas ornaments…a jacket…a school bus…wallpaper…
Things you should never do: keep a dying battery in your digital watch. I can’t help it with this one. Of course this classic Nelsonic has an alarm and it plays Dixie. It has a metal case and band with a rather large digital face. It was made while the TV show was popular and before Tom Wopat began his singing career. The orange plastic display case is shaped like Uncle Jesse’s van, and the confederate flag is on the box, the watch and all over Tennessee. So what does this have to do with a dying battery? When Dixie plays with low power, it’s an eerie, slightly off rendition of the real thing. Kinda like that Vance and Coy season. I can’t help it- I have to play it over and over again until it gives up the ghost. These are still plentiful on eBay in plastic and metal band versions.
Many watches earn the title of Novelty. Some deserve it and some don’t. The Sea-Monkey Aquarium Watch earns this title with honors. Why? No one else thought it would be a good idea to make a portable aquarium for brine shrimp that you can wear on your wrist. They thought of everything. The aquarium part is removable and simply twist-locks onto the front of the digital watch. A Sea-Monkey extractor tool is provided for grabbing the little guys from their habitat and putting them into the aquarium. I got this for Christmas in 1999 and I have actually worn it with the Sea-Monkeys inside. They survived. Bravo Sea-Monkey people for thinking of us. Novelty Chronophiles salute you. You can get a Sea-Monkey wrist aquarium but it doesn’t have the watch on it anymore. It’s available from Amazon.
A whole new kind of collectable watch is one with animation. Mechanical animation. Check out this Eastman manual wind up watch. A common type of mechanical animation seems to be the eyes of a character displayed on the face of the watch. That’s what happens with this watch when you wind it up. With the beating of the seconds, the character’s eyes move up and down. The cool thing about this Eastman is that the character appears to be a drum major! I have never seen any other watch that commemorated the fine sport. I wonder if this is the only one that is or was ever available? I bought it on eBay about 5 years ago solely because it was a drum major. It’s in perfect condition with a thin leather strap that is very small so it must be a children’s watch. I’ve been known to wear this one on special occasions. When needing to pass time, there is something to be said about becoming mesmerized as the mechanical ticks steal your seconds away.
Remember this guy? Max Headroom was a character created in the mid-80’s and was a futuristic, computer-generated character. He had a movie, a television show spinoff, was in a music video and was also a spokespersonality for New Coke! This wristwatch is from his television show which aired for a few years in the US. I love it because it’s a pop-up style and has a hologram face of Max. It made the “novelty” category for these two reasons but really it’s a character watch. I have two Max watches- the other one is a swatch-style plastic watch that I believe was a promotional item which came inside a case of Coke. This one I found on eBay. It’s just so 80’s with the harsh background and simple design. It doesn’t even have real buttons to change the time or check the date- just metal tabs inside a cutout that required a pin to touch. Classic.