It’s hard to pick what to write about on Christmas and writing about a Christmas watch seems a little too expected. So I decided on this one. It was 10 years ago today I received this watch. This one is special because it was the first watch my SO gave to me, before we were even affianced. It’s significant to me as it combines my inner geek with my passion. This circuit board wristwatch was available from Uncommon Goods who always had a smattering a geeky-cool things for people like us. During college I worked at an engineering firm assembling circuit boards. I can still smell the soldering paste and etching acid if I try hard enough. I loved that job. He knew that and he knew me. He picked out this watch, which was the first of many watches to come. The circuit board watch comes in a metal tin with a recycled circuit board blank decorating the top. The face of the watch is also a piece from an unused, unpopulated circuit board. The case is stainless and the band is mesh stainless as well. What makes this watch even more geeky? The circuit board is the battery portion of some electronic gadget. So 10 years ago, this is what I opened on Christmas day. Wait until you see what he got me this year.
I can’t find this one anymore, but Fossil has a good alternative that actual uses a circuit board to create a circuit board that’s a digital circuit board.
Feel like being insulted? Then this is the watch for you. The C-Watch does it with a frown. If you didn’t guess it by the unfriendly digital face, wait until you hear it. At the push of a button, the watch will tell you what time it is and then insult you. Sometimes it gets so mad it just makes a loud, nonsensical chattering. It’s not without any charm, though. It has a stopwatch complete with running man animation, an alarm and most importantly, an off button. I found this at Toys R Us in the electronics section about 8 years ago. This is a bad digi-pet that ignorance won’t kill. The brand is Trendsetters, and it was available in less cantakerous styles like an easy-going surfer dude.
Another great example of a novelty wristwatch. This Bud Light digital watch is shaped like a can and it runs on beer! Thanks to the joys of a wet cell battery, you can actually soak this watch in beer (or any other liquid) and it will power up the digital display. I love this watch because it has two things going for it- the shape and the functionality. I would’ve bought it just for the shape, but throw in the fact that I can soak it in beer and now I’m looking for my Frat Rock CD and a 40 of Natty Light! I found this on eBay not too long ago. Wet cell battery power is a very old technology. Watches that run on water were a novelty in the mid to late 90’s. I don’t know how or where this watch was offered. It could’ve been a promotion or it could’ve been sold at a brewery or on-line store. You will have a hard time finding one now. Check eBay.
I love research and development. There’s no other way to get from here to there. In 1971, Tissot was on the bleeding edge. They came up with a concept called Research Idea 2001. Another name for it was Astrolon. This well-respected brand made a watch almost entirely of plastic. The research effort was in part to find cheaper means to make a mechanical watch but mostly to try new materials. The result was big, futuristic and inaccurate. What is labeled as a “marketing disaster” almost jeopardized Tissot’s future. But it didn’t. Tissot is strong and edgy still today. Have you physically touched a Tissot T Touch? This is the beauty and risk in R&D. Failures make you and your competitors stronger. Do you think there is any link between the Swatch (which came out more than a decade later) and the concept of the Astrolon? I thought of the Astrolon when I saw this Advance in a case at a thrift store. It’s a quartz and does run on a battery, but most of the internal gears are plastic. It’s plastic exhibition case let’s you see everything on the inside from the front and the back. I’ve never heard nor seen any other Advance watch like this one. Another interesting fact about this model is that it’s really loud. I have it in a case with the glass door shut and I can hear it from several feet away. I’m so glad I ran across this. I think I paid $5.99 which is a lot at a thrift store for a plastic watch. I’ve yet to get my hands on the original Tissot version. Sears made one similar to Tissot and it’s called Astrolon, too. I’ve seen both models on eBay but usually they are non-working.