If you like Corum Bubble, you’ll love this Viking bauble. Pretend you can see how excited I was when I saw this watch on eBay…it looked like a pretty good copy of Corum’s Bubble but not a knock-off. It was branded Viking and had a viking logo on the face. The crystal was a thick bubble shape. The crown was completely round with a black rubber ring through it. And it was automatic. I bought it thinking what fools must’ve passed this up thinking it was a knock off? I just knew it had to be a re-branded Corum Bubble. What a fortune this thing would be worth if I found a prototype or some sort of first-run model. The thing shows up at my door. It’s heavy. I pick it up and it has the familiar Bauding ball-like feel as the mechanism moves inside the case. I open it up… Made in China across the paper-thin rotor. Damn. It goes in the drawer with my ePod and a cabbage porch doll.
They’re just not for me. I think they can be quite beautiful or striking, but not on my wrist. I keep buying them, though. I love my white Fossil Stella. I’ve always had my eye on a white Cartier tank. And for some reason, I find one of the most visually intriguing to be the Nixon Motif. I can’t keep it free of fingerprints – it’s got the biggest crystal i’ve ever seen and I have to touch it. I love they way they put a hint of texture into the large white monolith with few fine lines. It reminds me of that book I read when I was little called Superfudge. In the book, a painter’s wife got mad and knocked red paint over his painting in progress. He salvaged it and called the piece Anita’s Anger. In my head, this watch is what that painting looked like, minus the red.
They come in other colors and are available from Amazon.
The world is filled with people who have great ideas. Since I’m in R&D, I hear more of them than the average person. Don’t be surprised when I tell you that the ideas that actually go somewhere have little to do with the idea itself. It’s all about the man behind the curtain bringing the idea to life. C’mon. Do you really think the Slap Chop is a novel idea?! Why is that in every K-Mart but no one has seen your fuel cell-powered watch? This is not a post to remember or mourn Mr. Hayek. We all know what he did and how he changed the desire and affordability of wristwatches for the lot of us. Let’s use his story as an example and then make him proud. My earliest Swatch is the Carlton Pinstripe. Take out your first Swatch. Remember the day you bought it and the anticipation leading up to it. Put it on your wrist. (It’s okay, no one believes it’s still mint.) Next, think of a few Swatch ideas that struck you in the slice of time between then and now. For me this would be Swatch Musical, Swatch Internet Time and the Swatch Snowpass. Our job is to figure out what’s next in this sequence. Not for Swatch- for the whole wristwatch industry. So do it! Be logical. Be creative. Be absurd. Be a 17-year-old taking the SAT. I’m not talking about a jump from tourbillon to gyrotourbillon. I’m taking about a giant leap like mechanical to digital. I know you’ve already thought of something so make it happen. Fake some bravery and post a comment with your idea.
My favorite Swatch book. It’s old but still good. Swatch: A Guide for Connoisseurs and Collectors
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He who hesitates is lost. That was me before I found my way into ownership of a vintage Spaceview. It took way too long for me to see the light…or hear the hum, rather. Of course I knew the Spaceview existed- I’m an EE for shit’s sake! But I hesitated. I thought it would be too large to actually wear on my wrist. Manly. Chunky. Totally unfeminine. I bought it anyway and took a chance. Why did it take so long? I had to sell my car first. No, the watch isn’t that expensive. Neither was my car. But I loved the car and when it came time to sell it, it had to be commemorated in a special way. The Buick Reatta was another, one of a kind electrical engineering victory. It only seemed fitting to finally get the Spaceview. The tuning fork mechanism was developed in the 1960s and the Spaceview model was really just a sales aid to show potential watch customers this new mechanism that hummed instead of ticked. They didn’t expect people would want to buy the see-through watch model and Bulova ended up selling a ton of these in the 60s and 70s. Now a classic with a big following, the Spaceview is a sound investment. There are a few, but dedicated persons who will completely service, restore, revamp this particular watch. You can get one in excellent condition for under $500 right now, and you can pretty much pick and choose which style Spaceview you want. I opted for the bow-tie model in stainless. The best part is the tuning fork with the big,bulky magnets at the top. The mechanism hums at 360 Hz as it smoothly sweeps the second hand around the dial. I would love to see the difference between the Spaceview’s sweep hand and that of the Seiko Ananta‘s spring drive. It’d either be like dueling banjos or John Henry. I’m betting on the guy with the hammer.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Bulova announced a 1000 piece re-introduction of the Spaceview at BaselWorld last month.
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How to avoid a fight w/spouse? Don’t answer his serious questions with the sounds from your submarine watch. Not everyone can interpret Casio Melody tones, I guess. I made that mistake with this watch. It started off innocently…I was simply taking out the watch to make sure it still worked when I was asked a serious question at the same time. What could I do? That would be like owning a Millennium Countdown watch and not wearing it on New Year’s Eve! It didn’t help that the sound this watch makes is ominous and creepy. The lights along the front flash on and off for a good 20 seconds while the sound plays. The digital time display pops out the front with the push of a button. I bought this from Kmart in the early 90s and the battery only died last year. It came in several colors including yellow, blue & red. There were at least two other siblings to round out this light & sound family- a robot watch and an airplane watch! All of them have similar eerie sounds and the same digital pop-out display. I’ve got one of each but am convinced there’s more. I’ll keep searching while keeping my soundbytes to myself. Unless a telemarketer calls…
In 1999, Swatch came out with a Yellow Submarine watch. No light and sound, though. No permission, either, but that’s another story.
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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…