Windups at WallyWorld

Windups at WallyWorld

Scott
Scott

November 7th, 2004, 3:16 pm #1

WallyWorld now sells a windup pocketwatch for 28 dollars-I forgot the manufacturer,but it's advertised as "never needing a battery".
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Dorsey H.
Dorsey H.

November 7th, 2004, 5:17 pm #2

I don't know if you're referring to the same Chinese-made mechanical windup pocket watch I saw at Wal-Mart last year, Scott, but there's definitely a new wave of mechanicals out there.

Many of these revived mid to low-end mechanicals are automatics bearing some familiar brand names such as Invicta, Seiko and Elgin. Some are sold under European/German-sounding names like Elysee and Pathos. I'm guessing that most if not all of the jeweled movements originate in Asia regardless of the brand name.

I've also seen several versions of the standard mechanical windup alarm clock. Some of these are reproductions of the famous old 1950's kids cowboy clocks such as Roy Rogers. Others are very nice replicas of Disney character mechanical alarms from the same era. All of the retro mechanical alarms that I've seen were made in China.

When you stop and think about it, reviving the mechanical watch & clock industry seems logical. There must be huge parts of the third world where the cost of replacement batteries is prohibitive. Having lived and travelled widely in some very poor countries I know that watch and clock ownership carries a huge amount of prestige among the poorest classes. I'm surprised that some enterprising company hasn't produced millions of cheap windup watches and clocks and flooded the third world with them. Of course they'd never be able to compete with the cheapest of the quartz models. Certainly there would be some niche for the mechanicals though.

Wouldn't it be utterly amazing if a new wave of mechanicals with the "needs no battery" sales slogan were to appear again? Interesting thoughts.

Dorsey H.



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Scott
Scott

November 7th, 2004, 6:36 pm #3

The one I saw was a few days ago,was in a small rack with pocketwatches from several manufacturers. I'm surprised the solar-capacitor watch hasn't taken off.It would be only a little more to produce than a standard battery-powered quartz(or LCD) watch..I bought one in the sale pile at WallyWorld(five bucks) a year or so ago,and it's been keeping time just fine ever since(I have it parked in a window).The capacitor doesn't have enough oomph to power anything other than the watch itself for any length of time,so it would likely have few bells and whistles..but the mechanical ones I've seen have few bells and whistles.
There is an "automatic quartz"-a generator driven by a mechanism similar to an autowinder,with the generator charging a capacitor.I*think*Citizen makes it.
I suppose you could have a springwound digital watch,with the generator charging a capacitor..that would make a neat transparent pocket watch.
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RJ
RJ

November 7th, 2004, 8:44 pm #4

Personally, I think the market for mechanicals is there, especially for a brand like Timex. There's something fascinating about a watch that doesn't lose battery time sitting in a drawer.

One that will only work from a human's touch.

A gift to be proud of. I'll bet Santa and his elves have been waiting for the day to start making watches again.
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Jack from Philadelphia
Jack from Philadelphia

November 8th, 2004, 1:59 am #5

I suspect that the author of Megatrends (Nesbitt?) was right when he said that, for every technological advance an additional human touch is desired. By way of analogy it might be a mechanical watch is like a car with a stanndard transmission - not necessarilly more efficient, but the man/machine interaction is pleasing. I believe that it was horological historian David Landes who observed, "It is hard to love a quartz watch." The brave new world into which we are hurtling has lots of room for reminders of yesteryear. Mechanical watches are also environmentally sound. I've heard that windups were cited as superior to quartz for their "never needs a battery" quality in the former Soviet Union. I reckon getting a battery in Siberia in January could be a problem.
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technoguy
technoguy

November 8th, 2004, 8:45 am #6

WallyWorld now sells a windup pocketwatch for 28 dollars-I forgot the manufacturer,but it's advertised as "never needing a battery".
To tell the truth, I'd even welcome a return of the pocket watch! I notice that some of the latest contemporary wristwatches are starting to have case diameters that exceed 50 mm...close to the size of a man's pocket watch.

I've considered obtaining an early 20th century pocket watch and seeing if I could somehow convert it into a wristwatch with a special wrist band or by actually soldering on lugs so I could put a regular watch band on it. Having to carry a pocket watch in one's pocket is not too convenient nowadays. Also I think that a constant change in position on the wrist is better for the pocket watch's accuracy than always having it in relatively one position in one's pocket.

I read an interesting story of how the wristwatch was invented. Actually, the wristwatch for women was invented by the Patek Phillipe company at the end of the 19th century. Guys, however, would not wear them because they were considered too "feminine". Then along came a Brazilian inventor named Alberto Santos-Dumont. He was a wealthy bon-vivant who began demonstrating various lighter and heavier-than-air aircraft in Paris around the beginning of the 20th century. He complained to his friend Louis Cartier one day that he needed a watch that he could wear and read while keeping both hands on his aircraft's controls. Cartier supposedly produced the first man-sized wristwatch for him to use. Soon it became the "cool" thing in Paris for guys to wear wristwatches...just so long as they were bigger than women's wristwatches. That trend has, more or less, continued to this very day.

technoguy

P.S. By the way, even today, the people of Brazil STILL consider Santos-Dumont the legitimate inventor of the FIRST airplane and not the Wright brothers. While the Wright brothers first SECRET flight occured in 1903 and Santos-Dumont's first PUBLIC flight in 1906, the latter's aircraft was able to take off under its OWN power and did not require a catapult or a strong head wind! Also, supposedly the Cartier watch company still makes available a replica of its "Santos-Dumont" wristwatch for a "few" thousand dollars!
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Jack from Philadelphia
Jack from Philadelphia

November 8th, 2004, 1:21 pm #7

There is a company out there that sells a very pricey wristband that accommodates pocket watches by means of a locking arrangement. I can try to track it down from International Wristwatch Magazine if you're interested.

Men's wrist watches may have been invented as early as the 1880s. I believe Girard Perrageux claims to have made them for the German Navy. In any event, they became very popular in WWI as wristwatches left the hands free for wielding weapons, using binoculars, etc. I've seen ads from the early '20s that refers to wrist watches as being "for real men" (i.e., soldiers).
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technoguy
technoguy

November 8th, 2004, 2:04 pm #8

Yes, if you happen to come across a company that supplies those special wristbands for pocket watches, then I'd like to know about it...either a street address or, preferably, a website URL...

I've always suspected that wristwatches for men predated Louis Cartier's claim. Most likely they were being used by military officers in eastern Europe prior to 1900. But, I think the Cartier story has a more "colorful" quality to it!

technoguy
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RJ
RJ

November 8th, 2004, 2:10 pm #9

To tell the truth, I'd even welcome a return of the pocket watch! I notice that some of the latest contemporary wristwatches are starting to have case diameters that exceed 50 mm...close to the size of a man's pocket watch.

I've considered obtaining an early 20th century pocket watch and seeing if I could somehow convert it into a wristwatch with a special wrist band or by actually soldering on lugs so I could put a regular watch band on it. Having to carry a pocket watch in one's pocket is not too convenient nowadays. Also I think that a constant change in position on the wrist is better for the pocket watch's accuracy than always having it in relatively one position in one's pocket.

I read an interesting story of how the wristwatch was invented. Actually, the wristwatch for women was invented by the Patek Phillipe company at the end of the 19th century. Guys, however, would not wear them because they were considered too "feminine". Then along came a Brazilian inventor named Alberto Santos-Dumont. He was a wealthy bon-vivant who began demonstrating various lighter and heavier-than-air aircraft in Paris around the beginning of the 20th century. He complained to his friend Louis Cartier one day that he needed a watch that he could wear and read while keeping both hands on his aircraft's controls. Cartier supposedly produced the first man-sized wristwatch for him to use. Soon it became the "cool" thing in Paris for guys to wear wristwatches...just so long as they were bigger than women's wristwatches. That trend has, more or less, continued to this very day.

technoguy

P.S. By the way, even today, the people of Brazil STILL consider Santos-Dumont the legitimate inventor of the FIRST airplane and not the Wright brothers. While the Wright brothers first SECRET flight occured in 1903 and Santos-Dumont's first PUBLIC flight in 1906, the latter's aircraft was able to take off under its OWN power and did not require a catapult or a strong head wind! Also, supposedly the Cartier watch company still makes available a replica of its "Santos-Dumont" wristwatch for a "few" thousand dollars!
I saw a picture of an early women's wristwatch and it didn't look very small. More like a pocket watch with fixed lugs at either end.

Maybe a one piece strap would work.
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RonD.
RonD.

November 8th, 2004, 3:56 pm #10

I have seen plenty of early mens wrist watches, and they all seem to be converted ladies pocket watches. In fact, some of them have "For Converted Watches" stamped on the back of the dial. In the pic below, I have a few of my oldies. The two in the middle are from 1904 and 1897.. both have pocket watch movements. The original dial on the 1897 one was from around 1925 and had those big block numbers (it was badly pitted so I replaced it), showing that they did recycle those old movements.



I always thought it was funny that Elgin would have used movements that were nearly 30 years old in their "new" wrist watches. Funny, because we can also do that with our Timexes! I often will replace a movement from an early 1960s Timex with one from the late 1980s.

Ron
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