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wristwatch requirements   ...   random thoughts
mon 2005-aug-08 13:14:26 pdt   ...   permalink

A few days ago my watch broke -- the little knob you pull out to set the time came off entirely and so the watch is just stopped. It didn't come off while I was pulling it out to set the time or anything, I just noticed at some point that my watch was a couple hours behind, and stopped, and that the little knob was missing. Odd.

So now I'm faced with the task of getting a new watch. I've had this one for three years, and been pretty happy with it. I went back and found the email confirmation from when I originally ordered it, and determined that it is this one. So I could just get the same one again. It does meet almost all my requirements for a watch, and a quick look around confirms that my requirements, as simple as they are, are probably not going to be any easier to completely satisfy now than they were three years ago.

My requirements (which really don't seem all that stringent) are as follows:

  • must be analog
  • must have all numbers 1-12
  • must not use roman numerals
  • must have a circular face
  • must have a second hand
  • must have a band that can be removed/replaced
  • must consist entirely of black and white, and optionally silver
  • must not have a red second hand
  • should have black or silver frame
  • should have the date
  • should have black numbers and hands on white face
  • should have numbers oriented vertically, not radially
  • should have "Indiglo" or reasonable facsimile thereof
  • should not have numbers 13-24 or 5-60
  • can have or not have the day of the week

As you can see, I'm really quite flexible -- the frame can be either black or silver, and the day of the week can be either present or absent! It might even be okay for the face to be white on black instead of black on white (maybe). It's also acceptable for the date to be either in normal or inverse coloring, and it's even okay for the date to not be located in place of the "3" (in fact, placing it in other positions is somewhat desirable). I also do not place any requirements on the font used for the numbers. (Although, come to think of it, a modern font -- either with or without serifs -- is better than those old-fashioned curly italicized numbers that some watches use...)

Also note that although red is clearly not one of black, white, and silver, I still must explicitly disallow the red second hand because there seem to be quite a few watches that pass all the conditions, with the sole exception of a red second hand. Why would you want the second hand to be red, anyway? It's the one part of the watch that's actually visibly moving -- you really don't need it to draw more attention to itself by standing out in a contrasting color!

So anyway, according to the above list, the only problem with the one I got last time was that it has the numbers 13-24. They're really quite small, so I've been able to happily ignore them most of the time, but they do slightly mar the otherwise clean face. The other problem with it is that it ticks really loudly. Not a big deal most of the time, but occasionally annoying.

Okay, I think I'll go with this one, even though the face is white-on-black. Actually, looks like it might be silver-on-black. And they do seem to have silver-on-white, but it appears to be harder to read. I think the black background will be fine. And hey, no 13-24... Plus, it has the day of the week, and it correctly handles the number of days in each month. And it even manages to fit the day and date right alongside the "3", instead of dropping the "3" to make room. Interesting.

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reader comments on this entry:

mon 2005-aug-08 21:04:09 pdt
posted by

I guess watches just have too many attributes. I find that looking at a few, it's easy to decide on what you want, but nearly impossible to actually find it.

mon 2005-aug-08 22:16:20 pdt
posted by Lilly

I remember we discussed this a while back...we have very similar requirements and they seem so simple until you start looking for a watch. I hope my current one keeps on ticking because it took me so long to find it and they don't make it anymore.

tue 2005-aug-09 13:27:14 pdt
posted by Zoe

The clasp on my last (nearly ideal) watch broke about eight months ago. I've been so overwhealmed by the prospect of shopping for a new watch that I have been going watchless all this time.

tue 2005-aug-09 23:24:23 pdt
posted by Jamie

Your second and second-to-last requirements appear to be mutually exclusive. What is the requirement around numbers 5-60 about?

wed 2005-aug-10 00:37:57 pdt
posted by neilfred

Jamie --

You mean because the numbers 5-12 are included in both the sets 1-12 and 5-60? I'll assume that you're genuinely asking for clarification, rather than simply being a smart-ass.

So, many watches have 5,10,15,20,...,60 displayed in case you never learned that the big hand on the 7 means 35 minutes past the hour. Some watches actually have the multiples of 5 at the same intervals, but on a separate ring that can be rotated around (to use your second hand as a stopwatch, you see) -- those are of course even worse because, although in some sense they're intended for a possibly useful purpose, well, they're just ugly.

thu 2005-sep-15 17:09:24 pdt
posted by Cotus

Go ahead...just buy a Luminox watch. You'll have it for the next 20 years.

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