Friday, January 13, 2006

When you can't buy another watch...

There are times when a new collector is between watch purchases. What does a collector do to keep himself busy?

Change the appearance of the watches you have.

The easiest and most popular way to do this is to change the bracelet or band. In order to do this, only one tool is necessary, and it is the first tool any watch lover should buy - a springbar tool.

These two springbar tools are representative of what you'll find out there, and are available dirctly through Otto Frei, or through Otto Frei via the Timezone Tool Shop. The two differ in that the top tool is a Bergeon 6111, a 'top quality' (read, fancier) tool, while the bottom tool is a no-frills Standard Bergeon tool. Both are up to the task, however when buying your watch tools, remember that an investment in quality tools will yeild divedends in the long run; a better tool will last longer.

Most straps and bracelets are held on by springbars. The forke end of the tool is inserted between the neck of the springbar and the case lug, and the springbar is pulled toward the center of the strap until it is clear of the hole, allowing the bar to be removed. The springbars are placed in the new strap, and the springbar is replaced into the lugs. Piece of cake!

There are pictures on all the watch forums of people trying out different watch/strap combos. Some make quite a difference, while the changes in my pictures here are subtler.

A change from a bracelet to a strap can make a watch sportier, and more comfortable in the winter.

Some bands, like the NATO style bands shown on the modified Seiko 007 below, don't require removal of the lugs to interchange straps.

I find my bands at GlobalWatchBand and The Watch Prince. Bracelets can dress a watch up, but are generally a bit more expensive. In addition, a bracelet sizing tool is necessary to adjust new bracelets to your wrist. Otto Frei carries a variety of tools to remove bracelet links, in a range of quality, complexity, and price.
Changing bands is easy, and one of the first customization tasks a collector can pick up. Adding deployants, changing buckles, and similar tasks can be performed with just a springbar tool.
Ultimately, many collectors will chose to learn to change batteries, redial watches, add custom hand sets, and service their own mechanical movements. An outstanding on-line watch school is maintained by Timezine - the TZ Watch School. Those with patience, steady hands, and a driving interest in horology are encouraged to apply!


Blogger bibletoter said...

Great article, and super blog! Thanks for linking to it from PMWF. I also love the post on "Pocket Notebooks." After using a Palm for a while (even the WristPDA), I'm going back to good ole paper and pen! You should sell me one of those Army notebooks and let me see if I like it!

9:33 AM  

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