Good point, Beth. The watchband, however, was a dark sign of troubles to come. In the end, the watch itself stopped working. So, whatever quality lapses were apparent in the watchband design also seemed to affect the design of the innner workings of the watch as well.
Got it, Rob. That makes sense that where's there is one failure, there's another. So I guess it's back to the old Timex brand, which "keeps on ticking." I'd actually be curious to know if modern-day Timex watches are as reliable as the older models.
Good question, Beth. That was the first thing that came to mind when the blogger mentioned going back to Timex. In this column, we've seen so many sacred brands lose their quality. I've owned Timex watches and they do go on forever. But times change. I no longer wear a watch. I find my cell phone has ended my need to wear something on my wrist. My wrist feels absolutely liberated. And the time on my cell is always accurate, never fails.
Your point about sacred brands losing their quality standards was just what I was thinking, Rob. This column has documented stories of so many products from once highly trusted brands that fell off a cliff quality wise with modern-day engineering/manufacturing practices. It's almost painful to watch.
As for wearing a watch. I, for one, always have one on. But for me, it's more about the jewelry/accessory aspect--I don't necessarily care if it keeps on ticking!!!
Citizens are ok watches. Don't expect them to last a decade. Seiko is a better watch, I believe. I have a few watches. A stainless steel Seiko and a plastic band and cased Swiss Army. I save the Seiko for winter months and A/C environments and the Swiss Army for the Summer months. No corrosion and the bracelets look great. Also, never put your watch in your pocket. Ruins the bracelets in no time. If you don't want Seiko try Fossil watches. A family member of mine who has a Jewelry store and sales Rolex and Fossil actually prefers the Fossil over Rolex. Fossil is much lighter and actually keeps time better. Don't have to wind it up everyday. In watches everyone wants the more expensive watch, but they also have a much bigger advertising budget.
I think of watches, cell phones, iPads, etc. as "tools". Each of us has preferred tools, but few of would use a sledge hammer to drive finishing nails into woodwork. Since I keep my cell phone in my pants pocket, a digit wrist watch serves me much better when my hands are full of paint, engine oil, grass clippings, swimming, etc. I also think a cool analog watch looks good for dressup occasions! But its nice to have all these options to choose from!
Watches, my daughter tells me, are passé. Everybody (I guess the same everybody whose mom let them do this or that) uses the clock on their cell phone. Being old school dinosaur, I still prefer a watch, and one with a face and hands instead of a digital. I tend to get them at that great bastion of retail, where a new watch is less expensive than replacing the battery or band of the old one. It grates against my old school soul to replace instead of repair, but money is still money, For $8 I can get a new watch. .. or for $15 I can get a new band and battery. For the record, my phone does have a clock on the inside, one on the the outside, dual readouts for world travelers, three alarms, a timer, and a stopwatch. Talk about overkill.
Wrist watches are making a comeback as a fashion statement! Wrist watches the size of pocket watches are now cool. Vintage watches are also cool. They're even taking the Swatch® factory out of mothballs. I would find a watch as large as the current fashioon to be exceedingly cumbersome, but I guess that it's not a problem if you're already using that hand to hold up your baggy pants.
I hate to say this but I've seen similar problems with Timex watchbands. This one kept popping open right at the piece that connects with the pin. Just seemed to be a press fit that doesn't last all the long if the watch is being worn daily. My guess is the same company makes the watchbands and they aren't so much worried about quality when, as the other poster stated, many people tend not to wear them as consistently as they once did.
The article does seem to poke fun at Chinese watch manufacturing. Having been to the train station in Shenzhen, China and being offered a $10,000 Rolex for 300 RMB ($50) that was guaranteed to keep time to the minute, I understand that Chinese brands may seem to be faulty, but there are some good ones. Sea Gull watches manufactured in Tianjin, China are known internationally for their quality. As for Citizen, I have had the same one for the last 10 years and other than damaging the crystal once, it has never needed any repair.
Citizen watches are now all "Eco-Drive" meaning they have a charge storage device that captures the energy in light. In theory, you never need to replace a battery (which costs less than $5). Instead every few years I need to replace this charge storage device which costs over $50! I would rather they just used batteries and not be so fancy. My old battery power Citizen lasted over 15 years before it broke.
I had an all stainless steel timex for year until I finally ran over it with a Ford F150. I guess Im old school and just dont feel right without an ANALOG watch. After a couple not so cheap Casio and Timex watches and having the bands break or get an awful funky smell to them, I went back to an all metal watch. A nice Omega I picked up for 7500 Tengiz.
One thing kids dont consider about using their cell phones to check the time is when traveling, your phone continually updates with the local time. I can look at an analog watch and tell you what time it is in all the important places. Like home so Im not calling my wife at 2am.
Buy a Casio, they have watches with plenty of features, and the run forever. Mine is solar powered (no battery replacements) and is set automatically by radio from NIST WWV in Ft Colins, and I bought it at Costo!! It has a compus, altimiter, baromiter, thermometer and an array of stopwatches, countdown timers and alarms.
My experience with my Costco Casio started out good, then degraded beyond correction. I didn't have the compass, altimeter, barometer or thermometer, but did have an array of various timing functions and alarms. It would adjust its time based on the closest time signal worldwide...until I mistakenly pressed some correct combination of buttons to get to one of the other modes (correct, that is, if I had held the watch with the '12' at top). Unfortunately, the room lighting was dim and the '12' was where the '6' should be. At that point, nothing I could press would get it to provide correct local time, even holding in the 'A' button for a few seconds as the master clear. Oh, I could still use it as a watch if, for example, I set it for Chicago when I was in Los Angeles. I even took it to a high-end horologist and asked him to reset it to factory defaults. He refused to take the watch from my hand and suggested I mail it back to Casio for repair. Instead, I bought a Dakota backpackers watch that I hang from a front belt loop on my trousers. It keeps great time, corrects to local time with a quick turn of the single button, and is durable. I once mistakenly left it in my shoe after going through airport security and walked down the terminal to my gate before removing it unharmed.
I still wear a watch. For me, it IS more convenient, more rugged, and more waterproof than my cell phone. Since 1968, I have owned many brands and styles of watches. My favorite is an analog battery powered watch with an alpha-numeric/digital readout of day, date, and time. When traveling into other time zones I can set the analog time to local time and have the digital still track the time at home to avoid calling home or office at inappropriate hours.
My everyday watch is a cheap battery powered timex expedition with indiglo face and leather watchband. This analog watch is cheap, reliable, keeps excellent time, water resistant, and is legible in the dark. I have had this watch for 8 years and am on the second band, the original unscratched crystal, and third battery. My timex watches in the 70's had more exposed face crystals which got more scratched and more easily broken. Those old wind-up watches would be off by 1 to 5 minutes a day as well. The new timex is BETTER than my old timex watches were.
I also have a Harley Davidson battery powered watch (brand?) with leather band, and two Omega self-winding mechanical watches with metal link bands, one 1950 that I inherited from my father, and one 1952 from my father's cousin, respectively. I enjoy these watches for nicer occasions, but they are not waterproof, the Omega watches should be internally cleaned annually by a jeweler for over $45, and they are too valuable to leave around. They keep excellent time, but do nothing more than my timex and don't light-up.
I agree these watches are all tools/jewelry. Use the ones you like, in the way that best serves you. By analogy, do you want to walk, ride a bicycle, ride a Segway, take the bus, ride the subway, ride a train, ride a motorcycle, drive an economy car, drive a sports car, a muscle car, a luxury car, an SUV, a boat, or drive a pick-up truck? These choices all can provide transportation between two locations, but the costs, capabilities, and features are quite different and fit different lifestyles/needs/wants.
I have always thought the Rolex to be quite ostentatious and a poor choice for an engineer. I quit wearing a watch fairly early in my career when the band got across some hig current connections and got quite warm very quickly. My solution has been clocks on the wall in my cube and on the plant floor. "They remind us that the customer is waiting" has been my explanation, which has not been challenged. The car has a clock, the computer has a clock, and so does the darned cell phone. And if I don't wish to be disturbed, I can leave the cell phone home and go where there are no clocks, and things are a bit more peaceful.
About quality of watches: The one I got i high school still runs, it sits in a drawer, though, as a reminder of that era. People who wear a $3500 watch are no more on time than the fellow with the old Timex, so it appears that some are simply paying a whole lot for appearance. I do often wonder how a purchasing person can afford a gold and diamond watch and ten pounds of gold chains, when purchasing got paid less than engineering. I never did get an explanation for that one.
I marvel at watch design. Something which really excited me was the Bulova AccuTron using a tuning fork timebase. Only problem these days is finding the 1.35 volt battery. The mercury cell is tough to find. Now, a clever guy decided to make an equivalent by utilizing a germanium diode to drop the silver oxide cell voltage of 1.55 v to the operating level of the Bulova. How cool is that?
Although I do carry one of those incredibly useful and fun smartphones for personal use, I find it excessively inefficient to fish it out of my pocket, remove it from its case, turn it on, and enter my passcode to determine the current time when a simple twist of my wrist will suffice. It also has a number of timing applications that would work well during product testing. Unfortunately, it is a bit of a power hog and needs recharging at least once a day under normal use, two or three times a day when using apps. Timing an event with a corded tool gets to be a bit cumbersone. My watch (analog/digital Tmex with stopwatch, timer, etc.) only requires new batteries every 3-5 years (depending on the quality of the battery). Use it all of the time for times testing.
I guess I am also "old school" as I always wear a wrist watch. For the last 20 years or so I have only had Casio watches. Every one that I have had has lasted for many years, kept good time, and the battery life has been fantastic; 5 years or so. The only problem I have ever had with them is the band. But, I always replace the band with a velcro band and that has always worked fine. I will keep buying Cascio's as long as I need a watch and they are available and continue to be of the same quality and reliability.
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
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