Photo by Salt Water New England

Friday, December 31, 2021

Cheap Watches and Ribbon Bands

Where to spend and where to save is mercurial, to be sure.   Boats, horses, schools, scotch, and privacy are often targets of largesse.  Spending extravagantly in other categories, such as resorts, goes more against the grain.  Flashier watches fall into the second category—perhaps better suited for the winners of various company regional award events.

Today, inexpensive watches—of classic design and with ribbon bands—can scratch a certain analog itch, lightweight and so far from precious that you don't have to worry about either breaking it or showing it.

Photo credit:  Muffy Aldrich

37 comments:

  1. I agree! I was hoping for some examples, other than the classic Timex Weekender.

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  2. How timely. My LL Bean Field watch with ribbon band just gave up the ghost.

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  3. "John, you're a Timex watch in a digital age". Live Free or Die Hard Movie, John McClane aka Bruce Willis. Typifies old school values & restraint. You're so good that you don't have to prove it. Enuff said.

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  4. Been wearing the same LL Bean branded watch daily for years. Change the ribbon band a few times a year. The "fancy" watch (gift from an ex) gets used only now and then.

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  5. I think there is a chasm between affordable and status symbol/statement watches, and flashy is readily available at any price point if bling is your thing. My main criteria for an analog watch are that it’s good in the water (with an appropriate strap - leather stays on land) and not so expensive that it can’t be readily replaced.

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  6. Sorry, I don't like feeding the Chinese manufacturing machine. To me it is worth it to buy a good, durable and reliable watch suitable for all occasions. Japan, Switzerland, Germany offer many great choices, my favorite is currently a USA microbrand/kickstarter watch with an off-the-shelf Swiss Selitta movement in a practically indestructible titanium case and bracelet, with a secondary strap option, costing less than the Cordings garments I see here frequently. Function, practicality, and tasteful good looks can be had in timepieces that will outlive us.

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    1. Good heaves, that's a lot of virtue-signalling for one comment. You do you, and I wish you much joy in it! I'm sure your watch (which will doubtless be more expensive than ours) will get you all the high-waves anyone could want at your favourite craft beer and free-trade coffee collective and gastro-pub.

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  7. I got a very basic Rolex Oyster for graduation in 1967, stainless, requires winding, no date or other features, $50 at the PX. As soon as the leather strap wore out, I got a few nylon straps in different colors. I still wear it with those same straps, although I have been pondering one or two new ones for the last decade or so.

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  8. I could never be embarrassed by my manual wind Hamilton Khaki Field watch on a NATO strap. Now Swiss made and impressive to the frugal counter snob crowd you describe but at home with the wrist check high end crowd.

    David J Cooper

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    1. Ladies Hamilton Jazzmaster here with striped or leather strap.

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  9. There’s something to be said about the value of cheap watches.

    My everyday watch today is a Timex Easy Reader “40th Anniversary” model (white face, black band, red keeper). The Indiglo feature on these watches is always great, and on this one a large “40” appears on the lighted face. It’s discontinued now, but before that I did find another one to serve as a backup.

    I used to have a rare Rolex Submariner from the 1970s that I kept in a safe deposit box when I learned how valuable it was. No sense in that. I sold it a few years ago to a collector for twenty times what I paid for it.

    The only other watch I own now is a silver-faced Lilenthal-Berlin Zeitgeist Automatik with a gray leather band that I rarely wear. It’s a nice watch, but it has skinny, luminous hands which are hard to see in the dark (I’ve been spoiled by the easy Timex Indiglo lighting.)

    https://lilienthal-berlin.com/z01-101-b002a?c=47

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  10. Since I live in Switzerland, ownership of a sturdy Swiss watch is sort of 'comme il faut' but I do respect if one prefers not to spend a huge amount on a watch. I admit to preferring watches over jewellery (a good pair of good quality pearl studs are essential though, as are a pair of gold creoles and one 'statement ring' and 'basta!'). Whether one has an inexpensive or 'important' watch, I just think that it mustn't be flashy. I own a Rolex Oyster Perpetual (your entry-level Rolex), a Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso tank, and a Cartier Tank Américaine, however they are all quite reserved and modest looking.

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    1. There is no such thing as an entry-level Rolex as any Rolex chronometer with a sextant and sight reduction tables is capable of navigating you across the North Atlantic.

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  11. Just can't beat a nylon strap, or a NATO strap of nylon. The only thing I wear on my vintage Rolex Submariner, and my vintage Omega Seamaster! Thanks so very much, and a very Happy New Year to all! Cheers!

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  12. There are watch people who wear expensive timepieces strictly in a socially competitive way, but then there are watch people who genuinely appreciate the inner workings and aesthetics of something made with attention to detail. I am neither, and am happy with the one watch I own, a Timex easy reader I got on sale for $35. It has a nice-looking black leather strap so I can wear it as a "dress" watch or just an everyday watch. I don't have to think about it much and don't worry about it or baby it.
    There was a social phenomenon in decades past that had Wall Street tycoons wearing Swatch watches as a statement. The message was, essentially, that they're so loaded they didn't need to trifle with ostentatiously expensive wrist jewelry -- that such things were gauche or desperate. Of course, it only became its own gauche and desperate social signal before too long.

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  13. Where can the best (or any) ribbon watchbands be found?
    Thank you!

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    1. https://www.esslinger.com/nylon-watch-bands-1/

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    2. I've gotten a few printed pattern ribbon bands here:
      https://www.hnswatchstrap.com/index.php?route=common/home

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    3. Leatherman Ltd. and O'Connell's.

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    4. My favorite watch bands are Maratac and I buy them from Countycomm. They have all sorts of interesting items and are very helpful.

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  14. Nylon NATO watch bands. So inexpensive you can buy a dozen and change them every week. Perfect with the Timex Weekender.

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  15. The picture shows a band that is too narrow for the Weekender, which is 20mm wide. The band is probably 18mm.

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  16. I wear a Timex with date at the hospital originally so that I could sign consents without taking out the phone. Eventually it was ruined but I was able to find a duplicate on eBay. Now the date stopped working but I will keep the watch until it’s unserviceable. I replaced the broken leather band with grosgrain. (Probably unwise considering some of what’s encountered) At home I wear an inexpensive Tissot Swiss Automatic with leather band my wife gifted me. I love both watches and can’t make the switch to the Apple Watch. I just hope our children will value the simplicity of a bit of analog in their lives.

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  17. I wear a 25 year old Omega Seamaster everyday as l have for the last 25 years

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    1. I love the simple look and functionality of the Seamaster, especially the Aqua Terra series. Unfortunately, Omega seem to have recently replaced the understated Aqua Terra 'teak deck' dial a much more blinged-out version with higher price points. Very disappointing.

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  18. I had an inexpensive Timex Roman numeral watch years ago and changed the grosgrain straps to match the colors of the Episcopal liturgical calendar. It was an easy and subtle way to be observant.

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    1. Love it! Did you get a rose one for Gaudete Sunday and Laetere Sunday? We have a very wonderful parishioner who donated rose hangings and vestments. I love them. I try to pick liturgically correct bow ties, but I have no white ties.

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  19. I wear a thirty-one year old Citizen watch that was made to resemble a basic Rolex and was bought at Costco. I had to have the movement inside a few years ago because it had stopped working even after a new battery.

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  20. Me thinks these people doth protest too much. Reverse snobbery is still snobbery. "Preppy" is no excuse. My watch collection includes a gold Longines which my mother gifted to my father on their wedding day in 1956,a Seiko chronograph (graduation gift 1972) and a Rolex Submariner that I bought for myself in 1985 for under $1500. Purchase and wear whatever makes you happy. No need to impress others, up or down. Happy and healthy New Year to all.

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    1. And yet we remain dutifully impressed by the carefully detailed list of your expensive watches here. Happy and healthy New Year to you too!

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  21. I have three old favorites, a Swiss Army which has taken lots of abuse and an LL Bean Field Watch. They have lasted, no nonsense and the Bean watch was lost outside while doing yard work, very clever of me, and spent the better part of a week on a stone wall! Still worked. I love my good old Timex.

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  22. Holy smokes! An Omega Seamaster costs $5800 new on Amazon. A wrist watch should not cost more than $50. Your wristwatch should tell you the correct time - not be a fashion statement or an item the pipehead will mug you for on the subway.

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    1. It seems to me there is a whole lot of ground between a watch that “the pipehead will mug you for on the subway” and one that you can buy at the local CVS.

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  23. Before I moved to a Garmin watch for tracking health-related metrics, I was a Timex Weekender disciple. Simple, reliable, elegant. I had the same watch for over a decade replacing the band every couple of years. I received more compliments with that watch than with any other article of clothing or accessory. I highly recommend these watches!

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  24. On impulse I bought an Apple watch last year which I think I'm going to give to my ten year old granddaughter. Just doesn't "do" it for me, though my OH swears by his and is in fact on his second Apple watch. I'm back to my beloved Timex Expedition with a leather strap that just gets softer with the years.

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  25. Watches serve two purposes--to tell you the time or to be a fashion statement. Neither of which needs to cost an arm and a leg. I have a very nice Citizen that was a gift and I love it but it works no better than the $20 Gruen I bought many years ago at an outlet store before they went out of business. The only advantage the Citizen has is it's one of the solar powered ones, so no battery to change. Otherwise, they do the same job and look equally as good.

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