Friday, March 15, 2013

Watch this.

I have an ambivalent relationship with timepieces, probably because I have a similarly ambivalent relationship with time.  It never seems to be in my favor.  Which is why, although I love the look of various portable timepieces -- especially pocketwatches -- I rarely wear them.  There's a reason why it's called a "watch."  Every time I look at one I can see its face staring back at me, silently judging me for my tardiness.

Miss V, on the other hand, has yet to develop a complicated love-hate relationship with watches.  She just wanted one because it was cool.  (It occurs to me that her generation is starting to think of wristwatches as a slightly retro affectation, since so many people get the time from their cell phones these days.)  So at first we stopped by Target and I got her a basic Timex.  It sat in its packaging for several days as she dithered over whether she actually wanted the watch she'd picked out so enthusiastically in the store.  (No, don't ask me how often this happens.  I'm going to need therapy.  Mutta mutta.)

Then, about a week ago, V was looking through the glass case at her favorite thrift score emporium and noticed something -- a tall glass vase filled to the brim with watches in various states of disrepair, for the bargain price of $10.  She snapped it up immediately.  I didn't hold out a lot of hope for the watches inside, figuring that most of them would be broken beyond fixing -- but you never know.  And if V wanted to spend her money on a vase full of busted watches, that was her call.

There were 26 watches in the vase.  Some were indeed beyond hope, only good for parts or for junking.  Some -- notably the cheap digital watches -- were still working fine and only needed to be adjusted for DST.  Several watches needed nothing more complex than a new battery.  And one big sparkly watch with lots of Swarovski crystals around the face was in nearly pristine condition; it was probably donated because of the horrible watch band, which looked as though a dog had partially eaten it.  One battery and a new wristband later, it looks (and runs) like new.

Some representative watches from the thrift haul.
V now has several working watches to choose from, and a good dozen more that could be put in working order without much difficulty.

So, a couple of random take-aways from this experience:
  • Once again Miss V proves she has a good eye for thrifted treasures.
  • We live in a casually affluent and shockingly disposable society.  Most of these watches were given away solely because they needed a new battery -- which can be replaced for about $10 at a watch repair shop.  Nice watches were scattered through this lot; some retailed in the $80 - $150 price range when new.  Wouldn't it make more sense to replace the battery, rather than toss the whole watch out and buy a new one?
  • Although batteries are relatively cheap to replace, it costs more than you might imagine to get a quality watch band, so shop around.  (Also, make sure it's the right size for the watch and for your wrist.)
  • If you're bold and willing to run the risk of damaging the watch, you can replace the battery yourself for a few dollars.  Banzai.
  • Whenever possible, V likes to have multiple options for accessories.  This haul should tickle her pink for some time to come.
  • I'm really glad I saved that Target receipt.  Once I'm healthy enough to go out again (cellulitis: it ain't pretty), this Timex is getting returned so fast it'll make your head spin.

No comments: