I love wrist watches. I feel naked without one. Sure, my cellphone keeps accurate time and adjusts automatically as I cross time zones. But it is much easier to look at my wrist than it is to fish my cellphone from my pocket to check the time.
I had a citizen diving watch for many years – back in 1982 it cost me $100. That was quite a chunk of change. I wore that watch daily for two decades. I took it into the ocean, wore it when showering, took it into swimming pools – it never lost time.
Finally, years of use and abuse, plus copious bodily sweat destroyed it. I have had numerous watches since then, none of them lasted too long. I was down to two watches – both with too much sentimental value to abuse with daily use.
The Elgin Sportsman I inherited from my grandfather on my mother’s side, “Pop Pop” Carl Kennedy. Pop Pop was presented the watch by Jimmy Hoffa in 1965, on Pop Pop’s 25th anniversary as a Teamster. The family story goes that Hoffa asked my grandfather, “Kennedy – are you any relation?”; the reference obviously being to Bobby and Jack Kennedy. Pop Pop answered, “No”, to which Hoffa said, “Okay, you can have the damned watch, then.”
The watch, when I received it, was not working. I took it to a watch repair shop in Philadelphia on Germantown Avenue. For $125, they repaired and cleaned it the best they could. It has worked ever since.
My other watch I inherited from my father. It is a Pulsar railroad watch. It displays the day of the week as well as the day of the month. Dad always wore a watch. He bought me my first watch when I was ten or so. It was a Timex. It had to be wound daily, and I destroyed it eventually by over-winding. But ever since, I have always had a wrist watch.
When my el-cheapo watch finally bit the dust, and since I am reluctant to wear family heirlooms whose value is merely sentimental, I sought to replace my old Citizen. Citizen watches are now well over $200 for what I want. These are not expensive watches, but they are reliable. I was looking for a decent watch in the $100 price range, and after much investigation, settled on an Invicta 8932 “Professional Diving Watch”. Invicta has a dedicated following. Now I wonder if this following consists of true aficionados or are merely paid shills writing reviews for cash.
I bought the watch as a Christmas present to myself last year. It came in a beautiful presentation case, and had a heft and weightiness that indicated that it was quality. It kept perfect time. Even the watch band spoke quality, with an added catch to prevent it from becoming accidentally unlatched when worn during manual labor.
I was disappointed that it did not come with a screw in crown, which I consider necessary for any water resistant watch. But what do I know about modern technology? If I was into modern tech, I would be wearing a Smart watch. I don’t get Smart watches. I just want a watch to tell me the time and the date. If I want to know my pulse rate and my blood pressure I will go to the doctor. I don’t. I certainly don’t need a watch to bother me with tones reminding me that I have spam in my email in box.
Anyway, I was extremely happy with this watch for half a year. On Memorial Day weekend, we had a get together with Liz’s nephew and Kim. We spent the day swimming. By swimming, I mean we hung by the side of the pool drinking gin and tonics. The watch claims to be water resistant up to 200 meters. I think they forgot a decimal before the zeroes.
The next morning I was dismayed to discover condensation under the crystal. I unscrewed the base, and placed the watch in a baggie of rice to remove all moisture. I discovered that the O-ring had never been properly placed at the factory.
Sure, I could have easily sent the watch in for warranty repair. Invicta has a warranty policy that is severely lacking. For starters, you have to send a check for $27 (for return shipping – what the hell? Are they shipping by personal courier?) and the warranty is voided if the back is removed by any other than an “authorized Invicta repair” shop. This provision is clearly illegal under United States statute. This law also forbids automobile companies from voiding warranties if you use your local repair service or use aftermarket parts.
I replaced the O-ring properly, and afterwards, the watch began losing time consistently for several weeks. It eventually began keeping sort of accurate time – I needed to adjust the time by a minute or so every week. But it was working. Against my better judgment, I wore the watch while tubing the Salt River a couple weeks ago. I wrote off the first malfunction due to a poorly installed O-ring. I figured this was a Friday afternoon watch, the assembler more concerned with watching the clock and thinking about the cold beer after a long shift.
Well, the next morning, once again there was condensation under the crystal. The bag of rice again. Since then the watch works sporadically. It stops for no reason on a daily basis. So in the interim, I just purchased a Relic ZR 15533 for $40. I will save up for another Citizen, and hopefully their quality has not declined in the almost four decades since my first one.
My Invicta seems to be working again. I will just make sure that I don’t wear this “Professional Diving Watch” in a rain shower.