Sunday, February 16, 2020

Tools Old And New: Time Machines (aka: Jam Time)

... was goin' thru an old parts and assorted junk drawer the other day, lookin' for a spare part, when we came across this piece of reliable gear that we never had the heart to toss...

... around '88, was in the checkout line at a Buffalo, NY Walgreens store - on the counter they had a display of these cheap diver style wrist watches at the sale price of $9.98 each... the watch nor the price didn't catch our eye as much as the light nylon wrist strap, which came in assorted colors - dive watches always came with a bulky, thick, hard plastic or metal strap that never adjusted to our satisfaction (particularly the metal spring-type bands)... well, our current timepiece had recently failed us - we had been going thru a significantly more expensive watch probably every two years over the previous six - so we grabbed one of these cheap models (with flashy red wrist strap) from the display and checked out for the purpose of checking it out...

... no idea who manufactured this thing - only 'Jam Time' was printed on the analog dial - all hard plastic construction - quartz crystal accuracy - we were impressed with the (printed) numerical detent bezel that was unidirectional rotation (so the wearer could only add and not subtract time - a typical safety feature if you were monitoring actual dive time - cheap watches usually rotated both directions) - water resistant to ???... 

... pulled from it's junk drawer grave - the 'Jam Time' at thirty two years age - the decal/paint numbering on the bezel had long ago worn off and that is probably the third replacement (NATO style) wrist strap... photographed thru a 24mm f/2.8 prime lens we have recently purchased - gave us a chance to experiment with some narrow depth of field - not as (critical) focused an image as we would have liked but was shooting tight, hand held - was too lazy to set up a tripod...

... we wound up wearing that thing daily for twenty six years before the second hand finally fell off around 2014 - and believe us it got beat up throughout that time - beat, dropped, scraped on rocks, covered with dirt, submerged in rivers and lakes, caked with cement and mortar, exposed to freezing temperatures, vibrated for hours on end when operating a pneumatic stone carving hammer - only a few of the abuses we recall - and throughout that time went thru three batteries and three wrist straps... we finally put it to rest only because we couldn't tolerate not having a functioning second hand - I'll bet that if we installed a new battery it would keep accurate time today...

... we couldn't find another 'Jam Time' for replacement, so we've since converted to a 'Casio' dive watch of near identical construction - currently available for $20.77 on Amazon... we never understood the need for anything more expensive (and not necessarily better)... besides, if a watch of this caliber was good enough for the iconic cave diver 'Sheck Exley', it's good enough for us...

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... "I looked at the cheap Casio watch that had served me so well... we had gone back only two months later, and Mary Ellen had found the darn thing on a rock at 320 feet, right where I had dropped it... it was hard to believe that this tiny $29.95 timepiece, which wasn't even waterproof (merely "water resistant", and that only to 328 feet), was still ticking, or computing or whatever it is that these Japanese digital marvels do. And didn't the batteries ever run out?"...

...and...

... "the nearly 400 pounds per square inch of pressure that I would experience on the dive would literally crush the fancy, expensive diver's watches that the jet set liked to show off at plush dive resorts. My three $29.95 Casio watches would be OK"...

- Caverns Measureless To Man, 1994, Sheck Exley


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... a few years back we were hiking a few members of a city based outdoor adventure club into a small cliff that they had inquired about... a small stream crossing en route was staging a bit high resultant to recent rainstorms, but still, it was a very small creek and only a three step crossing to ford - an accompanying gal threw a near sh*t fit for fear of crossing while wearing her expensive "$2000 Rolex!!" - so we wound up sidetracking about a mile to a small railroad crossing then (rough) bushwhacking the same distance to return to the opposite side of the creek - and this thru rattlesnake and copperhead terrain... although never commented, on the way back it was understood by all "f*k your watch!"... we crossed the creek... should have bought a $20 Casio... 

... all about time here - watch close (twice) for Bond's 'Rolex Submariner/NATO strap' combo in this classic clip...

(You Tube video)

... Connery's the man - however, Casio's the watch...

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