The Roundup -

That Gadget on my Wrist


January 22, 2020 | View PDF

Technology truly has changed everything. Remember when we would get a new wristwatch? We’d pull out the stem, set the watch to the appropriate time, push the stem back in, and then rotate that stem back and forth to wind the watch. The device kept great analog time and all of us could tell the hour and minute of the day by looking at that timepiece. People understood what a person meant when he or she announced that it was a quarter to six. It seems that kids today only understand digital time and have no idea what you are talking about when you tell them it is a quarter to six, which I discovered this summer, to my great astonishment.

Watches then advanced, with most of them still showing time in analog, which has almost become a foreign language, incidentally, but enterprising manufacturers added a day and a date calendar to many watches so people could look at their wrists and know not only the time but also the day and date.

Most watches today have become extremely sophisticated and perform way beyond what my husband and I desire. We do not care for modern ‘smart’ devices and tend to stick to the simple old-fashioned items. We prefer a cheap watch that simply tells time. We no longer have to wind them daily as they all come equipped with batteries, they almost always now come in digital time rather than analog, but the simple watches are still available for old fogies like us.

Well, this Christmas I behaved totally out of character. My husband needed a new watch, and instead of staying with the tried and true cheap Wal-Mart brand of watch, I noticed a timepiece online that totally intrigued me as it has features that piqued my interest.

First, this comes as a mud proof, shock proof, water proof device, perfect for an old man that likes to putter and tends to crash and bang around quite a bit. The watch also is solar powered, which won me over instantly as I like anything at all that runs on free sunlight. The watch also has a compass, a moon phase mode that interested me, along with a mode that displays the temperature. After all, if I am freezing to death while on a hike it might be nice to know which direction I’m facing and at what temperature I succumbed to the elements.

So, against my usual abhorrence of fancy devices, I purchased this watch for my husband and I waited impatiently for it to arrive. It showed up on time, but without any instructions whatsoever as to how to set it. The watch displayed a day ahead and hours off in time, and I was totally perplexed as to how to rectify this situation (no stem on this watch to set the time, of course). I went back online, found the company that made it, pinpointed the make and model of this particular watch, and found instructions, which I promptly printed off.

My printer spit out two pages of directions, but in such small print that I had to unearth my magnifying glass just to decipher them. I wish I was joking when I tell you all this, but unfortunately this is a true story.

Trying to read directions holding a magnifying glass in one hand and a watch in the other does prove cumbersome. I did identify the various buttons and discovered that this watch is a world time watch, which means a person has to scroll through a very long list of world cities to find the home city that matches his or her time zone.

Of course, this watch was set to Tokyo as the home city, which explained the day ahead and the hours off that the device displayed. I started scrolling through the cities, and I moved from Tokyo to Shanghai, then Beijing, Hong Kong, Taipei, Lisbon, Madrid, London, Berlin, Stockholm, Oslo, Moscow, St. Petersburg. Good grief, I hadn’t even crossed the Atlantic Ocean yet.

I kept scrolling, finally reached Buenos Aires, and then Halifax and then Toronto. Hooray, I at least had reached the North American continent. I scrolled through numerous cities until I saw Los Angeles, and soon after Denver came up on the screen. Finally! I stopped scrolling, the watch miraculously showed the appropriate hour, day and date for Virginia City, so at least this new toy DOES provide the correct time when the idiot operator figures out how to set it properly.

I never dreamed it would take me two weeks to set a watch. I am not at all sure this was a good idea. I can always look at the sky to determine the moon phases, batteries aren’t that expensive, and who cares what direction I’m facing or what the temperature might be? I think from now on Wal-Mart can handle all our wristwatch needs.

I presented this watch to my husband, warned him not to start indiscriminately pressing buttons, which he likes to do, so hopefully it works well for him. If he decides to explore and check out world cities, HE can scroll through the two thousand nine hundred and fifty-eight cities to get himself back to Denver and the proper date and time.


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