Hard Life for Wristwatches

About 1979, when the price of new LCD wristwatches had dropped to $2, a coworker and I thought these cheapies would be good to wear in our harsh work environment. They were so expendable, we wouldn't have to worry about banging them up. We each bought one and were puzzled when the displays went blank after only one day. We bought more. The same thing happened, but we were watching this time - it was the TIG welder. The several thousand volt starting voltage and 1/4" long 40 amp arc only eight inches away was fatal to the electronics. We were so annoyed we put the watches in the shop's big hydraulic press and made them thinner than a Delirium. Decades later, when I got into clocks & watches, I wished I'd kept them for my collection.

A few years ago RGM serviced one of my watches, and shortly afterward I asked them why it was gaining several minutes per day. Before deciding to send it back, I realized I'd just been working with 4/0 size cables carrying 800 amps at 1.2 volts DC. A compass much preferred to point to the watch than Earth's magnetic pole. A trip through my demagnetizer restored the watch to its good daily rate.

These two stories sound like a prescription for a Rolex Milgauss or equivalent tool watch.

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