I killed my wristwatch, first in slow degrees and then abruptly.
I bought the watch as a gift to myself after finishing undergrad. A Casio GW9000A-1 Atomic Solar Mudman. Sitting upon my wrist like a matte black can of tunafish. Water resistant down to 200 meters. Using sunlight as its only energy source. Listening to a radio signals from an atomic clock hidden away inside Fort Collins, Colorado to set its own time. I dreamed that I would give the ugly black wart to my daughter at her own college graduation one day.
But then, just a few years later, the screen started to fog up on the inside. Moisture had somehow found its way inside the casing.
I opened the backing (of course) and cleaned the insides thoroughly, leaving it all to air-dry for a few days. I put it all back together and watched as a black blob of ink swallowed up the LCD (of course). And this was the exact moment that I thought to dig out the owner’s manual and discovered the myriad number of ways in which I had just voided the 20-year warranty.
And that’s how I abruptly killed my watch.
But there was also the slow death.
I don’t know the course of quality assurance testing on a Casio Mudman. Chronic, rapid temperature changes amd chemical baths, however, would appear to be the outlying test-cases. I wore mine into hundreds of hot showers. I took it in and out of a hot tub, submerging it in very, very hot chlorinated water, putting it into cool night air, submerging it again (and repeat, repeat, repeat). I wore it into many, many different chlorinated and saltwater swimming pools. I wore it in the ocean. I even wore it into the Jefferson Pools. I loved it so much that I never took it off if possible. And why should I? It was tough enough to withstand more rigorous hardships than my own relatively measured life would dish out.
After it died, I realized I was fundamentally wrong in my thinking about the watch and its purpose.
Despite it’s toughness, I still needed to be careful with it. Just as careful as with any other watch really. It shouldn’t have gone into swimming pools or hot tubs if I could have avoided it. And if something terrible and unpredictable were to happen, then it would hold up longer and under far worse conditions than most other watches.
Before the onset of a true disaster, it faced the slow death of a thousand first-world paper cuts.
Originally published 16-June-2012.