Thursday, 14 November 2013

Making a home made, hand made watch strap...

I'm really rough on watches!

I wear them all the time and they often get immersed in water, banged and scratched and generally worn out! I buy them for $10 from the local Big W/K Mart but its not the watch itself that gives up the ghost. Its usually the watch strap that breaks.

Its very frustrating to have a collection of watch face's - albeit a little dinged - but not be able to wear them. I went through a phase of buying new watch straps for them and ran into that old age problem of the strap being more expensive to replace than the whole watch...?! The cheapest watch strap I could find was $12 and it lasted about two months.

I did go and buy a proper leather strap for $25 and reckon I might have got an extra three or four months out of it...

Its been an ongoing problem for me for a while now and I think I have finally I solved it!

Here's what I did...

 
This is the $10 Big W special watch with the current broken strap!
 
(Sorry photos are bad. My camera's battery goes flat 1/2 an hour after I charge it - these are taken on my phone and are really bad - sorry)

 
What I did was get some 'hat' elastic. Its about $2 at one of the cheapy shops.
Make sure it will fit between the watch and the bit that the strap was attached to. (Its called a spring bar according to my husband)

 
I measured out three strands about three times the length of the old watch strap.

 
And then folded them in half and attached them by running the ends of the elastic through the loop and pulling it tight 

 
At this point I experimented with various patterns and knots (a la macramé) but found it to difficult to make sit nicely for my level of experience (and patience)

 
So I put some decorative (and very simple) knots randomly along each strand of elastic.

 
On both sides. The idea here is to disguise the knots that I'm going to have to put in the elastic to tie it together underneath.

 
I tied four strands together but you could tie one on one if you wanted smaller knots.

 
Ta dah!

 
One you have adjusted it to be the tightness you need - take into account that its going to stretch a bit - just cut the ends off

 
Like so...

 
And there you have it - A badly photographed, $2 handmade/home made watch strap!

 
 
I have been wearing this for a week now. A few of the knots came undone and I ended up anchoring them with a dob of glue.

 
So far so good!
(Gosh - was it that early...?)
 
 
As a watch wearer, this has been a long time coming for me. The guy at the local shoe/watch repair place and I are quite good friends as I have been buying watch straps off him for years (I hope he doesn't go out of business now!?) I needed a waterproof alternative that was cheap enough but more importantly worked.
 
 
I have bought more expensive watches in the past but haven't found that the bands last much longer for the extra money. It is a lifestyle thing. I am rough on my hands and I don't take my watch off for anything but showers as I lose them once I start doing things like that. So partly its a choice.
 
 
The advantage of the multiple strands is that if one breaks or comes undone, the others will hold it on until you get a chance to fix it. But considering that simply taking it off and tying a new knot is all it takes to "fix" it  - you can fix it on the run.
 
 
I would like to have put some beads on it where the knots are but none of the beads I had would fit over the elastic. So I will have a look out for beads that do fit and resurrect some of the other watch faces I have and maybe make myself a fancy going out watch or an outfit coordinating watch or maybe I'll make 'em and give 'em away to some kids I know!
 
 
If you have the skills, you could make a friendship bracelet and slide the watch face onto it. I think it would wear pretty quickly though and there is always the issue of how you take it off for a shower or a swim, unless you attach the old clasps to it. The elastic just stretches and slides off. The cotton wont do that.
 
 
I tried string and macramé techniques but couldn't figure out how to attach it to my wrist and be able to remove it - but there maybe other people out there with the know how!
 
At any rate - its working for me so far!




Score card:
Green-ness: 5/5 for not supporting Big Industry with the planned obsolesce of cheap manufacturing for ever! 
Frugal-ness: 5/5 for being able to replace up to 5 watch straps for $2 with the same purchase of elastic 
Time cost: Probably about 20 minutes from who to go
Skill level: Just knotting (lots of internet instructions for knots if you want to be fancy!)
Fun -ness: great fun to fix my watch for an inth of the cost of replacement!

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