I recently picked up a bunch of Tony Watchman game watches: Fishing, Bowling and Wresting, super excited about getting these watches that had what I think a very limited appearance in the north america market. Most of what I seen here growing up where Nintendo, Nelsonic, Tiger etc.. I did some research on these watches and for the scarcity of them they should be commanding a much higher price.
Once I got the Tomy watches I was super stoked to get these guys out of the packages and pop in some batteries. To my surprise these actually had the original Tomy 2032 battery still in the box, but of course I replaced it with a generic Varta I bought in bulk on ebay.
So with all these vintage buys there was a downside and I have read this in a few places that the bands become so brittle over the years they basically fall apart and my watches where no exception to this case. As soon as I took one of them out of the box the band crumbled into a pile of rubber mess with just a little touch (ok it wasnt that bad but it did break into about 5 pieces).
Ok so your wondering whats the big deal? you can just put a similar looking band on the watch and your golden! there where no real special markings on them anyhow!.. well there is the catch 22, back in the day lets say the 80’s some Japanese watch companies including Tomy, Casio and who knows how many others started going to these bands that not require pins/links. Im not sure if it was a manufacturing savings? or they thought it was just a better design but what I can say is that any watch I have gotten that had the band broken on these watches was a pain in the behind to replace.
The problem with the tony bands is they are SO BIG 30mm to be exact if you want it to cover the same space as the original. but where do you get a band like that almost 40 years later? well the answer is you dont. after reading this article on another collectors blog it gave me an idea to start looking for casio or other generic slide in bands. I luckily found a vendor with such bands that where not outrageously priced.
the bands I purchased from ebay where slid in, intended to replace a Casio band (probably for a film watch) and it is only 20mm.. not quite the 30mm we needed but there was zero band hacking needed. (first picture below the band on the right is the generic one I got from Ebay the band to the left is the band that came with the watch)
NOTE: that the other option I found was using the bands from old Tiger game watches but they are also very pricey and they are also marked usually with the name of the game (but it can probably be taken off with acetone).
Anyhow hope this article will help someone else out there that has this issue! Out of the 4 watches 2 bands where totally brittle, 1 band was surprisingly good and the other one I dont want to touch.