My Garmin FR50 recently displayed a LoBatt sign on its screen after only about four months of use. The battery supposedly has a lifespan of 12 months, but I've also read on forums that watches might be stored in warehouses for a long time before shipping which would naturally drain its energy (e.g. when I received my bundle, the foot pod's battery was dead). I still continued to use the watch for a few more runs before finally taking it to the watchmaker.
I went to an old watchmaker who has a small, rickety makeshift kiosk across the street from my building. His "store" is made of thin, weathered plywood nailed together to create a workstation which, despite all the random watch parts and tools placed on top of it, appeared neat and orderly. I went up to him and asked if he still had time to look at my watch (it was almost 6 PM) and he said he only closes shop when there's no longer enough light to work with. I introduced myself, and he replied that his name is Paul.
Paul, who looked to be in his sixties, placed a watchmaker's magnifier on his left eye and proceeded to look at my watch. He started by cleaning the back plate with a small brush, then selected two screwdrivers to open the watch; he used one to make the first turn that loosened the screw, and a smaller, finer screwdriver to remove it completely. With the finesse of an experienced craftsman he inspected the insides of my watch and once he understood how to release the clasp that held the old battery, chose another tool to open the thin silver brace.
"Twenty thirty-two," he said as he read the battery model. I gave him the new battery (it's the same model as the one I use for my guitar tuner, so I had a couple of spares), and it did not escape me how he wiped it clean of any dirt and fingerprints before using another tool to carefully place it in its receptacle. After a few tries with the clasp, he replaced the back plate, using the same two screwdrivers to secure the screws.
Paul gave me back my watch and I checked that all buttons were working. I asked him how much I owed him, and he said "Twenty lang" (Just twenty pesos). Inside my head, I thought there was no way what he did was worth a mere twenty; not with the utmost precision and care he just displayed to handle a piece of equipment that--though nowhere near as expensive as the cheapest Rolex--meant a lot to me. I gave him a bill and told him to keep the change. He smiled tentatively, and said thanks.
Nope, Manong Paul. Thank you.
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