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Author Topic: Memorial Day and question for our vets  (Read 2007 times)

Offline TJW

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Memorial Day and question for our vets
« on: May 28, 2010, 09:16:34 PM »
I would like to say thank you to those men and women who gave the "last full measure" so I and my family would enjoy the freedom and privileges we have today.  Thank you also to all who served and are serving in the armed forces; stay safe and be assured you are in our thoughts this weekend. 

Now a question for our vets that served in the 60's and 70's especially.  When you went to the PX or Ship's Store to look for non-issue watches like Zodiac, Rolex or such, was there a big selection? Were there others to choose from? I've worked with guys that bought Rolex GMT's(USAF mostly), but I never thought to ask them if that was their only choice.  Also, how did Zodiac and Rolex end up being so widely available in PX's;  was it customer demand and/or successful marketing by the watch companies?  I'm a history buff so these are the deep thoughts I have on a sunny day off on the deck (especially after a couple of gin and tonics).  ^-^      Thanks,    TJW

Offline Butch

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Re: Memorial Day and question for our vets
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2010, 11:40:46 AM »
Thank you TJ, it was an honor for most of us to serve.

I am not sure I can answer your questions. I know that I went in in 1972 and made $304/mo. I was not doing a lot of shopping in the PX, which sold quality name brand prices at 15% over what they paid for it (think Lord and Taylors). It was mostly the officers that could afford to shop in the PX, not the grunts.

In the 60's and 70 Zodiac's basic competition was Omega. Somewhere around here I have literature that is selling a merchant on why it was better to carry the Zodiac brand as opposed to the Omega brand, but I digress.

Anyway, it was the Christmas in 1975 when I wanted to buy my wife a really nice watch. Yes, I was making more money then, I think maybe $500ish/mo. by that time. So I looked in the AAFES (PX) catalog (I was in Korea at the time), saw a bangle type Zodiac with a gold mirror dial and bout it for her, and consequently, my first Zodiac. (It was not until the 1990's that I would return to the brand.) It cost me $200 in the PX (or so my wife just told me, but she IS old..) but I do not remember to be honest. I do know that it was a helluva lot more money that I had and was damn proud of it when I gave it to her. Today our daughter has that same manual wind watch, but I do not have a picture to show you.

I also seem to remember that the Zodiacs were one of the more expensive brands carried in the PX. Perhaps by the 1970's they had quit carrying the Rolex brand, I just don't know.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I had always been a latest of the greatest kind of guy so I always wore LEDs, LCDs, Kortz, or a wrist computer (right!). Then in the 1990's I started collecting, settled on Zodiacs, and here we are today. Somewhere around here is my story on Kortz and how I wound up with mechanical watches.
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Offline TJW

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Re: Memorial Day and question for our vets
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2010, 01:11:37 PM »
Great story, Butch!  I didn't realize the PX was geared for the officer clientel; most of the former military I work with were officers so their stories of Rolex and Glycine shopping make sense now.  BTW, I'm seeing more wrist computers/calculators lately, so maybe you'll be hearing the siren call of "geek chic" once again.  :D     Cheers,   TJW 

Offline jon p

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Re: Memorial Day and question for our vets
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2010, 05:43:34 PM »
i bought my sea wolf in may of 1968 at the ft benning px while i was in basic training, date/black dial with jubilee band. it was $55.00 and i fell in love with it at first sight! my wife at that time with the parents help bought it--i guess they felt sorry for me being where i was going through pure HELL for 8 weeks!! i wore an old beater timex manual wind all through basic cause i didnt want to mess up the zodiac. the timex went in the trash after basic and i wore the SW through the rest of my army career including germany. i still have it and i am getting ready for BWG to restore it to its original glory. the bezel is SO LOOSE i am afraid to wear it until it is redone. BWG can work wonders to tighten the bezels, i dont know how he does it but he did it to my metal bezel GMT,it is tight now.i remember a good selection of watches at the PX,BUT a $170.00 rolex was out of the question--oh if i had only known!! i really wasnt into watches at that time,just a tool to tell what time it was. i STILL have the SW but a different wife. as you can tell, my SW has very deep special meanings to me. thank goodness i held on to it, as you get older the memories get more and more important. the army SURE was different then! basic was pure torture!  JON


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