The folks at Simpel have certainly come up with something genius in the form of their Simple Switch Watch! Their take on the timeless timepiece perfectly captures and encapsulates the zeitgeist of yesteryear, the ’80s slap bracelet’ and the ‘switch and mix’ watches – two things I cherished greatly as a ratty banged 80s kid.
The watch itself emulates the classic slap bracelet that we all have no doubt attempted to emblazon upon our wrists at some point or another. The thing with these watches is that they’re far less likely to end up underneath the sofa bed and be lost forever, which may not be entirely down to their distinctive look and range of colours, but also down to the fact that they act as a watch and no one likes to lose their watch – nor their sense of style.
Mix and match an awesome variety of colors – with live examples on their websites with their color combo generator, and because they’re reasonably priced you can buy several bands and cases (watch faces) and your set for any night or day out. The watches are also fairly water Resistance, fit most wrist sizes, and the band can be cleaned up fresh as new with dish soap and water.
Simpel is also a responsible company and in addition to making wrists your new favorite body part, they also think it’s good to try and make the world a better place. As part of that, they support the Children’s Mobility Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing innovative physical therapy equipment for kids with mental and physical disabilities. This helps provide greater self-expression through increased mobility. A portion of all sales go toward donating equipment to CMF and making the future a little brighter for the kids.
Visit their website here and check out the posibilites! – www.getsimpel.com
The Mechanics of Slap
Now, for those of you that do not quite recall the sound of the incessant slapping of brightly coloured metal and fabric straps upon the skin of the (sometimes unsuspecting) wrist, let us hearken back to the late 80s and the early 90s – a time when slap bracelets were rife amongst the youth, virtually spilling out of cupboards and pocket alike.
The slap bracelet itself – or snap bracelet, as it is sometimes referred to – is essentially just that: a bracelet that slaps/snaps. It is commonly defined as being layered, flexible stainless steel spring bands, or a bistable nature. Bistable being a term that refers to structures that have two stable mechanical states, in this case being coiled and uncoiled – both are stable. These springy bands are often sealed within a plastic or fabric cover, both for safety and because the crazy designs that so epitomise the era and the fad itself suited the bracelets so much better than plain metal with dull colours.
The general starting position of the bracelet itself would be stretched or straightened out so that the bracelet can lie flat on a table or be easily picked up to lead onto the next stage. The straightening of the bracelet would create a sort of tension in the layered steel band and one might liken this to the loading of a gun: the slap bracelet was now ready. The aforementioned loaded bracelet would then be slapped – often with gusto – upon the wearer’s wrist, causing the bracelet to resume the second of its two bistable states: that of a coil, thus coiling around the wrist to ideally form a perfect bracelet, tight and secure. In short: you slap the bracelet on yourself and it holds to your wrist with a satisfying sound.
A Device for Mischief
Whilst the wrist might have been the primary intended target, especially by the manufacturers, this was often not the case. Children being children, they would find anything that was slap-able and try to affix the slap bracelet to that. Wrists, door handles, upper arms, fingers, faces, rulers; just about anything was a potential slap bracelet target, the unwary would score double points. In part, it might have been due to the satisfying sound and also the fact that the gesture involved and the result itself were as satisfying as they were addictive. To paraphrase a popular snack logo: once you snapped, you could not stop.
A Brief History
The bracelets themselves were invented by a teacher, a Stuart Anders (whom probably regretted unleashing his creation on his own class!), based in Wisconsin. Evidently, this became rather popular amongst kids (although those older probably took more than a passing interest in them) during the late 1980s and early 1990s – a relatively recent thing, which is likely why most of us can remember seeing or using them at some point or another.
Nostalgia aside and resuming the topic from the top of the article; the Simpel Switch Watch nigh on embodies all that the slap bracelet stood for: simple fun and simple style. With their watches, Simpel aim to – like the slap bracelet did many moons ago – make “wrists your new favourite body part”. So there you have it, a modern twist on a timeless classic, brought forth for a new generation to experience (and for those of the slap bracelet generation, to re-experience), the almost-primitive delight of slapping something on your wrist and having it stay there. However, this iteration of the slap bracelet comes with not only wrist slapping-related joy, but the added benefit of that you are now able to tell the time!