November 10, 2014

The Search for the Hypoallergenic Watch

A new pencil drawing is born. A man sits in a café at a table in front of a window. A potted plant forms an intricate halo around his head. There is a drink on his table, and a basket full of unidentifiable breads or snacks. On a white napkin on the table is a tiny detail which encapsulates what has taken up a large portion of my present search for allergy free products. The watch sits unworn on the table, an object for reflection rather than use.

My search for the allergy free watch has yielded fascinating results.

After wondering what to do about my allergy laden watch, my sister initially gave me the bright idea of not wearing a wrist watch for the time being. This alone had some unforeseen benefits. For one, I had noticed that my autoimmune illness tended to peak at certain times of day and it was helpful not to look at a clock and increase awareness of my impending "witching hours." Illness rolled in anyway of its own accord but at least I did not anticipate it as much.

Clock watching in general has been a carry over from my teaching days when I had to adhere to a strict schedule. Taking the watch off my wrist was an acknowledgment, finally, that those days were over. Nevertheless, having a wrist watch would still be useful for keeping track of appointments for both self and spouse. Besides, opening and closing a cell phone to obtain the time has proved somewhat problematic for someone whose hands are often wet with clay or some other substance.

While my wrist was taking a vacation from watches, I looked for allergy free substitutes. I found two companies with intriguing solutions. Sprout watches, for instance, produces eco-friendly watches made out of an array of natural materials. I was most fascinated by a watch that has a face made of bamboo, a cotton strap, a corn resin casing as well as corn resin buckles and a mercury free battery. I never did find out what kind of glue was used in the cotton strap - problem being that I am allergic to glues used in both leather and upholstery. But for people allergic to everything but glue they may be a viable product: Their products are very economically priced and a purchase may not only be healthier for the body but for the environment as well.

My immediate solution to the watch problem came from a combination of my take home instructions from my allergist as well as from the Global Watchband company. I carefully coated the back and side of my metal watch with polyurethane and ordered a watch band made of lorica from the Florida based Global Watchband company. The customer service at Global Watchband was excellent. I spoke with Amy by phone, who charmed me instantly by offering to go to the warehouse and look for allergy-free prospects in watch bands. Anyone who offers to leave their desk and hunt for things on my behalf wins my allegiance. Amy knew quite a bit about hypoallergenic watch bands and will be added to my rapidly growing resource notebook.

The Global Watchband company had a striking array of watch bands made out of metals, synthetics and natural animal skins - even python! This last substance piqued my curiosity because I knew that pythons are invasive species in Florida with no natural predators. I suppose the purchase of a python skin watch band could be said to be an action in support of Florida Everglades preservation.

The newly coated watch with the allergy free watch band works well. I’ve been wearing it for a few days now without a rash.

For those wishing to replace their watch bands with allergy-free alternatives here are a few links to the Global Watchband company:



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