It was finally time to up my watch game…


By Shawn Robare

It feels really good to be able to finally start catching up with writing articles here at Branded.  Over the past few years there’s been a lot of changes in my life behind the scenes, and in particular a lot of stuff has been going on over the last six months including helping my girlfriend sell her townhome, securing a new job, and the one that has been the most frightening and fulfilling, buying my first house.  But the dust has begun to settle, I’m in the middle up setting up a new and improved Branded HQ, and I can get back to what I’ve missed the most, writing about all kinds of fun 80s junk.  In fact I’m currently having a blast revisiting some of the cool stuff I’ve acquired that I’ve been meaning to write about.  For instance, a very cool new (well, vintage) watch that I’ve been wanting to reconnect with for the last 25 years…

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Back around 1985 or ’86, I was pretty obsessed with getting my hands on the amazing transforming robot watch depicted in the Bonkers candy ad above.  I first saw these in the little red candy and trinket vending machines at my local Pizza Hut as the “main” prize, the one thing you could get out of the machine for a quarter where you’d actually be getting more than your money’s worth.  I can’t count how many quarters I sunk into these machines only to get endless amounts of plastic army men, colorful puffballs with glued on felt feet and googlie eyes, or generic pencil topper erasers.  I was never a lucky kid when it came to winning stuff like this.  And here’s the thing, from my estimation at the time, you had to either win one of these robot watches or convince your parents that it was safe for them to send a check or cash to Nabisco to score one.  Lets just say that I could never get my parents to believe that these comic ads were not a scam.

At the end of the day I did eventually end up getting one of these watches by trading some Garbage Pail Kids to a friend, though it didn’t have the watch band and it looked like he had chewed on the little blue and red buttons on the front.  None the less I cherished that red robot watch and kept it in my pocket for years.  It didn’t matter that the one I had was used, or that it wasn’t an official Kronoform watch (a fact I wouldn’t even be aware of until 20 years later when I really started getting nostalgic for my youth.)  I’m not sure what happened to my specific watch, but for the last 10 years or so I’ve been yearning to get a new one.  The thing is, they’re kind of rare and when they do pop up on eBay they’re kind of outrageously priced.  So I’ve been biding my time, waiting for the right opportunity.  That opportunity happened a couple of months ago after I posted the Bonkers advertisement above on my instagram account.  I mentioned how I wanted to get my hands on one of these and a very kind gentleman from Canada that goes by the handle No_Thriller had just scoped one at his local toy/comic store.  After working out the details No_Thriller picked up the watch for me and then shipped it down to the states where I was eagerly awaiting its arrival!  And yes, that is also an awesome Steve Nazar signed print of the T&C characters in the background that my good bud HooveR sent and that also arrived that day…

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Not only did this one still have the watch band fully intact, it was a beautiful almost brand new official Takara Transformers Kronoform release!  Also, it still worked (the super kind No_Thriller was nice enough to replace the old battery before shipping it.)  Even though this one isn’t red, I still love it to pieces…

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This also reminds me of that piece I wrote about having a crush on Helen Hunt’s character Lynne Stone form Girls Just Want to Have Fun if for no other reason that she also wore a sweet red robot watch in that flick.

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Now maybe if I can ever build that time-traveling-DeLorean I can go back in time and ask her out to the prom.  I mean we have the same taste in Transformers watches, that’s all that matters right?

  • ShadowWing Tronix

    I had one of the knockoffs, too. Mine was called Robotch, and I even made a comic about it.

    • Oh cool, do you have a link to that comic?

      • ShadowWing Tronix

        I never posted it online. I made it when I was like 10 so it’s not very good. The concept was, though. In the three issue comic Robotch is a Tranzor/Mazinger Z type robot that shrinks down to a watch. The owner and his friend use it to fight bad guys. They even go to the moon in the last two issues.

  • Retromash

    I love these watches so much. It’s on my wanted list that I haven’t pulled the trigger on yet as the ones I see on eEbay are always just a tad too pricey. The one I had in my youth was just a ‘Quartz’ branded one too so I’m not fussed about having a the official Kronoform one at all. It was the grey one that I had, although I think I also got a second hand red one too later on. Either of them would be great to get one day and it would be great to have them on my watch roster alongside my two retro Casios.

    • Yeah, I held off for years because of how stupidly expensive these are. I really lucked out that my friend saw one in a shop. I’ll keep an eye out though and if I see one cheap, I’ll let you know!

  • No_thriller

    Shawn, I never had one of these growing up, and neither did anyone I was friends with. I knew about them, but I guess it just wasn’t one of those fads that took over my class at school. After I picked up this one for you, I’ll admit I was smitten with this thing; almost wanted you to change your mind and tell me to keep it. Haha! I really dug into it’s history and had some fun transforming it and posing it for a couple photos. Really glad I could help you recover this cool piece of your youth. Thanks for another great Branded post!

    • Love the pics you took! And let me know if you ever want to borrow him ;)

  • E. T. Ruxpin

    It’s beautiful! I like it more than the red. Luckeeee. :)

    • Yeah, it feels way more adult in the silver since I wear it around ;)

  • Holy crap! I had one of the silver ones and until reading this, had absolutely forgotten all about it. I’m fairly certain I played with the thing until something on it broke, which killed my enthusiasm for it. Thanks for jogging my memory, man!