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JB Champion/ Forstner Bracelet guide

  1. thevespabandit Nov 7, 2018

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    Hi all,

    Just wondering if there's a definitive reference or resource for these bracelets. They have a strong relationship with Speedmasters obviously and was wondering if there's a discussion thread here for them?

    I'm new to the game and have lots of questions regarding them.

    I.E if in your opinion it is historically accurate to have one on a 145.022-69? I know it's more of a 105.012 and 145.012 kind of deal, but am aware 145.022s started to make their way through the cadre.

    Also, what's the deal with the flat type of bracelet. I do see them referred to as NASA JB Champion bracelets, but haven't seen photographic evidence of them being used.
    Photo for reference below.
    [​IMG]
     
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  2. kingsrider Thank you Sir! May I have another? Nov 7, 2018

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    I think there is thread on this subject. I’ll look in a minute. The flat bracelet shown on the Speedmaster is (IMO) being incorrectly labeled as NASA.
    As far as which ref # Speedmaster have worn the JB’s?, seems like many different Speedy's are seen with them.
    I love the mesh on the left. I looked for quite some time before I found this one. image.jpg
     
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  3. kingsrider Thank you Sir! May I have another? Nov 7, 2018

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  4. Professor Nov 7, 2018

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    There are a few NOS J B Champion expansion bands on Ebay at reasonable prices. Haven't seen any of the more sophisticated models there so far.
    I was surprised to find that a low cost Chinese made expansion band I got awhile back is a perfect replica of a J B Champion branded band that was once manufactured in Hong Kong. Possibly made on the same tooling?
     
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  5. thevespabandit Nov 7, 2018

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  6. SpeedyPhill asked ages ago but no longer interested Nov 8, 2018

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    @thevespabandit wrote " but haven't seen photographic evidence of them being used."
    .
    FYI NASA astronauts wore these in the 1960s & early 1970s, as a daily wearer and during training.
    Moreover steel mesh JB Champion bracelets were worn during several spaceflights...
    Mercury 9 (1963), Gemini III (1965), Apollo 10 (1969), Apollo 17 (1972) ... to name a few.
     
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  7. thevespabandit Nov 8, 2018

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    Hey there Phil, sorry I was referring to the flat type jb bracelet. I haven't seen any of the guys wearing that type.
     
  8. SpeedyPhill asked ages ago but no longer interested Nov 8, 2018

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    Indeed, the steel mesh was chosen as it could easily be broken / torn apart during an emergency whenever an astronaut got stuck with it...
    (non JB Champion) Flat type elastic bracelets have been worn by the Mercury astronauts on their LeCoultre wrist watches, and I believe the ( less expensive ) flat type JB Champion bracelets popped up as an alternative to the more rare steel mesh NASA versions...
    Looks great though!
     
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  9. thevespabandit Nov 8, 2018

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    I agree, very nice. The one kingsrider has above is a very appealing alternative too.

    One must have a mesh, non negotiable ;)
     
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  10. mr_yossarian Nov 8, 2018

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    The second one from the right, full NASA-Gear! :)
    UM.jpg
     
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  11. thevespabandit Nov 8, 2018

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    Eye watering glorious.

    I've noticed that there are a few of the straight end link versions up on eBay.
     
  12. gdupree Nov 8, 2018

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  13. kingsrider Thank you Sir! May I have another? Nov 8, 2018

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  14. Stuie Nov 8, 2018

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  15. TLIGuy Nov 8, 2018

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    There use to be a great online reference by the guys that wrote the Moonwatch Only books but it seems to have been reduced to just a bit of information about the use of the bracelets seen here. I believe the second edition of the MWO book has a great bit of information regarding the types of JB bracelets that are believed to have been used by NASA.

    The bracelet you picture above has not been flown before. @SpeedyPhill recently posted a picture with Deke Slayton wearing a Bulova astronaut watch with what possibly could be this style bracelet but the resolution is inconclusive to my eye and I would be inclined to say it's not. Many sales listing will add "NASA style" to their listings because I believe they think it will add to the value and some buyers are not really informed about the correct style used during the time period and may be swayed by the allure of the NASA connection.

    In my conversations with the astronauts about the use of the bracelet it was indeed selected in part because it could in fact be removed easier in the case of an emergency just like the Velcro could easily be cut through in an emergency as well. While the bracelets appear fragile they are quite robust and strong. That is why I always find it amusing that people are concerned that they will just fall off their wrist and avoid wearing them. That said, the instructions to the astronauts in the event one needed to be removed was to use a knife, screwdriver, or other flat object and twist thus snapping the spring bar connection from the watch case. This is in fact the weakest connection in the watch/bracelet set up.

    IMG_3496.JPG

    After all these years it still warms my heart to see them on the JB Champion bracelets.
     
    Edited Nov 8, 2018
  16. Tubber Nov 8, 2018

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    I never really liked the look of these but I got one at a reasonable price. It is the most comfortable strap I have and looks a lot better in real life than in photos. The prices have gone nuts in the last few years but if you can find one for US$10 like @watchknut I would definitely give it a go.
    OF2.jpg
     
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  17. thevespabandit Nov 8, 2018

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    Thanks for that awesome information @TLIGuy I appreciate it.

    And thanks every one else too for posting into this thread too, lot's of great anecdotal and photographic information.

    So I think I've concluded there are sellers trying to ride the NASA wave by labeling everything NASA in their sales on JB stuff to extort some extra premium on their sale.

    Unfortunately being in Aus, the availability of these is quite rare so the avenues of purchasing are most likely via the US or eBay, from sellers who know what people are prepared to pay. I'm sure bargains can be had, but by goodness it's more like @350USD-$400USD at best rather than $10 :unsure:
    I'll inevitably track one down, hopefully at a cost that's not too painful.
     
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  18. thevespabandit Nov 13, 2018

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    As an aside, for the mesh bracelet. Is anyone aware of the different sizes available?

    For example I'm seeing quite a few for sale that come up with different sizing, 16mm-18mm, 16mm-19mm, 16mm-20mm. Are these all correct or is it the same extension ends but just the measurements not being taken correctly?
     
  19. kingsrider Thank you Sir! May I have another? Nov 13, 2018

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    One size fits all. The ends are spring loaded and can compress to 16mm or expand to 19mm
     
  20. thevespabandit Nov 13, 2018

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    I thought so, occasionally you see strange sizes quoted. Just wanted to make sure that there weren't variants that had shorter maxed out spring loads.

    Cheers