Yes, folks, Shark Week 2022 is upon us (July 24-30 on the Discovery channel) and we know how exciting a time it can be for some of you. A week filled with great whites, makos, hammerheads, and any other type of shark you can think of, doing scary shark things. So, with that in mind, we thought we’d get you properly prepared for the big week by talking about…a watch. Hey now, this isn’t just any ordinary watch. It goes with the theme as it is the Shark Watch.
WHO INVENTED THE SHARK WATCH?
To own a Shark Watch is to love it. For those of you who may not be familiar with the Shark Watch, it just recently (2021) celebrated its 40th anniversary. The Shark Watch was made by Freestyle, a couple of So-Cal guys whose names continue to be shrouded in mystery. In fact, their identities are so mysterious that the current owners of the brand don’t even know who they are.
When Freestyle came into existence, eventually bringing with it the Shark Watch, their only goal was to build a watch that was the perfect fit for extreme sports. Now, since they were residing in Southern California, the extreme sport they focused on was surfing. They wanted a durable watch that could not only take the pounding of the surf but also hold its own in saltwater.
The idea caught on. The mysterious owners were the makers of their destiny. They were in charge of designing the Shark Watch. They produced them. They were responsible for negotiating partnership terms with overseas factories. They did it all and while they were not an overnight sensation, they eventually became a huge hit, especially with those surfer dudes in So. Cal. It helped that as the ‘80s turned into the ‘90s, the surfing craze was beginning to jump.
You must understand, though, that back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, there were watches such as the Swatch, Quartz, and Timex, so the competition was real. The Shark Watch hit the market a good two years before the Swatch, but when the Swatch emerged, it had a much larger distribution stream than did Freestyle. The Swatch was selling in department stores while Freestyle’s Shark Watch was best known in local surf shops.
But Freestyle leaned into its role as an independent company. They knew who they were and if you knew who they were, then you knew what the Shark Watch was all about. Freestyle learned to accept their status on the big scale of things and embraced that they were the kings of the mom-and-pop shops. Just because they were mainly relegated to the local surf shops didn’t mean they were doing bad business. In fact, they were becoming so popular within the local surf shops that these shop owners were making the Shark Watch a prominent selling feature.
Back in the day (and for the most part, even today), the Shark Watch was available in two styles – the Shark Clip and the Shark Leash. The simple difference between the two is that the clip was a snap-in system and the leash was a Velcro system. The Leash came first and was immediately popular as it closely resembled the Velcro “leash” seen on surfboards. The Clip followed shortly and in today’s Shark Watch collection, you will still see both styles.
Along with these two models, you also had two options in how to tell time. The analog or the digital. Both the Shark Clip and the Shark Leash offer an analog or a digital time readout. Another thing they both offer is an abundance of wild and crazy colors. While they do offer the more mundane all black or all white, they have colors and color combinations that are sure to attract surfers of all ages.
IS A SHARK WATCH WORTH IT?
Let’s be honest here. Freestyle’s Shark Watches are not Rolexes. They are not even a Timex. But they do what they are supposed to do and actually do it quite well. They are built to take a beating and still keep time. Currently, you will find the Shark Watch, both the Clip and the Leash, retailing for a starting price of $65 to $70 on the Freestyle website. Of course, you may find them a little less expensive on places such as Amazon, but what fun is that when you can grab the real thing at a local surf shop? For the price, though, and what they offer, $65 isn’t a bad deal.
WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT SHARK WATCHES?
If you want to know just what makes the Shark Watch tick, take a look at Freestyles Instagram. There you will see the many different variations of the watch, the snazzy colors, the different wrist bands, and just where in the water you can wear them.
How can you not love a watch that begins with Shark? These beauts are geared specifically for the water (the ocean to be more exact) and they live up to their names. They are simple in design, simple to work (you can even take a glance at our earlier “How To” that we did on the Shark Watch), and have some pretty bad-ass designs when it comes to bands.
On the Shark Watch clip, the top of the watch band includes the silhouette of a shark fin. The bottom part of the band tells you that you are wearing the Shark Clip. The same story works for the Shark Watch Leash. Again, the top part provides the cool-looking shark fin silhouette while the bottom part includes the tag that shows you are wearing the Shark Leash. It’s all very fashionable.
As for the watch itself, it is pretty much square in shape and sized at 38mm. It is a one-size fits all watch. The case employs a couple of buttons that control the Shark Watch’s various functions which include dual-time functionality, changing to military (24-hour) time, and an alarm. Freestyle calls these buttons “Hydro Pushers” for the fact that they can be pushed while you are underwater. In total, there are four “Hydro Pushers” on the Shark Watch. One will activate the backlight. Another is the mode button. One will start or stop the timing on the stopwatch function, and the other button will reset it. Of note, the Shark Watch (or Freestyle) have decided to name their backlight, “Night Vision.” Impressive.
CAN YOU WEAR SHARK WATCHES IN THE SHOWER?
Seeing as that the Shark Watch’s main function is to help you look cool while you are surfing in the ocean, it is logical that it can also do that same job while you are showering. Yes, the watch is waterproof and not just water resistant. In fact, the Shark Watch is so designed that you can take this wonderful piece of technology down to 300 feet if you so choose. Of course, if you are surfing, the last place you are going to want to be is 300 feet beneath the surface of the ocean, but if you are truly an adventurous one and diving is in your bag of tricks, then 300 feet is where you may decide to go.
We say, why not? The Shark Watch is fashionable and very popular amongst surfers, so again, why not? The Shark Watch is ready, willing, and able to lead you into hitting bitchin’ curls, keeping proper time when you’re grubbing, and making you look good while you’re showing off with your Kickflip or entering the Backdoor. Just make sure to watch out for Noah (surf lingo for shark) because you do not want to be featured on next season’s Shark Week.