In my previous post I reviewed the Garmin Forerunner 610 GPS watch. One of my complaints about the watch is that the wristband seems to be poorly designed and has a tendency to break off from it’s anchoring pins. This happened to mine, and I’m still awaiting a replacement from Garmin.
A Twitter friend suggested I try the optional velcro strap, so I went ahead and ordered one from Amazon. In reading the Amazon reviews, there was some concern about the pins that hold the strap on, and it was suggested that buying a set of 19mm spring pins would make things more secure. I bought a pair of those as well.
All relevant pieces have now arrived, and last night I attached the new watch band. At first I thought I had the wrong band because I didn’t realize you had to pull a little plastic anchor off before installing the new ones that came with the velcro strap (anchors are the little black plastic things in the photo below). After a bit of cursing and a quick trip to YouTube I figured out my error and got back to work.
The first step is to attach the new anchors, which is pretty easy once you push/pull out the pins and get all of the parts of the old band removed (a handy tool is included with the velcro strap). I should note that the tool in the image below (taken from the Amazon page for the 610 strap) is not the same as the one that actually comes with the velcro strap, nor are the pins. The velcro strap comes with 4 straight pins that don’t have spring tips, and the tool only has a single tapered point at the tip for pushing the straight pins through the holes.
This is what comes with the velcro strap – straight pins (4 total) and a different tool:
My impression of the anchors that come with the velcro strap is that they are made of a harder plastic material and seem more durable than those at the end of the original wristband, which almost seem rubbery and pliable. It took a bit of effort to get the pins through to anchor them, and I can’t imagine them coming loose.
The second set of pins included with the velcro strap are threaded through a second set of holes in the anchors and through a fabric loop on the strap to hold it in place. These pins did not fit as snugly, and I was concerned that they would slide out over time. This is where the set of spring pins that I bought separately come in. They fit perfectly and popped into place with what feels like a nice, secure fit (note, I initially thought the spring pins were to be used to attach the anchors, but they do not fit through that set of holes – this led to another bout of cursing until I figured it out).
Now that everything is assembled the band seems quite secure, and it fits comfortably. I used to use velcro straps with my old Timex stopwatches, so the fabric band is not a problem for me, though they do tend to take a bit of time to dry after being wet. The kit comes with both a long and a shorter band, I chose the longer band and it is almost too big for my wrist, so I suspect it will accommodate most people.
Here’s hoping this band holds up better than the original!