When you’ve been collecting rare and unique game watches for more years you care to remember, finding one you haven’t seen before is itself a rare event.
Finding one that no one has heard of, that’s next level stuff.
I hasten to add that yes, some people may well be aware of (and possibly own) this particular watch. But I had no idea of its existence until I saw it on eBay and a subsequent search of other parts of the web where watch fans show off their collections revealed nothing.
Conso is famous (in the watch community, anyway) for the Space Shuttle game watch — they must have sold thousands and thousands of these. Even in New Zealand they were readily available for a time, and since we didn’t have a lot in the way of game watches, the few we did have stick in your mind.
Which is why the Conso Treasure Hunt is even more of a rarity.
Essentially it’s the same game as Space Shuttle. Get your player from A to B, avoiding things that are raining down on him. But while Space Shuttle is a directly horizontal trajectory, Treasure Hunt starts at bottom left and finishes midway up the screen on the right.
Most of the differences lie in the graphics.
Space Shuttle is, unsurprisingly, space themed, with planets, rockets and other space junk among the objects that must be avoided.
With Treasure Hunt, you are the intrepid treasure hunter who must avoid elephants, crocodiles and panthers and some very non-PC stereotypical natives who are all black apart from white eyes and mouths, and carrying spears and axes.
In the Space Shuttle, your destroyed ships show up as broken shuttles along the bottom, whereas the Treasure Hunt shows your injured player being transported by two stretcher-bearers.
Overall it’s a fun game to play — much like the Nintendo Game & Watches of the time — and moreso because it’s unusual and ‘rocking horse poo’ rare.
If you ever find this watch, hang onto it. It’s very unlikely you’ll ever see another.
This one came from Greece and I nervously checked the tracking information almost daily until it arrived safe and sound.
It’s well-worn and quite scratched, but is working so I figured some restoration would be in order.
It arrived without the slide-in straps so I figured I’d use the ones from a spare Space Shuttle I had — except this watch is blue and Space Shuttle is black, and mis-matched straps always look bad.
So I plan to keep the controller graphics, and the front crystal, from the Treasure Hunt, and make the Space Shuttle case and straps turn blue somehow. Here’s the Space Shuttle disassembled:
NB I wasn’t bastardising a perfectly good watch just to use the case for another; the module in this Space Shuttle is very flaky due to leaking batteries over the years and has lifted and broken traces that I’ll eventually get around to fixing, just not right now, since I have another, daily use, Space Shuttle watch.
First things first, fix the scratched plastic crystal on the Treasure Hunt.
If the scratches are light and you can’t feel them when you scratch your nail across the crystal, you can use something like Polywatch, toothpaste, brasso or a similar mild polish.
This one had a couple of reasonably deep scratches right down the middle so needed a bit more. The idea is to sand off the scratches with relatively fine sandpaper (nothing rougher than 400 grit) then use progressively finer sandpaper/micromesh until the scratched surface is glossy and crystal clear.
The crystal is a little recessed on this watch so I had to remove it and find something to hold it while using the sandpaper in order to keep it flat — a plastic suction cup does the job nicely if you can find one the right size (try to avoid one that touches the graphics on the reverse of the crystal.
It does take a while but the end result is well worth it — here it is halfway through, the deep scratches are gone and the crystal just looks hazy from fine scratches.
And here’s the finished result — clear and glossy and ready to go back onto the watch:
The LCD was quite dusty too, and had some crud on it, so some alcohol on a cotton bud (q-tip) and this is now clean again.
Be very careful doing this if there are graphics on the LCD as over-enthusiastic cleaning can remove the graphics and all your good work can be spoiled.
I found some videos about a product called Plasti Dip which looked like it might work to change the watch colour but my local supplier was out of blue so opted for a similar product call Dupli-color custom wrap, made some hooks for the watch parts, gave them a final clean with alcohol and started spraying.
The results were atrocious. Incredibly bad. I couldn’t believe that the spray can would spit out globs of paint like hammerlite does, leaving the watch and straps with a mottled and lumpy appearance.
When I took it back to the shop to return it and complain they tried it and said the results were perfect. Then the penny dropped.
The front of the nozzle has a removable white plastic bung which I thought was part of the packaging and should be removed. In reality that’s the paint nozzle, removable so you can adjust it to the paint angle you require. Luckily since this was rubberised plastic, not paint, I could just peel it all off and try again — this time the results were much better.
Here’s the finished result:
Time will tell how long the rubber coating will last. If it comes off I can always reapply it, or just have it in a black case.