In the 80’s, Macy’s sold this particular Walkman for $225.00. With an annual inflation of 2.74%, that’s $479.25 in 2014 dollars. Unlike the clunky plastic-fantastic turquoise sensibilities of other 80’s electronics, the Sony WM-F100 III was made of metal and built to last. It represented premium Japanese engineering, but with an unseen Achilles tendon.
When I owned one as a teen, it was an expensive hard-earned possession, and it sucked when it mysteriously “disappeared” years later. CD’s became the portable listening media of the 90’s, but the high build quality and state-of-the-art design of the stolen Sony were never forgotten. The new ones just aren’t the same, so it was fun to find a “tested working” WM-F100 III on eBay for not much money. The first time it was played, though, the playback speed was way out of control resulting in heavily distorted sound — something that’s not always bad as long as it’s intentional.
The culprit lay five screws away behind its fine black metal casing. A minuscule belt, Sony part number 3-329-695-01, I think, less than 1 mm wide and about 200 mm long, had become loose over a couple decades. Apparently, these tiny belts are worth more than their weight in gold, because people have no problem asking $25.00 each on eBay or on audio forums. Supply and demand? No, just gouging the ignorant. Having already suffered theft once in my Sony Walkman journey, I decided enough was enough. It took me a while and a couple of different orders to find a reasonably priced belt, but here’s information that will dispel ignorance and stick it to the gougers: a compatible belt can be had for $3.09. That’s more like it.
The belt is not a 100% perfect replica of the original — it’s slightly thicker, but unlike some cassette deck belts that are absolutely too big, the Russell Industries belt from this eBay seller is small enough:
Russell Industries SCY8.0 Square Belt 1425-53 I.C.: 8.000″
Internal circumference (IC): 8.0″
Slightly smaller width measurements would be closer to the original, but 8.00″ X .031″ x .031″ is confirmed to function.
Now I can listen to Death songs on a dead medium, sung by a dead musician and played back on dead technology. Life is great! RIP Chuck.