My post for the Tetbury Advertiser’s June issue
After a lifelong mission to find the perfect watch, I’ve found a surprising new solution.
Over the years, I’ve owned many different kinds of timepiece. At an early age, I decided to be a nurse when I grew up, purely because I craved an upside-down watch, like the pretend one printed on my dressing-up nurse outfit.
When I was about seven, my first real watch arrived as a Christmas present. This “Cinderella” Timex arrived wrapped round a china statuette of the Disney Princess, which made it seem very special. Well, Disney Princesses were a rarer commodity in those pre-Frozen days.
My most extravagant-looking watch came much later, without the intervention of princesses. But it did look fit for one, at least until the gold rubbed off. Having bought my fake Rolex for a few dollars on a business trip to Hong Kong, I discovered on my return to work that my secretary had the same model, but hers was genuine.
Back in my 20:20 vision days, I loved the daring simplicity of the Swatch, with its big, round, minimalist dial. But I wouldn’t wear one now, in case people mistook it for an aid for elderly eyes.
Then I went through a running phase, favouring sports watches that took nearly as much energy to programme as my races did to run.
Next I went almost full circle, buying a Mickey Mouse watch on a trip to Disneyland. Its face showed a pleasingly retro Steamboat Willie style rodent rather than the brasher modern one, but the watch recently ran out of – er – steam.
After that, I embraced the Fitbit. Better suited for my more sedentary lifestyle these days, it shamed me to get up from my desk every now and again. It made me disproportionately happy when I achieved 10,000 daily steps. But when the rubber strap has started to disintegrate, I cast it aside, resorting to self-discipline rather than technology to mobilise myself. How quaint.
Then recently I received a free sample of a steampunk fob watch from a company seeking a review. The attractive etched Victorian-style case requires both my hands to open it. As a result, I can’t look at the time without it being obvious, so I seldom do so in company, for fear of appearing rude. This fiddly mechanism means that even when I’m on my own I check the time less often than I would wearing a conventional watch. It takes too much time to check the time, so I don’t bother.
And, do you know, that attitude’s been strangely liberating. Instead of feeling that I’m constantly racing against the clock, I focus on what I’m doing, and let each task take as long as it takes to do it well. With Through-the-Looking-Glass logic, I’m making better use of the hours in the day and feel much more relaxed.
So take that, Time’s Winged Chariot! You may still be at my back, but at least I’ve stopped looking in the rear-view mirror.
My collected articles from the Tetbury Advertiser 2010-2015 are now available to buy in paperback or ebook as Young By Name – the title of my regular column in this award-winning community magazine.
Post-script: Since writing this article, the lovely people at Fitbit have kindly replaced my disintegrating watch with a brand new one, no questions asked. I even got a better model than previously because the one I had before was being discontinuted. So now I have two functional watches and am spoiled for choice. Too much time on my hands, you might say…