Tuesday, 2 April 2019


The strap on my wristwatch kept breaking - and was repeatedly repaired. Then a couple of weeks ago it went again- and this time, the crucial part of the plastic buckle flew off into the ether. So I relented, and shelled out £3 for a new strap. I was eleven days without a watch. I missed my watch quite a lot, frequently looking at a bare wrist and wondering what the time was. Friends tell me they no longer need a wristwatch, because they use their phone. 
This does not work for me!
For starters, I find it a very indiscreet way of telling the time. When I am in a conversation with someone, but know I need to be somewhere else later, I can glance down at my wrist and check the hour without them noticing. 
If I have to get out my phone, open it up and look at at, they know what I am doing- and may feel offended that I appear to be eager to get away. It feels impolite.
In some situations, I cannot have my phone out anyway [admittedly I am not doing any teaching right now, but most schools these days ban phones in the classroom] 
Then there is the other issue of distraction - I get out my phone to check the time, and see a message, and get distracted into a rabbit warren of checking, and replying and doing things I would normally have left till I was ready to deal with them.

I like the craftsmanship involved in a watch- if you saw Steve Fletcher in BBC2s Repair Shop, you'll understand what I mean. [brilliant website, and lovely video of Steve here]
My watch is purely functional - small face, second hand, waterproof silicone strap - but a watch can be an item of jewellery [like Steph's gorgeous rose gold one]
Did you know that wristwatches were initially just worn by women? It was only in WW1 that men started realising how useful they were, when the officers didn't have to keep digging down into their trench coats for their pocket watches.
Someone asked me recently if I had to move my sundial  in the garden when we changed the hour. I said no, I could manage to "add one" without too much difficulty- and anyway I don't tend to use the sundial as my main method of time-telling. 
"What do you think the Saxons did, then?" I replied that it wouldn't have mattered to the Saxons, as we didn't start Daylight Saving till 1916.
And I realised that many young people are so used to 21st Century technology that they genuinely cannot understand how, in previous generations, we worked with much simpler methods. 
Do you wear a wristwatch? 
or do you rely on your phone?


  1. I am glad you got a new strap for your watch. It's funny how we keep looking at our bare wrists out of habit, isn't it? No, I don't wear a wristwatch any more. I haven't worn one for at least the past 15 years, if not longer! I never replaced my watch after it broke! I suppose I reply on my phone. :)

  2. Morning, I love a watch but unfortunately I can't seem to wear one - I can only wear silver or gold next to my skin and even if I were lucky enough (or extravagant enough) to have one, all the watches I have ever one seem to stop working very quickly for no apparent reason! Have to rely on my phone these days - but you are right it can seem intrusive.

  3. Love my watch and am lost without it. When I'm teaching piano, I have my clock (a wind up one, my father is a horologist) strategically placed so I can see it without the pupil noticing. You mentioned about summer-time being a recent intervention brought in during war time to aid production and increase the time available for working. In medieval and presumably Anglo Saxon times post monastery, hours were different length depending whether it was winter or summer. Winter hours were much shorter, summer ones longer so everyone got more sleep during the dark time as candles, whether tallow or wax were so expensive. I find that really hard to get your head around!

  4. Wow that's an amazing bit of information. Thanks for this!

  5. I don't wear a watch but I walked past the jeweller's in town on Saturday and thought I MUST get a new battery for one of my watches. I haven't worn one for ages and I rely on public clocks (like at school or at the station or our wall clocks). When out, it's my phone I'm afraid!


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