If you’re old enough to remember John Cameron Swayze’s “takes a licking and keeps on ticking” at the end of every Timex Torture Test commercial, then there’s a fairly good chance that you’re presently wearing a wristwatch. Aside from those of us who still read newspapers, have land lines coming into our homes, and know what a slide rule is for, the watch as a timepiece and indispensable fashion accessory holds little sway. Favouring the utilities of their Swiss Army Knife-inspired handheld devices for almost everything (short of a dream date with an underwear model), younger generations see no advantage in knowingly wearing something on their arm that can ruin an all over body tan. Watches may be being displaced by nifty technology, but that does not mean they have disappeared. Not by a long shot.
Watch C.R.U.D. abounds suspended in time in various regions of the home. They populate jewelry cases, the bottoms of discarded handbags, dresser and night table drawers and junk drawers of all dimensions. The days in which a watch was a coveted tribute for 25 years of dedicated service to one’s employer, belong to a distant past. Learning to tell time was a skill akin to learning the alphabet or how to add and subtract. Do today’s children still need to know how to do this when a digital display supplies the exact time as opposed to the imprecise “quarter past” designation? Watches have become commodities just like everything else with the exception of a few status brands that continue to inspire envy. The question is: why do we keep them around?
A lot of it stems from good intentions. You stop wearing a watch when the battery runs out, or the band breaks or you crack the crystal. Most of these mishaps require minor repairs. But, who has the time to drive down to the mall to change the battery? Watches can be had for a mere ten bucks these days. Why bother to fix the old one? There are also so many types, it is positively dizzying. Often they are received as gifts for special occasions. Would you take the chance of insulting the givers (as in Aunts) by passing them along?
We think there is another dimension to the watch’s demise. Watches have two distinct disadvantages. First, they are small and mobile which makes them susceptible to loss. The second has to do with the aging process. Not the watch’s, however. As our eyesight diminishes, it becomes more and more difficult to read the numbers. You can probably calculate someone’s age based on the size of her watch face. It’s a choice between that, and a stronger prescription form the optician.
Understand, the outlook for watches is not good. You can always sell antique watches made from precious metals, especially when gold is so high. It’s the rest of the collection that may prove problematical. So many have been designed as “disposables” in recent years, that repair is simply out of the question and who wants a cartoon superhero plastic watch carcass that will guarantee that you will be late for dinner? Other easy targets for departure are the ones that came in a box with interchangeable bezels so your watch could match every outfit. And watches aren’t the only examples of obsolete timekeepers we see on a regular basis; how many portable alarm clocks are you hosting amongst your travel accessories? We award least favorite status to the imitation brass Anniversary Clock replicas where the glass dome is missing. You can include old clock radios in your purge. You cell phone can do that job too.