What a modern marvel is the ubiquitous ‘Smart Watch’ we see adorning the wrists of our friends, work colleagues or strangers in the street. More than ten years ago most of those same wrists were bare, ‘Smart Phones’ have long before taken care of our personal awareness of time.
I know what that spell is like. My own quantified self continuously measured, tracked, analysed and reported back to me and God knows who else thinks even my doctor did not know.
For a time I slept with my smart watch, eager for the morning when I would analyse my overnight heart-rate, my breathing, my blood oxygen levels. My watch would tell me the state of my ‘Personal Battery’ and make suggestions on when I should slow down and take it easy or when I was energised to take on the world, … and then the novelty faded and I was left wondering what all the fuss was about.
Funny though, I realised that I liked having the time on my wrist and not my phone. It was hard to remember a time before quartz crystals, stepper motors, micro-circuits and liquid crystal displays. I became curious about mainsprings, gear-trains, escapements and balance wheels. I began noticing the artistry, the geometry, the mechanical complexity and artisan-ship that has been patiently doing its own things for the last couple hundred years.
I discovered that you don’t need a battery or solar power to keep personal time, just a piece of time honoured watchmaking and a few turns of the crown each day;
… tic, tic, tic, tic, tic, tic.