Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Are watches and wall clocks going the way of the dinosaur?

"She touches her wrist where her watch used to be, her fingers lost without time to hold on to.”
- Jenny Hubbard, American novelist and playwright
From Paper Covers Rock

"If you were to ask me the best time of day to fall in love, I'd say "Now."  But you'd also have to remember to factor in the fact that my watch is eleven minutes fast."
- Jarod Kintz, American author, born March 5, 1982
From This Book is Not for Sale

I really like timepieces - watches, clocks, hourglasses, sundials, you name it.  That is why I am quite dismayed that they seem to be going out of fashion.  Many people these day, particularly teens and 20-somethings, do not wear a wristwatch.  They don't find it necessary because they can check the time on their smart phones and other wireless devices.  Some children do not even know how to tell time on an analogue clock because they are only familiar with digital ones.  They regard analogue clocks as relics from a bygone era along with such items as black and white television and handwritten letters.

As for wall clocks, they too seem to be falling out of favour.  I went to a major department store here in Toronto and was informed that they do not have any wall clocks for sale.  I was advised that there isn't a market for them.  Given these trends, how can one expect anyone to be interested in horology, the study of mechanical time-keeping devices.  It appears that horologists will become as difficult to find as as  typewriter repairmen.  Like typewriters, clocks may gradually disappear from our homes because there are few left with the skills to repair them and few places to buy new ones.

Well, I can't turn back the hands of time, as the old adage goes.  Nevertheless, I will continue to wear my wristwatch and glance at my kitchen clock.  By the way, I am sometimes asked for the time from people who don't wear a watch and have left their cell phones elsewhere or can't be bothered to retrieve their phones from their purses.

There's something romantic and sentimental about watches, especially engraved ones.  Parents pass them along to their children.  How can that be replaced by clocks on a smart phone.  Now don't get me wrong, I am not a Luddite by any means.  I know too well that technological progress can't be halted.  I am, however, also aware of what we will lose if wristwatches and grandfather clocks are banished to museums.

I'll leave the last word to the great author and humourist Mark Twain (1835-1910) who lived well before the digital age.

"Time and tide wait for no man.  A pompous and self-satisfied proverb, and was true for a billion years; but in our day of electric wires and water-ballast we turn it around: Man waits not for time nor tide."

- Joanne

Do you wear a wristwatch? free polls 

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