Quiet Desperation

Irrelevance of watches was just a matter of time

Column by Craig Marshall Smith
Posted 2/2/21

Watch out. Believe it or not, years and years ago wristwatches were intended solely to tell someone what time it was. Not anymore. Maybe you saw this? The president wore a $7,000 “statement …

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Quiet Desperation

Irrelevance of watches was just a matter of time

Posted

Watch out.

Believe it or not, years and years ago wristwatches were intended solely to tell someone what time it was.

Not anymore.

Maybe you saw this? The president wore a $7,000 “statement watch” — a Rolex Datejust — to the inauguration.

It’s doubtful he needed the watch to tell him what time it was. His day was pretty well orchestrated.

Perhaps he wore the watch to tell those Russians something about him.

I always think that actions speak louder than watches, but what do I know? I haven’t worn a watch — not even a cheap-o — in 40 years.

Back when I was wearing a watch, I needed one to know what time it was; nothing more.

Then, all of a sudden, there were time pieces everywhere. Every appliance comes with a digital clock. Digital clocks come with digital clocks.

Stoves, coffee makers, microwave ovens. Your television tells you what time it is too.

Mobile phones know what time it is. That means you can confirm what your watch is telling you once you leave the house.

Your car has a clock. Office buildings have digital clocks outside and analog clocks inside.

Every stadium, gymnasium, auditorium has multiple clocks (yet coaches wear watches).

Every classroom has a clock.

Yet hundreds — thousands — of dollars are spent on wristwatches.

Why?

Because expensive wristwatches let people know you have (choose one): high standards; good taste; a lot of money; a warped sense of priorities.

As you might have guessed, I don’t accessorize. In fact, I am uncomfortable with the word.

No watch, ring, bracelet, necklace, or chain.

Entertainer William Jonathan Drayton Jr. takes the concept of carrying a timepiece with him to the greatest extreme.

Known as “Flavor Flav,” he wears a dinner plate-sized clock on a chain around his neck.

In high school, I was given a Timex with a “Twist-O-Flex” band. The band always managed to capture wrist hairs and bring tears to my years.

Later I purchased a Swatch for less than $20.

One day at school I looked at it and realized it was nothing more than a bracelet. After all, there were clocks everywhere.

In an article about “statement watches,” Watch Shopping states, “Welcome to the complicated world of Rolex. The iconic brand often sends differing, even conflicting messages.

“While a Rolex exudes a sense of sophistication and success, it also risks looking like overcompensation.”

I don’t want something on my wrist to exude anything.

What does a Rolex Datejust weigh? The one the president was wearing? Two pounds at least.

His watch also tells him what day it is. It seems like he would know.

There are watches that do more than tell the time and date.

I always envied Dick Tracy’s watch. He talked into it. Now and then in grade school I talked to my wrist.

(My teacher sent a note to my parents. “Craig talks to his left wrist.”)

In one way or another, we all make statements with what we are wearing or not wearing.

In the winter, I wear a sweater and jeans. In the summer, a shirt and shorts. I think this means one of two things: I undervalue the benefits of making statements with what I am wearing, or I’m too old and distant to care about making statements with what I am wearing.

It’s time to feed the dog.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.

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