My old wind-up watch

Two random and unrelated moments of late are giving me pause. I admit to always being on the lookout for signs that I am finally starting to act like a member of AARP; little points in time when I display characteristics of being stuck in an earlier era. Hopefully without the requisite old man smell.

At first blush I am indeed an older man who does his best to keep up with the times. To wit: I subscribe to a handful of streaming services; I use a Mac computer and iPhone; and I not only pay store cashiers using a digital wallet, but I also pay all of my bills electronically. I even — GASP! — own shares in an ETF and not just those stodgy mutual funds (I realize investing in crypto might sound more stylish, but that’s a financial crossing of the Rubicon I’m pretty sure will never happen).

As always, it helps to have a jury of my peers. So I’ll let you, dear readers, be the judge for any displays of mission creep:

In the first instance, just the other day I discovered that my dress watches all have dead batteries in them. We were headed out to an engagement and I wanted to wear my dad’s old Seiko, only to find it dead as a doornail. Sadly, both my old Movado and Citizen had the same problem.

But then, lying way in the back, I spotted my trusty old Wittnauer, a ‘circa 1940’s wind-up watch which still works wonderfully. Its provenance is mildly complicated: a token remnant of my first marriage, though thankfully not one that carries deep significance — it was passed down to my ex, who then gave it to me, and she ultimately ended up being unmoved by it when we separated possessions prior to our divorce. It’s not a watch I wear very much, partly due to that history, but mostly because I remain more enamored by the eighties and nineties flash of my battery powered ones. Still, the Wittnauer is a fine vintage watch. I wore a suit to our engagement the other evening and I thought it added a measure of dash.

The second moment is when I noticed that my tires needed air. At this point, you might be seeing a pattern. Does this man actually know how to maintain things? (the short answer to that is “Yes, but there are YouTube videos of Don Rickles to watch.” The more honest explanation is that I’m overdue for an oil change and rotation). So I drove to the gas station to fill them up. As I waited while two cars ahead of me used the air machine, I watched both sets of drivers use their debit cards to pay for the air. I had no intention of doing that. I always have quarters sitting out in my vehicle. My 2007 Toyota has two open trays to store quarters; one that holds up to eight coins, the other ten. I nearly always keep all 18 compartments full. It’s not a point of pride so much as the 23 year old in me from 1982 still thinks it looks cool to have them filled.

The soon-to-be 63 year old that is my present self also notices that they charge more to use debit and credit cards in those machines.

Source: Numismatics.org

Where am I going with this? I see myself holding on to habits and usage that are no longer really in vogue. Anachronistic tendencies of mine manifesting and on full public display.

Yes, yes, I see those fancy electronic “watches” that people now wear to get notified about emails, text messages, constant updates on where the closest barista is located, etc. (I also realize they also have critical health monitors used by some). But come on, those aren’t watches so much as devices. Plus, they all look like one is wearing a mini iPad on one’s wrist. And who carries coins anymore, really? During lockdown stores and banks were literally begging for people to bring in all the change they were storing in jars at home because there was a shortage of them. Gorgeous is constantly placing her spare change on my desk because she doesn’t want to be bothered with it at the bottom of her purse anymore. We’re all using our cards to even buy one single item now.

Yet, I can’t or don’t want to let go completely. I’ve worn a watch since I was 10 years old, when I saved my allowance and paperboy money to buy a silver Timex from the uptown Rexall drugstore in my hometown. I still toss loose change in my pocket every time I go out because, you never know, I might want to buy a package of Sugar Babies.

So go ahead and mock me. But I bet I can tell you the time quicker than it takes for you to pull out your phone and look.

Until next time…

46 thoughts on “Obsolescence

  1. You have a sponsor? Oy vay! As for old habits, I’m sure I have a few but not watches or change. I hated the old windups as I never did it in time. I was grateful when the battery operated ones came out. Now my Fitbit tells me in big blazing numbers what time it is. I just have to remember to recharge it every few days!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How did you get a sponsor? I think I knew that you could allow businesses to put ads in you blog…um…don’t know how that works though.
    Your watches! Bwahahahaha!
    This is a little embarrassing, but I always had jewelry to match my outfits…even watches. My favorite was a solid gold one with a sapphire in the winding post (even though it had a battery.) Well, did you know that if you pull that little post out when you take off your watch, it disengages the battery, thus saving its life?
    My children used to punish me after I grounded them by going through my jewelry and pushing all the stems of my watches in. 😑
    I use my iPhone to see what time it is…if I care to know.
    Back to this sponsorship thing. Do you get paid…or does she? # I hate WordPress! LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Coincidentally, I own a wind-up Gruen which also dates from circa 1940s and keeps perfect time. I wore it daily for many years until I retired, at which time I retired the watch to its well-earned resting place in the top drawer of my dresser, where I think of it as “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good luck to your “sponsor”!! I still like to use cash but since the pandemic, I’ve become more accustomed to not using it. Recently, we pulled out some cash for a trip and I ended up depositing a good chunk back into the savings account, figuring I needed it more there.

    I’ve worn watches all my life too and when I got a FitBit, I still wanted to wear my watches. They were like jewelry to me. But since I got my Apple Watch, I only wear it. I do miss my pretty watches though. New can be good and bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I’m like you about trips: I also make sure to have more cash with me then I probably need. There’s something comforting about that, I suppose?

      I really do get the FitBit. The Apple Watch, though? I’m just jealous! πŸ™‚


      1. I was very happy with my FitBit but then my husband decided we both needed Apple Watches. I think he wanted one so he thought it would be better if I had one too. There are a few things I like about the Apple Watch. With the FitBit, I couldn’t read it outside but I can with the Apple. And I have so many options for the watch face, which for me is Minnie Mouse!! Yes, it’s really just a toy.


  5. I love vintage watches! It’s great you have one, in spite of the history. There’s something so nice about not having to go get a battery replacement, not to mention the reduction in glances towards the phone. Regarding your sponsor, I noticed an increase in lovely vibrant art being posted to her Instagram page. I did not realize she had an Etsy shop, so thanks for that. Going to go look!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, Tracey. In fact the whole battery thing is starting to make me re-think whether I even want those kinds of watches anymore. I might go completely wind-up! I’m sure she’d be thrilled with some traffic there, thanks. πŸ™‚


  6. Hi, Marty – Your a year younger than me, and way ahead of me on much of your technology use.
    Digital Wallets? I’ve dug in my hills and have refused to budge on this one.
    As for watches, I hadn’t worn one since the early 2000’s (and no, I’m not perpetually late). But I did get a FitBit several months ago and love having instant access to the correct time! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really do get the FitBit, Donna. I read that for some, it’s now potentially a life saver what with the medical monitoring some of them have; and of course the exercise benefits are obviously helpful too. Keep staying on time! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love that you now have a sponsor (wink, wink)!

    I don’t usually wear a regular watch but I do have an Apple watch I wear when exercising. Your vintage watch is a piece of art!

    I have thought about using Apple Pay but since not all shops/restaurants offer it, I have to bring my credit card anyway. I’m a bit concerned about hacking too… I imagine hundreds of pimply-faced nerds living in their parent’s basements are working on that as I type.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ha ha, could be, Janis! The reason my bank sold me on it was that it’s safer to use it at dodgy enterprises (not that hopefully you go to any!) and stick your card into their reader at the cashier. So since I live in Florida, that was an inducement for me. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  8. 63 = old man? Get back to me in ten, fifteen, or twenty years, and we’ll talk. πŸ™‚ I have two watches, and both need new batteries. Thank you for the reminder because I’m heading to a store near the battery store today. Putting on a watch to go out is like putting on earrings and my wedding ring. Gardeners who get dirty don’t wear jewelry so that is why I have no interest in the plastic mini computers one wears on their wrist. Plus, it looks rather ‘George Jetson’ to be pecking away at your wrist or talking to it, in my humble opinion. In all seriousness, do you remember when one would leave home and not be connected? We all survived quite well and our stress level was probably at a much better level. Have a great day with or without your watch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Still always the youngest, and again I have to clear the table of dishes! πŸ˜‰ The George Jetson/Star Trek era has indeed arrived, hasn’t it? I can look the other way at the devices, but I do worry about flying cars. Indeed, we did all leave home and never worried about not knowing if the Kardashians had said something new to say in the last twenty minutes. Remember pay phones? They’re gone forever, it appears. I can just see you out there digging and not having a clue what time it is. “Judy! It’s getting dark!” πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The problem for me, Erica, is that someone here talked about how much they liked vintage watches (I think it was Tracey), and now I have this idea of how much fun it would be to only have wind-up watches from now on (save my Dad’s Seiko, of course). I see something that could rival my used vinyl collection now. πŸ˜‰ Definitely stay Zen; it suits you πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Lots of interesting stuff here.
    Secondly, the watches stuff was fascinating. During our renos the hired storage unit on the front lawn was burgled. The one thing I really mourned was my old Citizen diving watch from the mid-70s. Rotating bezel. Self winding. Boo hoo.
    Thirdly, I stopped wearing a watch when lockdowns hit. I was always within view of a clock or screen. Haven’t bothered to replace the battery. Probably won’t.
    Finally, WordPress. I’m really starting to wonder if blogging in is it dotage. Desperate revenue raising will doubtless accelerate that process. Is yours a free or pay account?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for filling in more of the back stories, Marty! Pity I was too thick to pick up the, um, cross-promotion theme. I suspect a recent reminder from WP that ads can appear at ‘free’ sites was lodged in my mind. I have a subscription for Vinyl Connection, but Lonely Keyboards is ‘free’. Anyway, thanks for an action-packed post!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, as I said, I kind of laid the alleged backdrop setting on a little thick myself. πŸ˜‰

        I never actually answered your question, though: I do pays the annual fee (it’s actually two fees; I can’t figure out why) to have an ad-free site. Ostensibly that gives more options for Themes to choose, though I’m suspicious about that also. But not having the ads does make things look better. I think the last straw for me was when I had an ad for removing toenail fungus in the middle of my posts.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I stopped wearing a watch years ago when I got a cell phone. However, for one of my husband’s retirement dinners last month, I put on a watch to look fancy. The kicker is that the battery was long gone in the watch, so it wasn’t working– but I did feel grown-up and properly dressed. Weird, huh? Talk about a throwback to my younger days.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve always loved wearing a watch, but had to give them up decades ago as I am a killer of watches. Generally it’s something to do with electricity (I can give people shocks through a piece of paper) but it’s also because I’ve long used a keyboard for extended periods of time and wear my watch face under my wrist, so it gets somewhat battered.

    My mother found 2 old 2 Omega Constellations which belonged to my father, neither of which worked. They’ve now been refurbished and are going to my grandchildren. I’m almost a little envious, as I agree that wearing a watch to a dress up occasion sounds decidedly lovely. Your wind-up watch looks the absolute dogs Marty (Brit slang).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. An interesting admission about yourself, Debs. I’ve never felt you were shocking! πŸ™‚ My watch wearing is actually limited, really. If I’m just out and about running errands, or even going to an appointment, I rarely wear one because I just use the clock on the dashboard in the car. But when on the day I go into my part time job, I always do because I have more than one client, so it’s helpful to pace myself using one. But, yeah, I’m vain enough to like wearing one when we go out on the town (ha, as if).

      I will now start using “Absolute Dogs” every chance I get, thank you. Mostly because Gorgeous is sick of hearing “lovely jubbly” come out of my mouth — can you guess which show I’ve been watching on BritBox? lol

      Liked by 1 person

  13. With your new sponsor, the coins should really start rolling in, Marty. Here in the all-cash society of Nepal, coins are extremely rare. We are forced to use paper money for virtually all transactions. All the bills look similar, and the largest bill in circulation is equivalent to about $8. Taking $200 out of the ATM spits out 25 notes! I need a larger wallet.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I forgot to mention that the smallest denomination bank note is equivalent to 4 cents (5 Nepalese Rupees). So everything is rounded to the nearest 4 cents. They also have an 8, 16, 40, and 75 cent note. Needless to say, I am still struggling with the currency here.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Marty,
    I love watches, but never wear them, because every time I go to put one on, the battery is dead. I change the batteries and then wait til they die to think of wearing the watches again.
    I am proud to be stuck on time on certain things. Everyone is so in a hurry to adopt the newest trend. Call me cautious but I rather watch and see how it goes before I adopt it. I am still not paying with my Google Wallet, but I did use it for my US Open tickets. Now that I recall, for some reason it showed only 1 ticket and thanks heaven I was able to go to the email to show the other tickets.
    Blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I know someone (older than me!) who doesn’t even take a debit or credit card out with them but instead uses her phone to pay for things! Me, I feel lost without cash. I simply have to have my cash & cards on me, as well as my phone (which I never use to pay for things).

    Liked by 1 person

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