There was a tradition in our family that we got our first watch after passing the Intermediate Certificate.

The Inter, as it was known, was taken two years before the Leaving, which meant we would be around 15.  That was in the days where we valued things and were prepared to wait for them and didn’t demand them as a right as soon as we could talk.  Nowadays kids would laugh in your face if you suggested they were 15 before getting their first watch.  For fuck’s sake, by fifteen they have their watches, their mobile phones, their own computers and would have a fucking car if they could get away with it.

I was fired off to boarding school at the tender age of eleven, and as a special concession [hah!] I was given a watch as consolation.

It was a damned good watch.  It kept excellent time and I was proud of it.  It was a straightforward windey-up thing with no fancy extras like depth-gauges or the time in Tokyo or any of that shit.  Three hands and that was your lot.  It didn’t even have numerals.

Over the course of the years that watch went through the wars.  It survived fights, motorbike crashes, being dunked in the sea and the general wear and tear of a teenage life and beyond.  It had a couple of new winders and a couple of new springs but that was it.  The strap was the only thing that needed regular replacement.

One year. herself decided to buy me a new watch.  It was one of those with analogue hands and a wee digital display that gave the time or the day and date.  It was strange not having to wind it.  It didn’t last as long as the original, but I replaced it with an identical model.  I’m on the third incarnation now.  I always go for the same watch [Q&Q?] as it is remarkably accurate, usually to a couple of seconds a month.

I noticed a couple of days ago that the digital display is fading.  That’s a sure sign that the battery is on its last legs.  It’s two years since I replaced it so that’s not too bad.  Today I hope to replace it, and there’s the rub.  Watch batteries of the right size are hard to find.

The only shop I know sells the right size is in the heart of Skobieville.


I hate Skobieville.

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Time travel — 11 Comments

  1. i love  analogue hands, i can glace and know the time without looking. not a fan of a digital watch – too much thinking.

  2. I have an analogue – it’s much easier to catch sight of the time without appearing to look at the watch.

    Skobieville always provides you with stuff to write about – don’t be complaining.

  3. Grandad, being a complete motorcycle freak ( my business is repairing the things ) I am intrigued by your watch surviving motorcycle crashes; what bikes have you owned, rather than crashed? just to give you an idea of my cred, I own a Honda RC30 to HRC race kit spec, however this is my track bike, my road bikes are much more pedestrian.

  4. I don’t know about y’all in Europe; but here in the States a lot of kids and even younger adults can’t read a non-digital clock. Do you remember the early LCD watches back in the ’70’s that played a tune/song? My first, made in Singapore, I think, sang The Yellow Rose ‘in’ Texas. As for you being packed off to boarding school at that tender age GD; well it speaks volumes! Heh! Where was the school? Local?

  5. Nah – kids now don’t bother with watches.
    “What would I need a watch for, I can look at my phone. Duh.”
    Until it runs out of charge (which is all the time), or it gets nicked.

  6. Cat – I’m beginning to get used to digital clocks but I don’t like ’em.  Somehow, they just give you a number but an analogue actually tells the time.  Hard to explain.

    Ian – Thanks very much but if I have to stoop to visiting Skobieville for material then I would rather quit.  It was miserable there and it pissed rain on me.  At least I hope it was rain.  In Skobieville, anything can happen.

    Johnnyrvf – I am going to disappoint you terribly here and confess that it was a mere Yamaha 80cc.  It travelled the length and breadth of Ireland and a bit of England too and was my sole means of transport for about six years.  I was sorry to see it go.

    TT – Like the old Casio watches?  I remember them well.  There was also the Sinclair watch, produced by Clive before he went into the home computer business.  Batteries lasted about a week!

    The boarding school was in the south of Ireland.  It was a fucking kip, and to make matters worse, we were only allowed speak Irish, on pain of a severe thrashing.  Damn!!  I have just found its website.  It has had a bit of a facelift.  No sigh of the barbed wire or the Solitary Confinement Pits…..

    BWT – I didn’t think modern yoof took any notice of time at all?  They just seem to wander around aimlessly and I think that punctuality would be expecting too much of them?



  7. Hi Grandad –
    On the battery thing – I get all mine in a €2 shop (on a big card with loads of other batteries)
    Looking at the site for Ring reminds me that there’s a grand booser down the road from it – it used to be called Tig an Ceoil – not even sure if it’s still there – many’s a good night spent etc .

  8. Over the years I’ve had an assortment of watches, starting with the Comfirmation Watch. This was just like yours GD. A genuine wind up Swiss watch. It went through the wars too, coming to its end on a friends Yamaha AS3. I’ve had the LCD, Quartz, Atomic power whatever watches, even one that could withstand depths of 200 metres. I could never understand how the fuck I was going to read the time that far underwater and survive.
    I have a drawerful of broken watches and some I never bothered replacing batteries in, ‘cos I’d have to go to Scobieville. Then Herself bought me a shiny windy watch with no batteries. It self winds as you move or flick your wrist back and forth.
    Brilliant. I showed it off to all my friends until one of the Bastards suggested that my wrist winding actions reminded him of someone performing an act of self abuse.

  9. Neighbour – Strange as it may seem, it never occurred to me to buy on-line.  Are you implying I swear?  That is fucking libelous.

    Josh – The trouble with mixed bags is that you end up with loads you don’t want and probably not the ones you do want.  At the tender age of eleven I wasn’t aware of pubs, so I can’t comment on locals in Ring.  My drinking career didn’t start for another year or two.

    Slab – I would have thought that motion winding was a great excuse?  You can whack off anywhere you like and just claim that you’re winding your watch?


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