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Wristwatches: They Keep Ticking But Time Will Tell

Updated on June 19, 2013

I turned ten years old in 1973 and my parents gave me a Timex wristwatch for my birthday present. Getting a wristwatch was a big deal back then. It meant a person was growing up. It meant I could stop pestering my parents by asking to what time it was. (I was too lazy to look in the kitchen where we had a clock hanging above the stove.) It meant I didn't have to look up at the clock in the classroom to see what time it was when I was in school. I could countdown the minutes to recess by watching the second hand on my new wristwatch.

Not everyone had a wristwatch in the fourth grade. Only the cool kids. My parents didn't just give me any old wristwatch for my birthday they gave me a glow in the dark wristwatch. Yeah, I was cool alright. Back in those days a watch didn't do anything except tell you the time. And glow of course in my case.

Actually it didn't tell you the time, you had to figure it out. It was an analog watch with hands. Digital watches were out but they cost way too much for my family to afford. I remember when my Dad did get one a year or so later, we were all so impressed by it. Red lights giving you the time rather than trying to figure out a numerical dial with an hour hand minute hand and seconds hand. Now they give away digital watches with Happy Meals but back then they were expensive. Unfortunately my glow in the dark wristwatch had a short life. About a week after getting it, I set it on top of a lamp on my night stand in order to activate the glow part of it, forgot about it and the heat from the lamp melted the dial and plastic cover. Maybe I wasn't ready to grow up quite then. Or at least I want ready for a wristwatch.

Back then you had to wind the watch in order to get it working. Today's watches have batteries. Not that many of today's kids wear watches. They all have cell phones that tell the time. If you ask today's teens what time it is, they will pull their cell phone out of their pocket and check the time on there. And why not? Cell phones today are basically computers, calculators, cameras, video-cameras,GPS maps, texting devices, video games and oh yes, you can actually make phone calls with them as well. All conveniently carried in your pocket. When I was a kid the only thing I carried in my pocket were baseball cards. (We'll have a column on baseball cards in another issue). No wonder todays teens don't wear wristwatches as much anymore. Oh I see a few of them wearing them. One boy had one that is made for surfers. I saw another teen with one made for skaters. I wonder if they make watches for people who just want to know what time it is?

Of course they still make wristwatches. Todays watches plug into your cell phones, you can download music, read your emails, and the list goes on, all from your wristwatch. On todays watches you can see how many calories you are burning, how far you have walked, and I'm sure some of them even glow in the dark not to mention tell the time.

One of my favorite family heirlooms is a pocket-watch my great great great grandfather carried during the Civil War. That's how people kept the time before the invention of the wristwatch. A small pocket-watch on a chain. All it did was tell the time. My how the times have changed.

Do You Still Wear A Wristwatch?

Do you still wear a wristwatch?

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      5 years ago

      It is interesting that students today ( mine in the 7th grade) have no concept of when I say " We will stop working at a quarter past," because they do not recognize time in that manner.

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      5 years ago

      I love the story and I still remember it being a big deal to get a watch, in fact when folks used to retire, you got a watch after so many years of service with a company as a sign of recognition or in some cases as a boot out the door.


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