In the beginning …

Generic watch

I can trace my fascination with watches to a very young age. Perhaps back to when I was eight years old.

It was in the early ’80s, and electronic watches were all the rage in Nigeria, where I lived at the time.

Here we’re talking about those watches with digital display (as opposed to analog display ones) where you had the time spelled out to you clearly, with bold numbers. You didn’t need to have to work out what the time was; the exact hour and minute would be displayed clearly on the dial. However, most of those watches used LED display, which meant that, to conserve battery power, the screen would light up only when you pressed a button at the side of the watch.

That sounds so dated today, but, in those days, nothing screamed ‘high tech’ louder than an electronic watch on which you could also play a few games. However, as my parents preferred something more traditional, I never actually got to be the proud owner of one of those watches. And so I was the girl with the analog watches with bright coloured straps. They did attract a lot of attention, I must say.

All this is going back over 30 years, and that fascination has stayed with me until today. I cannot walk past a shop selling watches without at least stopping to look at the watches in the window.

Today it’s hard to keep up with all the brands out there, and I’m thinking there’s not much point in even trying. I have my favourite brands, and I follow what they do.

There’s always going to be that watch that will catch the eye. One that will make you double back and take a second look, maybe even speak to a stranger on a train. Every day, whether I realise it or not, I am scanning my world in case my eyes would light upon that watch. And whenever I do, I like to have an experience with it. I might compliment the owner; I might stop and admire through a shop window; I might zoom in on the picture. One way or the other, I experience its beauty.

Maybe it’s similar to my experience with electronic watches all those years ago. Certainly my tastes have evolved over the years, but at the heart of things is the desire to find that watch that arrests your attention, and draws you into the moment.

I’ll always be looking for it.

What about you? Where has your interest in watches led you? Can you trace its origins? Tell me your story in the comments.

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