Tuesday, 7 August 2012


I once went for a year without a watch.  My watch had broken and I was so fed up with it being wrong and having to keep adjusting it that I threw it away.  I was living in Japan at the time and everywhere I looked there was a clock or a TV with a time flashing in the corner or an announcement of the time.  So I decided to see whether I could manage without my own timepiece.  I don't think I ever missed it.

Later, I was involved with the opening of a new department store in Yokohama and, rather embarrassingly, was given a watch as a thank you gift.  It had 'Yokohama' written round the face and has lasted until now, 25 years later.

As it was a rather fashionable looking watch (apart perhaps from the engraved legend), I tended not to wear it for everyday use, preferring one I bought in Petersfield market for £5.  The cheap one has also done me proud, surviving endless perspiration, constant changes in temperature, the occasional submersion in a shower, one temporary disappearance in a compost heap, and innumerable falls onto hard surfaces.  But last week it decided it had had enough and stopped.  Even with a new battery.  It had anyway changed from seeming to be carved out of pure solid gold to something that looked as though it had recently sealed a pot of Marmite.  So I threw it away and started wearing my Yokohama watch full time.

I had to put a new battery into it before I came to Devon.  But every time I took the watch off, it stopped.  In the morning you could tell what time I went to sleep.  Not only that, but I started having to use a pair of pliers to pull out the winder in the morning and a small hammer to knock it in again.  I also had to take it off and shake it from time to time, when it appeared to be lagging.  It was becoming too much.  I took the watch off to shake it, while in town today, and the strap broke.  It was a sign.  I slipped it into a nearby litter bin.  Don't tell the people in Yokohama.

So I bought a new watch!  Clearly a £5 watch had not lasted forever as I had expected, so I splashed out on a £10 one.  It is shiny gold, has a crocodile type strap and has a French name written on it and everything.  'Is it French?' I asked.  'No, it comes from Manchester.  But the movement was made in Japan.'  So perhaps the Yokohama people won't mind too much after all.

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