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Why do we keep our watches?

by Jordan Ficklin

Been broken for about 14 years.  Has moved with me 6 times.  Why do I still have it?Open up your dresser drawer and you probably have some watches that have been in there for 10, 15, or more years. They’re probably broken, or maybe they just need a new battery. But, why do we keep them? I definitely have some of them. That Casio has been broken for at least 10 years and has gone with me as I have moved houses at least 6 times.

As I listened to Living on Earth this week they had a segment about the 1000 watch project. From their web page we learn a little about their project:

With the advent of cell phones, wrist watches
are dying a slow death. But it is difficult (if not impossible) to throw out your
old wrist watch even if it is broken. Is that because when it was worn it was almost an integral part of the body? Does it represent an important moment in one’s life?

I hear this all the time: the younger generation aren’t wearing wristwatches. The fact is that the wristwatch is more convenient than the cell phone. Here are some reasons I think the wristwatch won’t go the way of the pocket watch:

  1. When you’re in a business meeting it is easier to steal a glance at your watch than at your cell phone without being noticed, or making someone feel that you have something more important to do.
  2. There are not very many accessories a man can wear. He can put on cuff links, a ring or two, maybe a simple chain around the neck, he could wear a tie-tac or a lapel pin, but the watch is the most common and most accepted form of personal expression for a man.
  3. They mark time.

JFKThat last one might seem obvious, but just as people have a hard time throwing away their old wrist watches, they will have a hard time giving them up all together. We seem to be attached to our watches. Why can’t I throw away the $2 digital watch I bought in Peru? or the silver dollar watch I purchased in middle school? or my high school track watch I received when I was a Senior in High School? These watches mark time. Times in our lives, events, occasions, and they are cherished.

The thousand watch project is trying to preserve one thousand wrist watches and their stories. You might enjoy Watch 499, Watch 470, Watch 482, Watch 411, or Watch 395

Dig deep in your dresser drawer and find a watch you haven’t worn in years. Tell me about it, and if you feel so inclined donate it to the 1000 watch project, even if the wrist watch isn’t disappearing into the past.

P.S. if your watch is as nice as Watch 499 you can donate it to me instead and I’ll donate something from my watch box to the 1000 watch project. If you would like to see everything that’s in my watch box you can check out my facebook album.

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