I have always been fascinated by things mechanical, and about the most complex thing you can get these days is a good watch


I have invested in various bits of watch maintenance equipment, because of the eye-watering cost of using the local jewellers to do what is a reasonably easy task, if you have the right kit.

I can change batteries, provided I can get the back off, shorten watch bracelets, and replace worn out straps, and will take a pint of beer as recompense - much cheaper than any jeweller !

By the way, watch batteries are easily available online, but do not buy cheap ones ! You can pay a couple of pounds (at most) for a proper battery, or the same amount for a couple of dozen on a blister pack. Go for the seemingly more expensive option, for a number of good reasons ... the proper battery will last longer, and is less likely to leak, causing fatal damage to your time-piece, and you are not lumbered with a whole bunch of other batteries that you will never use.

If you get your battery changed at a jeweller, get a receipt, and ask that the date be scratched onto the new battery before installation. That way, if (or when, if you go to a particular scumbag jeweller I know near Barking Station) your watch stops working a couple of weeks later, you have some come-back.

Watches do not take up a huge amount of space, and have many interesting features.

Here are the ones I have collected.

My Tag


This is the first quality watch I bought. I was promised one by my ex for my 50th birthday, but we got divorced when I was 47, and my ex's interest in fulfilling her promise wained somewhat for some reason. My desire for one did not, so I bought my own, which is pictured here.

I like it very much and wear it all the time. It is automatic, which means it winds itself up when I move. It is reasonably accurate, losing about 15 seconds a week, and has all the things I need such as day and date, as well as telling the time. The stopwatch can time events up to 12 hours long to an accuracy of 1/10th of a second. It claims to be watertight to a depth of 300 metres, but I'm not sure whether I will actually test that feature in anger,

The only downside is that it needs servicing from time to time. So far it has been serviced once, as I do not use it as a real diving watch, and the cost was a bit eye-watering at 345.00 (as much as you can pay for a lesser model today). It also took a while to get done (about six weeks) as it had to be 'sent away'.

My Citizen


Although not a mechanical watch, this one is very interesting because it gets it's time from an atomic clock in Germany, and is solar powered, which means it does not have a conventional battery, but a capacitor that is charged up via a solar panel in the face. It has a small meter in the face to show the level of charge.

It can handle dual time over 40 or so timezones, one of which can added by the user if the ones already there do not cover where the user lives

I find the hour and minute hands a bit clunky, and so it is not my everyday wear of choice. It has two alarms that can be set individually, so it spends most of its time on my bedside table.

My Timex


Again, not a mechanical watch, and at first glance the make may not excite - in fact my first ever watch was a Timex - but wait ! Timex are trying to reinvigorate interest in the brand with an Intelligent Quartz range. THere are a number of models in the range, and this particular one features a magnetic compass as one of it's capabilities.

My Dad's Long Service Watch


My Dad worked for a company called Mirrlees Blackstone for over 40 years, where he was a 'cam grinder operator'. The cam grinder would grind off a coating from cams that would go into diesel engines, and Dad was the only person who could operate this machine correctly. It meant he had to plan his time off so that the rest of the factory had enough cams to get by when he was away.

It was always very much a hand to mouth existence, never knowing whether Dad would be in work the following week, but as I say, he did over 40 years there !

Eventually the fateful day came, and Merrlees Blackstone decided to consolidate deisel engine manufacture up to Stockport, and close down the one in Stamford.

The muppets in charge forgot about their dependence on Dad for ground cams, and came back for him (and a couple of his mates) to return in a consultative capacity to teach the Stockport mob how to do his job.

Needless to say he had a great time on expenses !!

He left me his watch to me in his will. He also left me a very complicated JVC camcorder from another age ... but that's another story.

Anyway, back to the watch. It is a Mappin and Webb leather-strapped mechanical watch, which keeps excellent time, and is engraved with his details on the back.

Probably from an age before the current quartz movement

My Longines Long Service Watch from Oracle


I worked for the Oracle Corporation for 13 years. On the anniversary of my 10th year I qualified for a long service award, which included an engraved crystal paperweight, and a gift of my choice from a list I was sent.

No surprises to learn that I chose a watch - made by Longines as shown above., as that is all the list allowed, and much more useful to me than a mountain bike or luggage, which were the other alternatives on the list.

in the end I decided to buy another, partly because the case on the original got chipped, and was not economical to repair, and partly because I wanted one with a second hand and a date.

I explained my situation to a local jeweller, who took pity on me, and let me have the second Longines watch with a nice discount.

Both watches are battery powered, but the cases are gold-plated, and the design nice and understated. They are very slim compared to their more sports-oriented brothers in the collection.

The picture above shows the newer model. The older model is identical but without the second hand or date window.

My New Timex


Timex are trying to reinvigorate interest in the brand with an Intelligent Quartz range. THere are a number of models in the range, and this particular one features an altitude meter as one of it's capabilities, so I know how far above sea level I am, in both feet and meters. I have not subjected this to any severe tests, but it notices as I travel from floor to floor at work.

I have replaces the rather naff-looking yellow strap with a more manly black one.

My Casio G-Shock


Saw this on special offer and as I haven't bought a watch for a while took the opportunity of getting it.

Boasts a whole load of features, like Stopwatch accurate to 1,000th of a second (how useful is that gonna be ?), Countdown timer, World Time with over 40 preset cities, 5 Alarms (4 normal ones and one snooze alarm), Hourly Time Signal, Night Light, and Autolighting, which means the backlight can come on automatically when you look at the watch.

Oh, and it tells the time as well accurate to 15 seconds per month.

The manual is Well-written (in English, anyway), and covers 5 languages.

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