The Curse of the Automatic

Late again.
Screw the automatic.

This happens to be my early morning lullaby every second of the week. And whats worse, it’s a recurring headache. I know the way out, but I just wouldn’t listen to my sane self. The bulk of the blame goes down to the kind of watches I use, mechanicals. Watches that require wounding from time to time.

What you (the reader) are wearing now, is likely to be a quartz watch. Ones that changed the dynamic of the watch industry in 70’s. The post-WWII Japan went on introducing the electronic movements aka. the quartz. They had fewer moving parts than the predecessor and made watches affordable for the first time. Perceived to be a luxury (till today), wristwatches were made an essential through the rise of quartz. I am indebted to the quartz makers, for otherwise I wouldn’t have enjoyed owning a timekeeper as a toddler.

Technology is all about changes. But the introduction of quartz and a wristwatch in every hand meant the demise of the art of watchmaking. From being a luxury and men’s jewelry, it went on to become an everyday necessity for us. Mechanical movements were less accurate, often with errors of seconds, and sensitive to position, temperature and magnetism. Quartz had none of them. But mechanical watches has something that technology couldn’t provide, craftsmanship and value.

Ever since I picked up on my obsession with mechanical movements (reminiscing through wristwatches) I have been on the lookout to get a few of my own. (collection syndrome). However there are two types of the mechanical watches, the classic hand-winding and the self-winding aka. automatic. The difference is in how they are charged (re-winded) through natural movement of the wearer’s body or through manual winding. Since hand-winding ones are high on cost, I started my luck out with a couple of self-winding Seiko.

All that said, the problem lies in the nature of the watch itself. Mechanical watches are supposed to run out of charge (Seiko 5s) in about forty hours. In my case, I have mostly experienced a dead watch in something as less as twelve. To have a few mechanical watches without a winding machine is thus discouraged.

Every morning I wake up, I can only rely on my phone to give me an accurate time as opposed to my watch. And every morning, without a fail I check my watch before my phone!!!

My beloved Bangladesh, being a developing nation and what not seems to have the same dilemma as well. We are clearly not in the age of quartz, where you put the battery in and forget about fixing the time for years (or even better with solar-powered kinetics, I am told they go for a decade without a single recharge). Countries in the western hemisphere probably can claim to be so (Scandinavia would be solar-powered kinetics then) or even some of our progressive brethren in the region (Singapore, Japan and so on). We are perhaps the brand of watch no aficionado buys. The one that needs manual winding now and then yet failing to keep an accurate time when charged.

Time to us is anything but precious.
And the faulty make of the watch, has gotten us used to a culture of delay and disgust.
Whether we decide to wind and make it a watch of worth, is however upto us!

We have the potential to be great, we possess the skills to attain that greatness… the next Rolex.


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