The Passing of Time

Pocket WatchFor some reason I can’t stand wearing a watch on my wrist. I hate the feeling of control or being controlled by something other than my own whims and meanderings. The constant visible ticking by of time reminds me of what I’d rather be doing or how a timetable other than my own is ruling my life.

When I was young I remember how exciting, sophisticated and ‘adult’ wearing a watch seemed to be. The first watch I owned was a ‘free gift’ which came with a purchase from a gift store in the city. It was digital, had a white plastic band and had a picture of two local theme park characters on its face. Oh how I loved that watch…I wore it everywhere, at home, at school and in bed.

Then came the sad day when I looked at my watch and saw that the digital display was no longer visible, the battery had died. Being as it was a very cheap watch, once the battery it came with ran flat, there was no way of reviving it. It was a case of once the watch stopped, it was time to throw it out. I wish I knew before I fell so heavily in love that my lover was so disposable and could leave me so suddenly.

For a while I wore a cheap red plastic sports watch which held little appeal but was still functional. I wore the watch when I needed to for school, but that was about it.

AlfAfter saving my money for several months I headed off for a day at the local travelling exhibition where showbags were available related to different themes. There were showbags related to My Little Pony bags, Cadbury Chocolate bags, Care Bear bags and Alf bags. Remember Alf? I do. I loved that crazy furry alien. I loved him so much that I bought an Alf watch that year from the exhibition. It was a plush watch that sat on the wrist and the time could be seen by opening his mouth and looking at the digital display held within. I was smitten.

Alf WatchI remember wearing that watch to school and enjoying it for a while, but its size and conspicuousness made be self-conscious. It was also a bit of a target for some of the less nice kids to focus on. I took Alf home that day and put him away in the drawer. He was never worn again.

The next few years saw a parade of nondescript unmemorable watches that I neither recall the appearance of nor retain any significant emotional connection to.

Then for a birthday gift I was given the opportunity to choose a new watch for myself (within a modest price range of course). It was a basic analogue watch with white face, black hands, a black leather band and gold fittings. As I browsed the jewellery store that day I think the watch chose me, so beginning a unique emotional connection. I was once again in love. I wore that watch everywhere, and I mean everywhere.

This obsessive love would ultimately lead to the sad demise of this watch. Against my better judgement I left my watch on the bathroom bench while I was in the shower and so moisture gradually worked its way into the watch face and into its inner workings. Eventually this rendered the watch unreadable and unusable. Another heartbreak in my line of watch lovers.

Once again I found myself on a self destructive path of unmemorable and quickly forgotten watches. This continued for some time until I felt it was time to invest in a decent serious ‘adult’ watch for myself.

I knew just the type I was after. The style was considered all very fashionable that year. All metal band with gold and silver elements, analogue watch with after glow and date functionality. While I had the money to buy it outright, I decided instead to pay if off over a few weeks. After a slow start together we hit it off and while we spent much time in eachother’s company, our relationship never reached the dizzy heights that I’d shared with previous watches.

Eventually though my watch fell out of favour. It just didn’t have the same classic appeal it once had. It weighed heavy on my wrist and the gold and silver metal seemed too showy, too obvious. I only wore it when absolutely necessary for work. As soon as I got home each day, the watch was the first thing to come off. On Friday afternoons it was unlikely to return to my wrist again until the following Monday morning.

I soon discovered that it was all watches and not just this one in particular that I came to barely be able to stand. After so many years spent in a love-hate relationship with my wristwatches I thought it time to try something new. Thus has begun my quest for pocket watch lockets – pocket watches that have been modified to be worn around the neck by women. The picture at the start of this piece is the first pocket watch locket that I have purchased. One side has a beautiful pattern and on the other is an etching of three horses.

I’m hoping that a watch locket will simply be another piece of jewellery and not something which ticks away on my wrist. As always, and ironically, the passage of time will tell whether wearing a watch on my neck is less irritating than wearing one on my wrist. While I may never take to wearing a watch ‘after hours’, I do feel that I may be at the beginning of a new and wonderful relationship. Please don’t break my heart pocket watch…


  1. John

    I wore my grandfather’s old pocket watch for a while. The local watchmaker seemed doubtful he’d be able to get it to keep consistently good time, but it was a beautiful mechanism…
    and I liked the idea of it ticking away into its own little clockwork stroll without actually going anywhere.
    After all, with one day passing to another to another, it’s time that often seems not to be going anywhere specific – maybe this watch kept winding its way down to some really precious moments. As it’s these moments that capture my soul, there are worse kinds of watch to have.

  2. jan

    Without ever intending for this to happen, I know what time it is at any hour of the day without looking at a watch or clock. I am usually within five minutes of correct and never more than ten minutes off.

    It’s really creepy.

  3. Ricardo

    I used to have a series of digital watches. One had E.T on it and I loved it. I was 7 at the time. the other one I recall played a game and yet another one I had transformed into a robot. The last good watch I wad was when I graduated high school and it was not digital but analogue. It was made by Guess and was very fashionable. Since then there have been no memorable watches and since my cell phone tells time, I can’t see myself wearing one again. But you never know.

  4. Pam

    I hadn’t thought about it, but I hate wearing watching myself. They ARE a reminder, to me, that I have X number of hours left on a weekday of doing something I don’t really want to do. I use my cellphone and my computer to tell the time : ).

  5. Crafty Green poet

    I’ve not worn a wristwatch for years, there’s usually a clock around somewhere, or a parking meter with a time display or something else i can check if i need to know the time!

  6. ronnie

    Time is something that each one of us is equally given. We cant’ control its passing. What we can do is find meaningful ways to spend each hour.

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  7. John

    Remember, it’s less about how long the seconds are than how strong the seconds are…

    and it’s you who gives them their strength (often, perhaps, without realising it)

  8. Dan

    I had an Alf, not a watch just a talking thing, I remember I cut his little waft of hair off because I thought it would grow back. I think Alf’s voicebox died about the same time and of course it was my fault for cutting his hair.

  9. PaulS

    A beautifully written story, intelligent and composed with a delicate and controlled feel to the prose. I have never worn a watch. Time fascinates me however and I have decided that time is not linear is just about all I know about it. Very gently thought provoking writing you have here.

  10. theNavigator

    I note that, with the passing of time, you have stopped updating your blog which is a shame because you write so well.

  11. Tracey

    John – What a beautiful story! Sometimes beauty and the meaning of memory is so much more important than the accuracy of time. I love your idea of your ticking watch working its way around on its circular stroll. A watch is a wonderful way to connect ourselves not just to the present, but across the generations.

  12. Tracey

    Jan – While it may give you the creeps, I could definitely see how being able to tell the time without looking at a clock or watch would be a handy skill. I sometimes get into patterns with waking up in the morning where I seem to open my eyes at precisely the same time each day…that creeps me out.

  13. Tracey

    Ricardo – It sounds like you’ve had some great memorable watches over the years…it’s funny the things that stick in our minds from when we were younger. I made the move to analogue myself a few times and have to admit there is a certain amount of preferential style that comes with them over the digital. I often rely on my mobile to tell me the time when I’m out and about too. In any case you can always get by somehow.

  14. Tracey

    Pam – I’m so glad that there are other people who feel wearing a watch is somewhat of a burden. That constant reminder of the dripping away of time is a little depressing when I reflect on it. Much better to live at a higher level of time monitoring – by the sun and the seasons I think.

  15. Tracey

    Crafty Green Poet – So true! There really isn’t all that great a need to wear a wristwatch, especially in the city where you can normally find a clock of some description to help out. I suppose for a lot of people, wearing a watch is more about fashion and style than an actual practical tool.

  16. Tracey

    Ronnie – That’s a great point. Time is a great equalizer, we can all only use what we are given…once the supply runs out there is nothing more we can do.

  17. Tracey

    John – I really like the idea of focussing not on the length of time passing, but on the strength of the seconds. Time is certainly something that we alone choose how to spend – a real opportunity for personal empowerment or personal waste.

  18. Tracey

    Dan – I always wanted an Alf toy, but the watch was the closest I came to it. I know what you mean about his tuft of hair though – the watch had the same thing. I do remember giving some of my toys haircuts for a change of style, but like yourself, the more you cut off, the less you are left to work with…and of course it does never grow back.

  19. Tracey

    PaulS – Thanks for your kind words. I envy your freedom from personal reminders of the passing of time, I live like that each and every weekend. I would agree with you that time is a fascinating and intriguing element that I suppose we spend our lives chasing.

  20. Tracey

    The Navigator – Thank you so much for your gentle reminder and for giving me a subtle push to start writing again…such lovely messages are greatly appreciated. As you can see I’m back and writing again, so hopefully you’ll visit again soon!

  21. ronnie ferez

    True in all sense. Hence, we should live life to fullest adn avoid senseless pursuits that will just squander it.

  22. Tracey

    Hi Ronnie – If only we could all afford to live our lives without making time for work…just imagine what we’d then be able to accomplish in a day!! 😉

  23. lloyd

    me and my friend Dan are big ALF fans and would be happy to try and fix your watch for you.

    i think theres a little bit of ALF in all of us!

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