Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My father's watch...

Often, a post will be made on a watch forum, where the poster has a question regarding the feasibility of restoring or repairing a watch inherited from their father. Almost immediately someone (often me ;-) will reply that for most of us, your fathers watch will always be the most valuable watch in your collection, and to have it repaired or serviced regardless of cost. Sometimes I detect a wistfulness on the part of those who never had the chance to secure one these most personal of bonds between a father and son - a shared mechanical marvel passed on between men...

I grew up in the 60s and 70s very aware of my fathers watch, and always associated it with a sense of stability, dependability and of being grown-up. At boarding school I once borrowed it for two months, sleeping with it under my pillow and hearing its ticking through the night. It was replaced in the 80s by a digital watch, and I was told it had been thrown out. I was devastated, but hey, who would have known what it meant to me. I really have nothing left of my childhood, but should I have wished to keep one thing - it would have been my father's watch...

Fast forward to this year, visiting my parents with the kids and my Mum decided to show my daughter the jewelery she had got from HER mother when they lived in Persia, when....at the bottom of her jewelry box: my fathers Altus!! On its Fix-o-flex bracelet just as I remembered it! He looked as surprised as I did, I tried to describe to him how I felt and he of course gave me the watch, which I have had cleaned and serviced.

So here it is, an Altus handwind bought by him around 1960, probably just before I was born. The picture shows him wearing the watch on its present bracelet around Christmas of, ooh... 1976 or so, me beside him opening a parcel which IIRC contained a kit model car:




Funny how a photo and an old watch, each without much material value, become ones most valuable possessions when they are associated with a time and a person!