A friend of mine, Russ, recently inherited his Dad’s Tudor watch. It is a 1958 Tudor Oyster Prince 7909, the ‘Prince’ word denotes that it is self-winding.
This is of course a fairly common occurrence, but it highlights just what a watch really is to those of us who believe them to be so much more than mere tools or status symbols.
As you can see below it is a small watch by today’s standards and looks diminutive when worn by Russ, but styles have changed and the size alone indicates a time when a watch was a necessity and not a luxury that was less accurate than your smartphone.
The 63 years are echoed by the patina on the dial, the beautiful tarnishing of the hands and the knocks and scrapes on the case, each knock representing a moment in time when his Dad was doing something. It is impossible to know where each mark came from, but if you look hard enough you can almost envisage what happened to cause the wear that makes the watch what it is today.
Turn it over and the engraving brings the history of the watch into context. The simple words, which were so commonly used at the time, say everything Russ needs to know; the recipient, the date it was given and who gave it. Three special people and a date- it means little to those outside of the family, but everything to Russ who can take the ‘Prince’ on further adventures in the future.
And this is why I consider a watch to be unlike any other object that you can own or be gifted by a loved one. You know that the watch has been on the skin of the person you love, you know that it has likely lived the same life as its owner and, if you dare to believe, you can imagine that many of the memories are trapped inside and on display through each little mark on the outside.
It is the only object I know that can, in our minds and our hearts, carry on the life of a departed loved one and live a new life for them.