The concept of time has always interested me. The way we use it, the devices we create to measure time, document it and display it are a product of years of development.
In 1748 Benjamin Franklin published a letter of advice to a young tradesman. It is intriguing to see the words that became one of the most used phrases related to business appear at the very beginning of that letter. I’m sure this is not the only reason his figure adorns the US$100 bill. Nevertheless, the concept is worth appreciating.
The research that went into getting this information was not paid for. For my second Toastmasters speech I wanted to talk about wrist watches. Time is Money seemed to me like an appropriate opening, especially for the group I am meeting with, mostly employees of PHN, a Canadian investment management firm.
The main body of my research concentrated on the watches though. Today, a wristwatch is considered as much of a status symbol as a device to tell time. Clock and watch makers have always taken it as a challenge to introduce new engineering advances into movements. Not all of them necessary for daily time keeping. This is how we end up with mechanical watches that provide an accurate display of time of sunset, phase of the moon and so on. Features responsible for the display of info other than hours, minutes, and seconds are referred to as complications.
Components of the wristwatch can be numerous: The common hands for showing the hour, minute and second; Other hands in watches with complications; the dial; divisions of the hour; case; winder/button; wrist band. Each of these makes a difference when it comes to designing a timepiece. You might get confused when looking for a watch. When in a shop showing hundreds of watches, concentrate on one feature at a time. Go over the watches and focus your attention on the minutes hands. Then, look at how the hour 12 is represented. After that, sweep through the winders. With this exercise you can now approach your next browsing in open eyes and possibly make a selection that satisfies you.
In an age when cell phones and digital accessories display time accurately and reliably, the mechanical wristwatch has slowly become less of an object of function and more a piece of modern culture. Go into any of the sites of watch making companies and you’d be amazed by the amount of attention given to the experience of browsing through the variety of products on offer. If you think no one buys those things anymore, think again. It took some time for the manufacture of watches to become relatively affordable for the masses. Never the less, whether cheap or expensive, for many, one of life’s more exciting rites of passage is a child getting their first wrist watch. It is also one of the most advanced pieces of technology people had before electronic gadgets evolved.
Money facilitates our journey through time. In order to gain that money – controlled use of time is required. Throughout history humanity strived to perfect time keeping devices. A wrist watch on your hand is still one of the most convenient. It shows your understanding and appreciation of time, money and culture.