Father and Son

By J. Watkins, Bristol, UK

March 08, 2021

I used to never think too much about watches. I didn’t know a lot about them and simply considered watches to be just simple tools or fashion items. That was until last year when my father loaned me his early 1990s Cartier tank.

He had worn it everywhere for more than 25 years after he purchased a matching pair for himself and my mother. It had obvious signs of wear from being on his wrist while gardening and fulfilling all manner of day-to-day activities. The battery had worn down at some stage and he simply picked up another watch instead of getting it mended. When I saw it, the crystal looked like an ice rink. The gold-plated case was so polished it looked almost silver, and I really wondered if it was still worth anything at all. So, when he lent it to me, I was less than enthused but set about fixing it up. I learned the basics of how to clean off the decades of dirt and sent it to be serviced.

When it came back it was like a completely different watch and I wore it with utter fascination – even with its marks that told the story of a hard life. Finally, after some months I returned it to him. My father slipped it back on as if he had just taken it off for just a moment to wash his hands. I could see it meant a lot that I had repaired it for him and the comfort he got from glancing at the familiar dial. Watches mean something totally different to me now and I have started a lifelong interest in these time capsules so utterly worthy of cherishing.