Friday, 24 January 2014

watch out

my watch
Early December, the battery in my watch died.  For a variety of reasons, it’s taken me until today to be in the vicinity of a shop that sells replacements.  Initially it was deeply unsettling not to be wearing a watch (it was even more unsettling to wear one telling the wrong time, though).  My right wrist felt distinctly strange (I wear my watch on the right, since I’m left handed).  Even now, several weeks later, my wrist still felt strange without a watch.

So I was finally in town, and popped into H.Samuel for a new battery, around 11am.  I was gravely informed that it would be a “next day pickup”, because they had so many watches already “booked in” for new batteries.  Well, since it had taken me nearly 2 months to get into town in first place, I thought it highly unlikely I would be in town again tomorrow, so I declined.

I went into a nearby jewellers.  They looked at the watch, and apologised that they didn’t have the right tools to take the back off, otherwise they would have been happy to replace the battery there and then.  They suggested I tried Timpson’s.

I tried Timpson’s.  They took my watch, took out a standard jeweller’s watch screwdriver (we have a set of these at home), unscrewed the four screws holding the back on, popped out the old battery, popped in the new one, screwed the back on again, all in about 90 seconds flat.

a very specialised tool, apparently

This made me wonder how many watch batteries H.Samuel were changing.  To be on the conservative side, let’s assume that they are a little slower, and it takes them maybe three minutes to change a battery.  Let’s also assume that there is someone in the back of the shop steadily replacing the batteries in all those “booked in” watches (because clearly none of the staff on the shop floor were engaged in such a task).  Let’s assume they were working from 11am (when I went in) until 5pm, with a one hour break for lunch.  That’s 5 hours, at 20 batteries an hour, or a total of at least 100 watches booked in in front of mine.  Good grief. That’s a lot of dead batteries all at once.  (Or maybe, just maybe, not?)

Well, at least I now know where to go the next time my watch needs a new battery.

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