Gathan Beaga

rampant consumerism (slight return)

My purchase of the other week finally arrived! When we got in late Sunday night, there on the kitchen bench was a little padded envelope from Finland.

I have to wonder where the £12 for postage went when I spotted the €1.10 of stamps on the envelope. It’s a typical ploy of eBay seller, I find. But never mind. Because the watch is just fantastic.

Sure… the crown wobbles a bit… it’s probably not water resistant in any way… and it seems to gain about 20 seconds per day… it may even be a fake… and it probably won’t last all that long… but I don’t care. I love it.

And why? Well just look at it:

Time to go...

It’s beautifully simple. The face is uncluttered and clean, almost minimalist, without losing function. There are just two colours, black and white. It makes a lovely clear (but not distractingly so) ticking noise, just what you’d expect an old fashioned watch to sound like. That little bit of Cyrillic lettering tells a story: that it was made, or faked to look like it was made, during the Soviet era: a “Rocket” brand watch.

But the best bit is the 24-hour dial. It’s amazing how entrenched people’s expectations of clocks are after learning to glance at one and take in the time without thinking. So glancing at this one and expecting to get the time is a bit of a challenge. You’d think it was about five past ten, but in fact it’s seven minutes past seven in the evening. Showing it to other people is always interesting: at first they think the watch is set to the wrong time, before they figure it out.

I’m still undecided as to whether midday or midnight should be at the top of the dial – midday would be easier to adjust to and would better represent the apparent movement of the sun around the earth (assuming that’s the way you think of clock time, as I do sometimes). But it seems most of these designs have midnight at the top, and in any case it doesn’t take long to get used to.

All this has started me on a whole new obsession. Like I needed another.

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