Sunday, January 13, 2008


By T.R.
GCI Watchman

Like many people across the World who are concerned with matters of timeliness, I wear a timepiece. Shortly before the first of the year, my watch battery mysteriously died, making me something which I had hoped would not occur for many years yet to come; timeless. When such events occur, I am apt to take certain actions in order to rectify the problem and did so in this circumstance as well. After a grueling exchange with an attendant at the jewelry counter of an unnamed chronographer, I was directed to the Dakota Watch Company kiosk at the mall. The technician behind the counter was very knowledgeable and was able to switch out my watch battery quite efficiently, but then became very concerned when she realized:

“Oh…I never quoted you a price for the battery, did I?”

This confused me, as I have never been in a situation where I felt I needed to get multiple quotes on a watch battery, and assured the young lady that whatever the charge was I would be more than happy to pay it. She appeared relieved, which only further confused me into thinking I should have turned this simple errand into more of an elaborate inconvenience as I traversed the greater Rochester area for the lowest priced watch battery I could find. I quickly dismissed this idea on the grounds of complete absurdity and watched (no pun intended) as the technician placed my watch into some kind of an electro-mechanical device (see picture above) which I assumed to be some kind of automatic watch cleaning machine…it turns out, I was wrong and would soon be told some shocking news.

With all the sincerity and gravitas of an emergency room physician who has the unfortunate task of informing family members of their loved one’s prognosis, the watch technician looked compassionately at me from behind the gleaming glass of the display case and spoke:

“I just put your watch through a pressure test to gauge the integrity of its water resistance and it…FAILED. Your watch is rated for 165 feet…I strongly recommend that you DO NOT go any further than 135 feet underwater.”

I was dumbfounded. This is not a diving watch, nor do I engage in SCUBA activities, but if I did, and if you are familiar with the watch that I typically wear, you would share the same sentiment that no one in their right mind would wear this watch outside of a strictly urban setting, let alone submerge it hundreds of feet below sea level. At this point, I deliberately shut my brain off and allowed myself to get dizzy as she proceeded to give me an in depth seminar on the water resistant elements of horology. After several minutes of technical jargon, discussion of dual o-rings around the crown and bezel and the prospect of preventative maintenance and the replacement of faulty parts, I smiled charmingly, handed over my debit card and replied:

“Thank you for the information, but to be honest with you, If I happen to be 165 feet underwater, the internal structural integrity of my watch will be the least of my concerns. In fact, at that point, I don’t think owning a watch will be necessary at all, unless I wanted to accurately account for the remaining seconds of my life as I tried to remember the bizarre and unlikely events that transpired which led me to be 165 feet underwater.”

In a world already wrought with innumerable stressors, I am now forced to add yet another line item to my long list of things I need to worry about – are the o-rings on my chronograph a mere 30 feet from structural failure? Ironically, I am forced to gaze upon the very device in question and live everyday in uncertainty – for only time will tell. Well, that and a hell of a lot of water...


  1. Interesting note, distance fans!

    165' can also be expressed as 50 metres - the length of an Olympic size swimming pool. Even more dramatically, and aquatically, it can also be expressed as 27 fathoms.

    As we all know, TR will only willingly submerse himself in water for the purposes of grabbing loose change from the bottom of wishing wells. Which begs the question - how much change would have to be down there for him to hold his breath for 27 fathoms?

  2. still giggling over this golden phrase: "as i tried to remember the bizarre and unlikely events that transpired which led me to be 165 feet underwater."

    seriously though, it's about time someone addressed this issue about time.