I remember receiving my first watch (who doesn’t?) as a child of six in 1971. It was a gift from my uncle in return for acting as page boy at his Scottish wedding. I agreed to wear a kilt for the ceremony – quite a big deal back then. The debut piece was a Timex, boy-size, manual-wind-up, strap watch. Back then, Timex were the world’s single largest producer and the company shifted millions of units across the globe accounting for half of all new sales. My example had a black face and gold hands, including a sweep second hand. Other details are hard to recall and my strongest memory is of the plastic blister box that all Timex’s of the 1970s came in, along with the cubed display cases on shop counters into which these mini-containers slotted.
Texas LEDs started to appear on a school friends’ wrists around the time I moved into secondary education in 1977. I was never keen on them and preferred the look of classical analogue designs on display in jeweller’s windows or in the pages of glossy mail-order catalogues. Nevertheless, in 1980 I succumbed to the electronic revolution and switched from mechanical to quartz. For nearly two decades, I wore a battery-powered Casio ‘digi-ana’ (digital and analogue) combination. This piece incorporated a stop-watch function and possessed a dual alarm and back-light. It looked similar to the illustration to this blog except that mine came on a brown strap rather than a bracelet.
The quartz timepiece was completely reliable and its gold-tone thin case felt light on the wrist. I feel no embarrassment at all in recalling this ‘retro’ watch. I was completely happy with it. Between the ages of 16 and 21, I worked through a sequence of mocks, exams, more mocks, and final exams. On each occasion the digi-ani helped ensure I wrote answers within the time allowed. It also delivered me punctually to my dull part-time jobs that provided funds for nights out and even the odd date. One day, I looked down at my wrist and noticed that the Casio had lost nearly all of its gold plate. The digital timer was also faulty. I realised my youth had passed.