Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wait a Minute and I'll Tell You Today's Date

All my life, I’ve bought the cheapest watch available that will tell me the time and not fall apart the first time I smack it into a door jamb, or fill up with water if I accidentally wear it into the pool. Typically, they don’t last more than a year or so, but during that year, they have served my needs perfectly.

I have very simple requirements: It must have an analog face with numbers (not Roman numerals or hash marks), and it must tell me the date, because I can never remember the date. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable list.

In the past, I’ve always bought cheap plastic watches with plastic bands that have a small digital date display. But when my most recent one finally bit the dust, I decided it was time for a “real” watch – one with some visual appeal. Unfortunately, there are only two kinds of watches: Cheap plastic timepieces or expensive jewelry that tells time.

I shopped around carefully, and bought a nice, elegant one that isn’t too gaudy or heavy, with a mechanical day/date display.


I’ve been wearing it for about a month now, and I’ve discovered something unbelievable. Once an hour, the day/date display is obscured by the minute hand:


Twice a day, the day/date display is obscured even more thoroughly by the hour hand and the minute hand:


All of the day/date display watches I looked at come in this exact same configuration. To be fair, Rolex makes a watch that separates the day and date displays so that only one is obscured at any time. But of course, I don’t want to spend thousands of dollars for a wristwatch.


Clock-making has been a respected craft for hundreds of years. The best clocks have always been precise and reliable. It seems antithetical to make an instrument that fails to provide the information needed by its owner 24 times a day. Surely someone other than me has noticed this problem in the past four centuries. Is this the best they could do?


Anonymous said...

Try a digital watch. No obstruction.

Anonymous said...

This is the answer to the problem which as you rightly point out is ridiculous. This watch demonstrates how easily it is fixed.
Longines Conquest (Exact Model Number)