Wednesday, August 08, 2007


The authorized Swiss Watch Repair office sits on 42nd Street between Madison and Park which is, thankfully, right around the corner from my office. This would allow for a quick lunchtime visit.

It's almost laughable that after months--maybe years--of disregard, I finally found the motivation to fix my father's favorite watch which hadn't worked since his passing. The Rado watch (pictured above) is over thirty years old and would be considered both rare and vintage. It's clunky and thick but it's authoritative and serious. It's not a business watch but it means business and there's a cold stiffness to it that I've always admired. When I saw it on my father's wrist, it made time look weighted, significant. I loved this watch because it was sleek, classic, and unique but most of all, it was my father's.

The prospect of wearing it excited me. Aside from a broken wristband, none of the hands were moving. Surely, though, this was nothing more than a battery issue and as soon as I had left my Swiss watch expert, I would see time fly again.

My eagerness stemmed from my want to resolve my remorse. Since my father's death, four years back, I've always felt a tinge of guilt for not thinking of him constantly and this watch would surely rectify that. It give me comfort to know that on every occasion when I was asked for the time, I would be reminded of him.

In the morning, the watch sat on my desk, I looked at it, stared at it and realized there were many things I didn't know about it's history. For one, when did he get it? Who bought it for him? My father wasn't wealthy enough to afford an expensive watch like this back in the early 70's.

I called my mother to ask her.
Where did Daddy get that Rado watch? I asked.
"Stanley gave it to him," she said. Stanley was a close friend and our unofficial family jeweler. He helped me with Shana's diamond ring.
But the watch.. a present for no reason?
"Stanley knew that Daddy loved watches. He gave it to him because he was the community's Rabbi, I guess."

The white-haired watch repairman came to the counter and asked me how he could help.
I'm here to get this watch fixed, I told him. It's my father's watch and since his passing, I've been very intent on having it repaired.
"What's wrong with it?"
The wristband needs fixing and I'm assuming the battery needs to be replaced.
"But Rado's don't use batteries. They're wind-ups."
"And I'm afraid we don't make parts for this watch anymore. This is the first series of Rado watches. Almost 30-years-old."
I gave Swiss Watch Repairman Guy a pained expression.
"I really wish there was something I could do but..."
I left. With the hour hand on the 6 the minute hand on the 14, the watch will now only exist in a quarter past-six.

I called my mother again to share the news.
"Aw, that's so unfortunate."
I know.
She told me to look online for people who specialize in fixing vintage watches.
I told her I would but I'm not that hopeful.
I looked at the watch again and felt with certainty that it said 6:14 and, well, it probably always will.


Blogger Thomas said...

and now every time you see that is 6:14 you will think of your father. i bet it happens more often than you might think.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Adam S. said...

thanks for sharing this, I really enjoyed reading it.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Congratulations on your engagement Arye!!! I am so happy for you. It's good to catch up on your journal...

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep looking for someone to repair the watch, I have the same one, but a womens. My grandfather gave it to me. I hardly ever wear it, but whenever I take it out and shake it, it starts right up. It looks brand new. (stranger from Portsmouth N.H.)

8:07 AM  

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