“They sure don’t make em’ like they used to,” a Baby-Boomer born gentleman said to me as I handed him back his newly repaired 30-year old Seiko watch the other day. He had requested that I replace the mineral glass crystal, gouged over years of everyday wear, and install a new watch battery. After giving the case and band a complete cleaning, I thought his watch looked pretty good for an everyday timepiece built in the Reagan Era. As he left Nelson’s Jewelry, content that his life was in balance again with his watch on his wrist, I thought about the cliché I hear at least once a week about how everything was better back in the day.
In the past, a watch ran by winding a main spring tight every day. The spring uncoiled as the day progressed powering a timepiece for roughly 24 hours. If you forgot to wind your watch one day, it stopped working. These watches had to be cleaned, oiled and regulated on a regular basis and an accurate mechanical watch lost about 5 seconds a week or almost thirty-six minutes a year. Much like the Chicago White Sox in 2018, mechanical watches were inconsistent, needed constant tinkering and showed their age as the year, or season, dragged on.
Today, we currently sell a Citizen Eco-Drive watch that is powered by light, with a perpetual calendar that receives a radio signal for amazingly accurate timekeeping. Like a Patrick Mahomes led passing attack, this watch is as close to maintenance free as there is on the market. As a watch repair technician, or a NFL Defensive Coordinator, being low maintenance, or unstoppable, is significant in 2019.
Now, I am sure there is a back in the day Ditka-style argument to be made that 1980’s smash-mouth football is a better way to play in the NFL, and an aging Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos demonstrated defensive success during a recent Super Bowl win. But other than this epic defensive Super showcase, an innovative passing offense has improved the NFL… and technology has improved other ways we live too.
Like the television perched on our wall instead of boxing up forty-eight inches of floor space, I am thankful that technology improved the spacing in my living room. Back in the day if you had an 80-inch screen, you also had a house in Malibu. Now, it’s cool if you live in Malibu and love TVs the size of my car, but for most of us, life has improved in 2019 because of how are favorite items are made. AND…
I have a hard time believing that anyone reading this would find this television set better than the 65+inch Sony hanging on the wall in most modern households today.
So what have we learned from this reflection? Well, I repair vintage quartz watches because at Nelson’s Jewelry, or any small town like Crystal Lake Illinois, people still enjoy the nostalgia of a favorite timepiece. The fact that we care about our customer’s sentimental jewelry is what makes our store special and what makes my job rewarding.
Yes, technology is amazing and we do not need TV’s the size of my sun-room to make me lovingly remember the past. But there is still a place for a “back in the day” approach and I am happy to play my small part to make our patrons depart the store humming an ageless Manilow tune.