Life lessons from watchmaking!


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Last year, I develop a passion for watchmaking. At the moment I'm just enjoying learning about watches. I've always been passionate about watches. I'm not sure why but I have this image in my head of a little boy, in communist Romania, staring at a Russian bracelet watch. I remember saving money for months and when I finally had enough I ran to the shop and put all my coins on the counter with great pride. I don’t know where that particular watch went. It's been a long time. However, as I enjoy learning the technicalities of watches I am also learning some valuable life lessons. 

The first lesson I have learnt is that it takes time to create something that measures time. You cannot do it unless you set time aside. You need to slow down and approach the task with great care and precision. The study of time is called horology. Time is measured differently depending where you are in terms of gravity. The study of time takes time. 

I find that fascinating. Jesus was never in a rush but he always got where he needed to be on time. I think we are far too busy. I remember my mother coming to visit us in Northern Ireland and after a few days she said: why does the day go faster here then in Romania? She was talking about the pace of life. We rush all the time and we seem to have less and less time. Watchmaking taught me that in order to do anything of great value, I must take the time. Your relationship with God cannot develop quickly. Maturity takes time and you cannot take any short cuts.  

Let me tell also tell you about the watch dial. This is the face of the watch. It's the first thing you see in a watch. The dial is the reason why a lot of people buy watches. They love the way it looks. The dial gives you a quick idea if what’s inside the watchband it’s worth. The dial needs to have all the information in order to persuade the buyer. It has the brand name, it displays the complication of the movement (day, date, month, lunar phase or any other complication). The dial is usually made out of metal. Some watch makers invest a lot of money in their dials. The ones made of enamel or precious metals are very expensive. In fact, in some watches the dial seems to be the most expensive part. For example, in some watches the quarts movement that powers the watch could cost just a fraction of the dial price. This gives the buyer an idea of what's inside. In short, the watch dial is the distinct image of the watch. 

Isn't this interesting? I know it's crazy, but it seems that nowadays most people focus on how they look. They focus on the appearance rather than what's inside. Many people spend a lot of time, energy and money to look good but unfortunately inside there is very little. God said to Samuel the prophet: “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” - 1 Samuel 

The heart of the watch is the movement. That’s the mechanism inside. It can be mechanical or automatic. This means that the power is produced by the vibrations of a very fine spring which sets in motion a complex set of wheels and levers. I am fascinated by the precision of such movements. It’s like having a whole gravitational machine on your wrist. The quartz movements are much cheaper and are powered by a battery. The kinetic movements are a combination of automatic and battery. Watchmakers around the world invest a lot in their movements. For example Citizen have developed their solar movements to perfection while Seiko has the monopoly in kinetic movements. 

Spiritually speaking the heart is what’s important. The Bibles says: Guard your heart above all else for it determines the course of your life. - Proverbs 4: 23 Your heart is intricate and delicate. This is where my thoughts generate from. It is the source of the words I speak. My character is shaped by the state of my heart. That is why king David pays great attention to the heart: The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. - Psalm 51: 17

I wonder when was the last time you had a heart check? Quality watches need regular service. The movement is inspected and greased for longevity. I have learnt that we pay attention to the things we value. Give your heart the attention it needs and your life will be blessed.

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