Not Watching Time

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Yesterday was one of those perfect days of early retirement.  A beautiful 76-degree day, tennis in the morning with my brother, $5 matinee in the afternoon with my son, a short nap, and a delightful alfresco dinner with my wife and some good friends at the village wine bar.  I drove the convertible around all day and didn’t feel hurried a bit.

And, of course – I didn’t look at my watch once.  I didn’t look at my watch because I completely stopped wearing one when I left MegaCorp a few months ago.

At my MegaCorp retirement party in March, I repeated an act I saw my father do 23 years ago (when I was just a few years into my career).  At his retirement party, he took off his watch, set it on the podium, and said he would never wear one again.  And he hasn’t. I haven’t either, although it has only been three months.

Folks in the forums were talking about watches in a posting this week.  Most of the conversation was “do you” or “don’t you” when it comes to keeping a timepiece on your wrist when you don’t have a job to go to anymore.  One person wanted to get a new watch with the day & date on it because they were having a hard time remembering what day of the week it was.  Everyone else weighed in on whether or not a watch made sense in early retirement.

Many people said they didn’t need a watch because they use their cell phone.  According to a study by Piper Jaffray senior analyst Erinn Murphy, 750 million watches were sold worldwide in 1991. That number fell to 440 million in 2014, which is a drop of 2 percent per year.  Only about a quarter of teenagers were reported to wear watches, which is half as many as in 2005.

Here are my thoughts on giving up my watch:  First, I don’t miss having it on my wrist at all.  It didn’t bother me to wear, but they are a bit clunky on your wrist.  For me, watches were never a fashion thing – I don’t wear jewelry other than my wedding ring, so I didn’t have fancy watches anyway.  Functionally, if I need to know the time, I simply look at my phone.  At home, we have plenty of clocks to look at.  Whenever you are online or watching TV, the time is always in front of you.  Overall, not wearing a watch is simply symbolic for me – a sign that I am living a different lifestyle now.  One not dictated by time.

Remembering what day of the week it is hasn’t been much of an issue.  I have things going on almost every day of the week, especially the weekends.  It’s easy to remember the weekends, because everyone else is out of work and their are always a lot of events going on.  I still use the calendar on my smartphone – although the ‘meetings’ are often golf, concerts, and lunch dates.

The only thing that might get me back to having a watch is if the new smart watches offered some awesome new application beyond time.  I had an Apple Watch for about a year, but the advantages of using it relative to using my smart phone were small.  It’s for sale right now in eBay.  I’m keeping my other watch – the black-faced Fossil watch in the picture above – as a keepsake of my former life.  As I took this picture of it today I noticed the battery had run dead in the last three months.  How fitting.

Do you wear a watch now?  How is/will it be different in retirement?

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22 thoughts on “Not Watching Time

  1. Neither Mr Groovy or I wear a watch. I was just telling him how pocket watches were all the rage when I was a teenager. I was given one as a gift at my “Sweet Sixteen” party. I loved it and wore it for years. A watch is much more comfortable to me in a pocket. I really like the symbolism of removing yours and I’m so happy for you that you are enjoying your care-free days. I need to think about a symbolic gesture when we quit, but in the meantime I’m looking forward to removing every file from my computer reminiscent of work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A pocket watch! I’ve never had one of those. I think that is the classic retirement gift, isn’t it?


  2. I stopped wearing a watch a few years back since I always have a cell phone with me. I only wear it when I get dressed up for special occasions. It always needs adjustments when i do wear it now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “I can’t imagine going back now” – I am so at this point already. It has been great. I suppose it is “easy” to be retired in the summertime, but I love the easy living so far!


  3. I don’t understand why Watches are still so popular. I was expecting a blockbuster-like end of the story.
    I’m proudly wrist free since early 90s and not even though about smartwatches!

    Anyway, awesome achievement mr FS!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think they still have some equity as jewelry for folks. Additionally, the newer smart watches are interesting to gadget / fitness folks.


  4. Very fitting! I love the symbolic gesture of taking your watch off for the last time at your retirement party. I’ve never heard anything like that before but it’s neat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was cool when my Dad did it, so I thought I’d do it too. The only problem is I am much more of a “watch person” than I think he ever was. Oh well, after 3 months, I think I’m done with it for good.


  5. This reminds me of the scene in Forgetting Sarah Marshall when the surf instructor tells the main character that he stopped wearing a watch when he moved to Hawaii, which the main character finds *so cool* until the surfer says, “Because now I just use my cell phone.” Ha.

    We rarely wear watches anymore just because it’s so easy to tell time these days, but I’m super excited to lose track of the time more often once we’re retired! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Millennial input here – I haven’t worn a watch since I got a FitBit. In the unlikely event that I win the lottery and retire tomorrow, I wouldn’t stop wearing it. I’d actually hope I’d pay a bit more attention to it, to try and get some more steps in throughout the day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had a FitBit for a while, but mine didn’t tell the time. I track my activity through my iPhone Health app pretty religiously though.


  7. I hadn’t worn a watch for years. I picked up the habit again while at yoga camp. I needed a watch so I knew when to come out of the woods and attend the 4:00 p.m. hatha class :). It’s very easy to loose track of time in the woods.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I bet it is – unless you are good at somehow tracking the sun across the sky (which I never learned even at 100 nights of Scout camp with my son).


  8. I haven’t worn a watch in years. I found that even at work, with computers, cell-phones and clocks in every meeting room, I never really looked at my wrist. (No I am not a Millenial.) Hubby on the other hand has 20+ watches, and feels naked without one. To him, they are a bit of a fashion statement. Nowadays, I find that I’m less clock dependent which means I am also almost always late to coffee dates, have summer dinners at 9 PM cause that’s when the sun starts to set, and get out of bed when I wake up (my inner clock never says wake up before 7:30 AM).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My schedule has shifted a lot in early retirement. Most nights, I’m up until midnight and sleep in until 8:30 or 9am. I’m starting to call 4pm “mid-day”.


  9. Was it not Einstein who said that ” tine is an illusion”

    Should have told those Business HR folks who were running those “Time Management” modules. Might have made them magically vanish for the benefit of all of us who suffered such stuff.


    1. I avoided time management and almost all leadership workshops led by HR throughout my career. Seemed like such a waste of TIME.


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