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 early-retirement.org 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?
Image Credit: MrFireStation.com