Around this season of the sunyear, those of us who still use funny old wind-up watches get a sharp reminder of the arbitrary nature of the set of conventions that are used to try and control ‘time’.
Mine, like the watch-face shown here but at far less cost, automatically rolls over to the next ‘date’ during each occurence of dark. But since the calendar dates are not in tune with the natural divisions of light, dark, sun and moon, at the ends of four out of our twelve arbitrary months, we watch-owners have to wind the hands round until a ‘day’ has passed and the watch-date agrees with the conventional label. At the ‘end’ of ‘February’ we have to wind round three times except during leap-years when it’s four. So go digital, you may cry, as then your watch will automatically adjust to the ‘real’ time like your phone and your computer. Sorry, no; it’s my late father’s watch and I will never change it. If it stopped forever I would still keep it. Almost everything in life is more important than painstaking measurement of something that doesn’t exist.