The Third Leader: Watch out

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The Independent Online

Lots of wristwatches, I note, on sale at Bonhams yesterday. Gold, platinum, famous owners, famous names, with or without automatic, perpetual triple calendar, sunrise, phases of the moon or an alarm to tell you your egg's ready.

But don't you think that, perhaps, the watch has had its time? You must have noticed it has become less necessary to consult one. Time is displayed everywhere, on your mobile, computer, cooker, video, wherever a matrix is dotted. When, for example, was the last time you had to ask a policeman?

The introduction of 24-hour drinking has removed another pressing reason to possess one, along with the rest of our 24/7 culture. We talk here, I feel, of a lingering anachronism which will soon go the way of the hat and whistling. There must be something far more useful to have on your wrist, like internet access, CO 2 emission indicator, personal alarm, starship communicator or the name of a good lawyer.

True, certain subtle clues to personality will no longer be available, such as right-wrist wearing, always a warning sign, and the inside wrist face, often indicating a certain reluctance in the giving area. But this seems a small price to pay, particularly when rich people will now be able to drive convertibles through inner cities with impunity.

So, in a bold move, I am proposing we all stop now and donate our timepieces to charity. And before replacing them with any of the above, we should go bare-wristed for at least a year, so that every time we glance there involuntarily, we can meditate on the transience of existence, and the importance of using it wisely. Altogether now: Seconds out!