That’s a trend I never saw coming. Apparently it’s been here a while as well. People don’t wear watches any more. Or at least many people don’t. I only noticed this for the first time yesterday (which says a lot about how much I stay relevant these days, I guess). I work a couple of days on the front desk at Hamptonne Country Life Museum here in Jersey. As part of the entry protocol, visitors need to sign in for Covid Track & Trace. Increasingly, many do so using a QR code – we’ve all become experts on QR codes over the last year or so. But there are also little paper slips which are easily filled in as well. Easily, only for the inevitable, “What’s the date?” followed seconds later by “What’s the time?”

Long ago, when I was growing up, everybody had a watch. To not have one on your wrist meant that either (1) you’d forgotten to put it on or (2) you were some sort of poor person.

I guess that people will say we all have phones, but isn’t it simpler just to glance at a watch? The average woman at least will take many seconds retrieving a phone (or anything) from the depths of her handbag. To digress, after 68 years I still have no clue what women find to stuff inside a handbag. It would take me for ever to find belongings to fill up an average handbag. (Not that I own a handbag you understand.)

Full disclosure – I’ve always worn a watch. These days it’s a Garmin which I use for running but it serves to give the time of day when not called upon to do anything more demanding. But I do remember the pre-digital days when you needed to wind it up, checking with someone else for the ‘right time’ if you’d let it run down completely. I also recall that you could, in extremis, use a public phone to dial TIM and a nice lady would tell you the time. (I read that the service was only withdrawn in 1986.)

Before the Industrial Revolution no one seemed to bother too much about the precise time. You got up when it got light, lit a candle when it got dark and went to bed when you were tired. Then someone invented the sundial which, as I understand, never became a popular attraction.

I understand that the high end of the watch market – the Rolex/Patek Philippe etc – is still holding up though more for investment value than show. Rich people can demonstrate their richness in many other ways these days, such as taking a ride into Space.

So – as I should have asked before I did all that writing, do you wear a watch?