The barbecue watch

This is a post about a watch that doesn’t exist, but for which there could be a market. My dentist chats a lot, perhaps to relax me while I am lying back in that chair with my mouth open, and during one appointment, after he’d learned that I write about watches, we had a conversation about his timepieces. A rather one-sided conversation, as they always tend to be, given that the patient can only nod or grunt or shake his head delicately.

Anyway, he has two watches, a fine gold Longines automatic, that he keeps in a safe somewhere and never uses, and a cheap electronic Casio that he wears all the time. I raised my eyebrows in surprise, and he explained that he likes having friends round at his place at the weekend for a barbecue. He wears the Casio because it does something that most mechanical watches can’t do: it has an countdown alarm function, so he sets it up for a two-minute countdown, puts the sausages on the barbecue, starts the countdown, and two minutes later the alarm starts cheeping, so he – who is of course in mid-conversation – knows that he has to turn the sausages over. Which he does, and sets the watch for another two-minute countdown.

So there it is, a possible useful function for a mechanical watch. It may not be such a horologically-refined complication but for my friend it would certainly be more useful than, say, equation of time.

(Photo courtesy of Philippa McKinlay/

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